The Vatican is wrong Jews do need Jesus

The Vatican Is Wrong: Jews Do Need Jesus

Pope Francis issues statement that Jews don't need to put their faith in Jesus Christ to be forgiven.
Pope Francis issues a statement that Jews don’t need to put their faith in Jesus Christ to be forgiven. (Wikimedia)

An important new statement from the Vatican on the relationship between the Catholic Church, the Jewish people and Jesus Christ makes many praiseworthy points. At the same time, it misunderstands Jesus’ own mission to His Jewish people, thereby undermining fundamental tenets of the New Testament along with the very nature of the apostolic witness.

Issued on the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking document “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Time”), the new document, titled “The Gifts and Calling of God Are Irrevocable,” rightly reiterates the Catholic Church’s repudiation of replacement theology, also known as supersessionism, the teaching that the church has replaced (or superseded) Israel in God’s plan of salvation. It also reiterates the Church’s repudiation of anti-Semitism, quoting the dictum of Pope Francis that one cannot be both a Christian and an anti-Semite.

In addition, the new statement urges deep respect for Judaism and for the historic connection between the Jewish people and the God of Israel—the God whom Christians worship—also calling on Catholic Christians to learn from Judaism’s interpretation of the Scriptures and to join with the Jewish people in standing for justice and caring for the poor.

All this is tremendously positive, as the Church continues to distance itself from the plagues of anti-Semitism and supersessionism, plagues that infected both Catholic and Protestant branches of the faith, in some circles until this day. And so it is right to recall the reality of the Holocaust, as this document does, since the Holocaust could hardly have taken place if not for more than a millennium of European, Church-based anti-Semitism.

Most importantly, the new statement states plainly that the Jewish people do not need to put their faith in Jesus Christ to be forgiven, since their faith culminates in the Torah, in contrast with the Christian faith, which culminates in Jesus. Therefore, we are told, there is no need for the Catholic Church to have a specific mission to convert Jews to Christianity, looking forward to the day when, in the mysteries of God, Jews and Christians will serve God together, shoulder to shoulder.

Not surprisingly, this statement has been hailed by Jewish leaders, in particular for its explicit call for the Church not to engage in an intentional, specific outreach to the Jewish people.

From my perspective as a Jewish believer in Jesus who is deeply indebted to my Christian friends who reached out to me as a rebellious, heroin-shooting, LSD-using, 16-year-old, hippie rock drummer, it would have been tragic had they thought not to share the Good News with me because I was Jewish.

To be sure, the new statement does allow for respectful interaction between the faiths and does not prohibit all Christian witness, but the overall sentiment of the statement, as reflected in numerous headlines, is that “Jews do not need Jesus to be saved,” as if they can somehow be included in His salvific act while explicitly rejecting Him as Messiah.

Certainly, I agree that the Church’s goal should not be to convert Jews to Christianity. Rather, the goal should be to help them embrace Jesus-Yeshua as their Messiah, discovering Him to be the one who fulfilled what was written in Moses and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17-20) rather than the one who came to start a new, somewhat foreign religion.

Yet the very fact that Jesus did come as the Jewish Messiah fundamentally contradicts the new Catholic statement. The reasons are both fundamental and significant.

1. Jesus was recognized by His followers as the one spoken of by Moses and the prophets, not as the founder of a new religion (John 1:45) but as the one who was born King of the Jews and died King of the Jews (Matt. 2:1-6; 27:35-37).
Jesus showed His disciples that the Hebrew Scriptures—the Jewish Bible—predicted His death and resurrection (Luke 24:25-27; 24:44-48) and He rebuked the Jewish leadership for not recognizing Him as the Messiah, saying that if they truly believed Moses, they would believe Him (John 5:45-47).

2. If Jesus is not the Messiah of Israel, then He cannot be the Savior of the world. Instead, He should be repudiated as a false prophet, false teacher and false messiah.

Many Jewish leaders today have great respect for the Christian faith, saying that while Jesus is not the Jewish Messiah, He is the Christian Savior, but this cannot be true. If He is not Israel’s Messiah, He cannot be the Savior of the world.

If Judaism, then, is right in rejecting Yeshua as Messiah, there should be no such thing as Christianity, since the essential witness of the New Testament would be false. If the witness of the New Testament is true, then Jews need Jesus as much as Gentiles do.

3. The Jewish rejection of Jesus in the Gospels and Acts is seen as the culmination of Israel’s rejection of Moses and the prophets.

Jesus warned the Jewish crowds that in the future, Gentiles would be sitting at Abraham’s table while many of them—”the sons of the kingdom”—would be cast out (Matt. 8:10-12), and Peter, Stephen, and Paul all stated explicitly that their people’s refusal to recognize Jesus as Messiah was in keeping with their history as recorded in the Old Testament (Acts 3:13-23; 7:51-52; 13:16-41).

4. Jesus warned His followers—all of them Jews—that they would be put out of the synagogue (John 16:3), and so it was incipient Judaism that first rejected “Jewish Christians” more than the reverse.

This pattern begins to unfold in the book of Acts, as the apostles—again, all of them Jewish—were persecuted and threatened by the Jewish leadership (e.g., Acts 4-7), and in each new city where Paul traveled, it was only after his message was rejected by the synagogue that he began to preach to the Gentiles (e.g., Acts 13:41-48).

5. According to Paul, the gospel is to the Jew first (Rom. 1:16; this echoes Jesus’ words in Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8) and judgment is also for the Jew first (Rom. 2:6-11).

It is significant that the new Catholic statement relies primarily on Paul’s teaching in Romans 9-11, choosing overtly not to emphasize the teaching of Hebrews (addressed to Jewish followers of Jesus), which stated that the old covenant system, which was even then “becoming obsolete and growing old” was “ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:13). This, Hebrews tells us, is because the new and better covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah (31:31-34) and inaugurated by Jesus (Luke 22:17-20), was now in effect (8:7-12; 10:14-18).

Yet it is in Romans 9-11 that Paul spoke of his deep agony because His Jewish people were separated from the Messiah (9:1-3; he did this while affirming God’s ongoing covenant with Israel in 9:4-5); he explained that both in past times and to this moment, it was only the remnant within Israel that was saved (9:6; 11:1-7); he prayed for the salvation of his people (10:1; why do that if the new Catholic statement is true?); he taught that Israel, on a national level, had been hardened but that in the end that hardness would be removed and his people would recognize their Messiah (11:7-27); thus, he explained, at present, the Jewish people are enemies of the gospel, even while still loved by God, “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (11:28-29).

Significantly, it is this very verse, Romans 11:29, that inspires the title of the new document, yet it fails to understand what Paul meant when he wrote it. Jews are still loved by God and remain heirs of the divine promises, but outside of Jesus, they are alienated from God. That is why, to the end of his life, Paul engaged in an intentional mission to reach his people with the Good News that the Messiah of Israel had come (Acts 28:16-31).

If we truly love the Jewish people, we should follow his example, both with our tears and with our compassionate and sensitive outreach, recognizing that no other people on earth are so near and yet so far.

Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire and is the president of FIRE School of Ministry. His newest book is Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Where Homosexual Activism Is Really Going and How to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook at AskDrBrown or on Twitter @drmichaellbrown.

America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President

obamaaloof

David Barton

America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President

When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:

  • June 2013 – The Obama Department of Justice defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God, and another youth program because it permits a voluntary student-led prayer. [1]
  • February 2013 – The Obama Administration announces that the rights of religious conscience for individuals will not be protected under the Affordable Care Act. [2]
  • January 2013 – Pastor Louie Giglio is pressured to remove himself from praying at the inauguration after it is discovered he once preached a sermon supporting the Biblical definition of marriage. [3]
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. [4]
  • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. [5]
  • December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries’ religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights.[6]
  • November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [7]
  • November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. [8]
  • August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. [9]
  • April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. [10]
  • February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. [11]
  • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. [12]
  • November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. [13]
  • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions. [14]
  • May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. [15]
  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech. [16]
  • April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. [17]
  • February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. [18]
  • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” [19]

2. Acts of hostility from the Obama-led military toward people of Biblical faith:

  • December 2013 – A naval facility required that two nativity scenes — scenes depicting the event that caused Christmas to be declared a national federal holiday — be removed from the base dining hall and be confined to the base chapel, thus disallowing the open public acknowledgment of this national federal holiday. [20]
  • December 2013 – An Air Force base that allowed various public displays ordered the removal of one simply because it contained religious content. [21]
  • October 2013 – A counter-intelligence briefing at Fort Hood tells soldiers that evangelical Christians are a threat to Americans and that for a soldier to donate to such a group “was punishable under military regulations.” [22]
  • October 2013 – Catholic priests hired to serve as military chaplains are prohibited from performing Mass services at base chapels during the government financial shutdown. When they offered to freely do Mass for soldiers, without regard to whether or not the chaplains were receiving pay, they are still denied permission to do so. [23]
  • August 2013 – A Department of Defense military training manual teaches soldiers that people who talk about “individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place” are “extremists.” It also lists the Founding Fathers — those “colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule” — as examples of those involved in “extremist ideologies and movements.” [24]
  • August 2013 – A Senior Master Sergeant was removed from his position and reassigned because he told his openly lesbian squadron commander that she should not punish a staff sergeant who expressed his views in favor of traditional marriage. [25]
  • August 2013 – The military does not provide heterosexual couples specific paid leave to travel to a state just for the purpose of being married, but it did extend these benefits to homosexual couples who want to marry, thus giving them preferential treatment not available to heterosexuals. [26]
  • August 2013 – The Air Force, in the midst of having launched a series of attacks against those expressing traditional religious or moral views, invited a drag queen group to perform at a base. [27]
  • July 2013 – When an Air Force sergeant with years of military service questioned a same-sex marriage ceremony performed at the Air Force Academy’s chapel, he received a letter of reprimand telling him that if he disagreed, he needed to get out of the military. His current six-year reenlistment was then reduced to only one-year, with the notification that he “be prepared to retire at the end of this year.” [28]
  • July 2013 – An Air Force chaplain who posted a website article on the importance of faith and the origin of the phrase “There are no atheists in foxholes” was officially ordered to remove his post because some were offended by the use of that famous World War II phrase. [29]
  • June 2013 – The U. S. Air Force, in consultation with the Pentagon, removed an inspirational painting that for years has been hanging at Mountain Home Air Force Base because its title was “Blessed Are The Peacemakers” — a phrase from Matthew 5:9 in the Bible. [30]
  • June 2013 – The Obama administration “strongly objects” to a Defense Authorization amendment to protect the constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights of soldiers and chaplains, claiming that it would have an “adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.” [31]
  • June 2013 – At a joint base in New Jersey, a video was made, based on a Super Bowl commercial, to honor First Sergeants. It stated: “On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the Airmen.’ So God created a First Sergeant.” Because the video mentioned the word “God,” the Air Force required that it be taken down. [32]
  • June 2013 – An Army Master Sergeant is reprimanded, threatened with judicial action, and given a bad efficiency report, being told he was “no longer a team player,” because he voiced his support of traditional marriage at his own promotion party. [33]
  • May 2013 – The Pentagon announces that “Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable. “Proselytizing (inducing someone to convert to one’s faith) goes over that line,” [34] affirming if a sharing of faith makes someone feel uncomfortable that it could be a court-marital offense [35] — the military equivalent of a civil felony.
  • May 2013 – An Air Force officer was actually made to remove a personal Bible from his own desk because it “might” appear that he was condoning the particular religion to which he belonged. [36]
  • April 2013 – Officials briefing U.S. Army soldiers placed “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” in a list that also included Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas as examples of “religious extremism.”[37]
  • April 2013 – The U.S. Army directs troops to scratch off and paint over tiny Scripture verse references that for decades had been forged into weapon scopes. [38]
  • April 2013 – The Air Force creates a “religious tolerance” policy but consults only a militant atheist group to do so — a group whose leader has described military personnel who are religious as ‘spiritual rapists’ and ‘human monsters’ [39] and who also says that soldiers who proselytize are guilty of treason and sedition and should be punished to hold back a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” [40]
  • January 2013 – President Obama announced his opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains. [41]
  • June 2012 – Bibles for the American military have been printed in every conflict since the American Revolution, but the Obama Administration revokes the long-standing U. S. policy of allowing military service emblems to be placed on those military Bibles. [42]
  • May 2012 – The Obama administration opposed legislation to protect the rights of conscience for military chaplains who do not wish to perform same-sex marriages in violation of their strongly-held religious beliefs. [43]
  • April 2012 – A checklist for Air Force Inns will no longer include ensuring that a Bible is available in rooms for those who want to use them. [44]
  • February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. [45]
  • February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). [46]
  • February 2012 – The Army ordered Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. [47]
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. [48]
  •  November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [49]
  • November 2011 – Even while restricting and disapprobating Christian religious expressions, the Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans at the Air Force Academy. [50]
  • September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. [51]
  • September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” [52]
  • August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except now, America). [53]
  • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. [54]
  • January 2010 – Because of “concerns” raised by the Department of Defense, tiny Bible verse references that had appeared for decades on scopes and gunsights were removed. [55]

3. Acts of hostility toward Biblical values:

  • August 2013 – Non-profit charitable hospitals, especially faith-based ones, will face large fines or lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t comply with new strangling paperwork requirements related to giving free treatment to poor clients who do not have Obamacare insurance coverage. [56] Ironically, the first hospital in America was founded as a charitable institution in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin, and its logo was the Good Samaritan, with Luke 10:35 inscribed below him: “Take care of him, and I will repay thee,” being designed specifically to offer free medical care to the poor. [57] Benjamin Franklin’s hospital would likely be fined unless he placed more resources and funds into paperwork rather than helping the poor under the new faith-hostile policy of the Obama administration.
  • August 2013 – USAID, a federal government agency, shut down a conference in South Korea the night before it was scheduled to take place because some of the presentations were not pro-abortion but instead presented information on abortion complications, including the problems of “preterm births, mental health issues, and maternal mortality” among women giving birth who had previous abortions. [58]
  • June 2013 – The Obama Administration finalizes requirements that under the Obamacare insurance program, employers must make available abortion-causing drugs, regardless of the religious conscience objections of many employers and even despite the directive of several federal courts to protect the religious conscience of employers. [59]
  • April 2013 – The United States Agency for Internal Development (USAID), an official foreign policy agency of the U.S. government, begins a program to train homosexual activists in various countries around the world to overturn traditional marriage and anti-sodomy laws, targeting first those countries with strong Catholic influences, including Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala. [60]
  • December 2012 – Despite having campaigned to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Obama once again suspends the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American Embassy there. [61]
  • July 2012 – The Pentagon, for the first time, allows service members to wear their uniforms while marching in a parade – specifically, a gay pride parade in San Diego. [62]
  • October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. [63]
  • September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [64]
  • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. [65]
  • March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. [66]
  • February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [67]
  • September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. [68]
  • August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. [69]
  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. [70]
  • September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” [71]
  • July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.[72]
  • May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. [73] He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. [74]
  • May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. [75]
  • March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. [76]
  • March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. [77]
  • March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. [78]
  • January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. [79]
  • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. [80]

4. Acts of preferentialism for Islam:

  • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, [81] but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. [82]
  • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. [83]
  • August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. [84]
  • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. [85]
  • April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. [86]
  • April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. [87]
  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. [88]
  • 2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. [89]

Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.


[1] Todd Starnes, “DOJ Defunds At-Risk Youth Programs over “God” Reference,” Townhall, June 25, 2013.
[2] Steven Ertelt, “Obama Admin’s HHS Mandate Revision Likely Excludes Hobby Lobby,” LifeNews.com, February 1, 2013; Dan Merica, “Obama proposal would let religious groups opt-out of contraception mandate,” CNN, February 1, 2013.
[3] Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Minister Backs Out of Speech at Inaugural,” New York Times, January 10, 2013; Eric Marrapodi, “Giglio bows out of inauguration over sermon on gays,” CNN, January 10, 2013.
[4] Audrey Hudson, “Obama administration religious service for student loan forgiveness,” Human Events, February 15, 2012.
[5] Ted Olson, “Church Wins Firing Case at Supreme Court,” Christianity Today, January 11, 2012.
[6] Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, December 6, 2011.
[7] Todd Starns, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011.
[8] Joel Siegel, “Obama Omits God From Thanksgiving Speech, Riles Critics,”ABC News, November 25, 2011.
[9] Chuck Donovan, “HHS’s New Health Guidelines Trample on Conscience,”Heritage Foundation, August 2, 2011.
[10] Chris Johnson, “ENDA passage effort renewed with Senate introduction,” Washington Blade, April 15, 2011.
[11] Marrianne Medlin, “Amid criticism, President Obama moves to fill vacant religious ambassador post,” Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2011; Thomas F. Farr, “Undefender of the Faith,” Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012.
[12] LadyImpactOhio, ” Feds sued by Veterans to allow stolen Mojave Desert Cross to be rebuilt,” Red State, January 14, 2011.
[13] “Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia,” The White House, November 10, 2010.
[14] Meredith Jessup, “Obama Continues to Omit ‘Creator’ From Declaration of Independence,” The Blaze, October 19, 2010.
[15] Johanna Neuman, “Obama end Bush-era National Prayer Day Service at White House,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009.
[16] Jim Lovino, “Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech,” NBC Washington, April 17, 2009.
[17] Chris McGreal, “Vatican vetoes Barack Obama’s nominees for U.S. Ambassador,” The Guardian, April 14, 2009.
[18] Aliza Marcus, “Obama to Lift ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers,”Bloomberg, February 27, 2009; Sarah Pulliam Baily, “Obama Admin. Changes Bush ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers,” Christianity Today, February 18, 2011.
[19] Sarah Pulliam Baily, “Obama: ‘They cling to guns or religion’,” Christianity Today, April 13, 2008.
[21] Todd Starnes, “Air Force removes Nativity scene,” Fox News, December 9, 2013.
[23] Todd Starnes, “Catholic priests in military face arrest for celebrating Mass,” Fox News, October 5, 2013; The Brody File, “Priest: Obama Admin. Denied Mass to Catholics,” CBN News, October 8, 2013.
[24] Adan Salazar, “DoD Training Manual: ‘Extremist’ Founding Fathers ‘Would Not Be Welcome In Today’s Military’,” infowars.com, August 24, 2013.
[25] Chad Groening, “‘I cannot answer your question:’ Air Force Sgt. says lesbian commander booted him,” One News Now, August 20, 2013.
[26] “Military gives bonuses only to same-sex couples,” WND, August 20, 2013.
[27] Melanie Korb, “Air Force Invites Drag Queens to Perform on ‘Diversity Day’,” Charisma News, August 19, 2013.
[28] Chad Groening, “Attorney demands answers for Air National Guard sergeant punished for beliefs,” OneNewsNow, July 15, 2013.
[29] Todd Starnes, “Chaplain Ordered to Remove Religious Essay From Military Website,” FoxNews Radio, July 24, 2013.
[30] Hellen Cook, “Pentagon Censors Christian Art,” Christian News Wire, January 21, 2010.
[31] Todd Starnes, “Obama ‘Strongly Objects’ to Religious Liberty Amendment,” Townhall, June 12, 2013.
[32] Todd Starnes, “Air Force Removes Video that Mentions God,” Fox News Radio. June 7, 2013.
[33] Todd Starnes, “Army Punishes Soldier who Served Chick-fil-A,” Fox News Radio, June 5, 2013.
[34] “Liberty Institute Calls On U.S. Department Of Defense To Abandon Shift In Military’s Proselytizing Policy,” PR Newswire, May 7, 2013; Todd Starnes, “Air Force Officer Told to Remove Bible from Desk,” Townhall.com, May 3, 2013.
[35] “Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith,”Breitbart, May 1, 2013.
[36] Todd Starnes, “Air Force Officer Told to Remove Bible from Desk,”Townhall.com, May 3, 2013.
[37] Jack Minor, “Military Warned ‘evangelicals’ No. 1 Threat,” WND, April 5, 2013.
[38] Todd Starnes, “Army Removes Bible Reference from Scopes,” Fox News Radio, April 22, 2013.
[39] “Chaplain endorsers ask Air Force for equal time,” Alliance Defending Freedom, April 30, 2013.
[40] Todd Starnes, “Pentagon: Religious Proselytizing is Not Permitted,” Fox News Radio, April 30, 2013.
[42] “U.S. military insignia no longer allowed on Bibles,” CBN News, June 14, 2012.
[43] Patrick Goodenough, “White House ‘Strongly Objects’ to Legislation Protecting Military Chaplains from Doing Same-Sex Weddings or Being Forced to Act Against Conscience,” cnsnews.com, May 16, 2012.
[44] Markeshia Ricks, “Bible checklist for Air Force lodges going away,” Air Force Times, April 16, 2012.
[45] Ken Blackwell, “Gen. Boykin Blocked At West Point,” cnsnews.com, February 1, 2012.
[46] Geoff Herbert, ” Air Force unit removes ‘God’ from logo; lawmakers warn of ‘dangerous precedent’,” syracuse.com, February 9, 2012.
[47] Todd Starnes, “Army Silences Catholic Chaplains,” Fox News Radio, February 6, 2012.
[48] “Air Force Academy Backs Away from Christmas Charity,” Fox News Radio, November 4, 2011.
[49] Todd Starnes, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011.
[50] Jenny Dean, “Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans,” Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2011.
[51] “Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion,” Department of the Air Force, September 1, 2011.
[52] “Wounded, Ill, and Injured Partners in Care Guidelines,” Department of the Navy (accessed on February 29, 2012).
[53] Jason Ukman, “Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages that train missle launch officers,” Washington Post, August 2, 2011.
[54] “Houston Veterans Claim Censorship of Prayers, Including Ban of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’,” Fox News, June 29, 2011.
[55] Todd Spangler, “U.S. firm to remove Bible references from gun sights,”USA Today, January 21, 2010.
[56] Patrick Howley, “Obamacare installs new scrutiny, fines for charitable hospitals that treat uninsured people,” The Daily Caller, August 8, 2013.
[57] “The Story of the Creation of the Nation’s First Hospital,” University of Pennsylvania Health System (accessed August 14, 2013).
[58] Wendy Wright,” USAID Rep Shuts Down Workshop on Abortion Complications,” Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, August 9, 2013.
[59] “Obama Administration Ignores Outcries, Finalizes HHS Mandate Targeting Religious Freedom,” Liberty Counsel, July 1, 2013; Baptist Press, “Moore, others: Final mandate rules fail,” Townhall, July 1, 2013.
[60] Tony Perkins, “Obama administration begins training homosexual activists around the world,” LifeSiteNews, June 6, 2013.
[61] Ken Blackwell, “Guest Opinion: Take a Risk for Peace. Move our Embassy to Jerusalem!,” Catholic Online, June 5, 2013.
[63] Jerry Markon, “Health, abortion issues split Obama administration and Catholic groups,” Washington Post, October 31, 2011.
[64] Luis Martinez, “Will Same Sex Marriages Pose a Dilemma for Military Chaplains?,” ABC News, October 12, 2011.
[65] Elisabeth Bumiller, “Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy,” New York Times, July 22, 2011; George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1934), Vol. XI, pp. 83-84, from General Orders at Valley Forge on March 14, 1778.
[66] Steven Ertelt, “Obama Admin Ignores Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Videos,” LifeNews, March 2, 2011.
[67] Brian Montopoli, “Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA,”CBSNews, February 23, 2011.
[68] Steven Ertelt, “President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation,” LifeNews, February 11, 2012.
[69] Steven Ertelt, “Obama, Congress Cut Funding for 176 Abstinence Programs Despite New Study,” LifeNews, August 26, 2010.
[74] Steven Ertelt, “Obama Budget Funds Sex Ed Over Abstinence on 16-1 Margin,” LifeNews, February 14, 2011.
[78] Steven Ertelt, “ Obama Administration Announces $50 Million for Pro-Forced Abortion UNFPA,” LifeNews, March 26, 2009; Steven Ertelt, “President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation,” LifeNews, February 11, 2012.
[79] Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles, “Obama lifts restrictions on abortion funding,” Reuters, January 23, 2009.
[80] “Obama pick: Taxpayers must fund abortions,” World Net Daily, January 27, 2009.
[81] Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, “ Obama apologizes to Afghanistan for Quran burning,” CNN, February 23, 2012.
[84] Chuck Norris, “ President Obama: Muslim Missionary? (Part 2),”Townhall.com, August 24, 2010; Chuck Norris, “President Obama: Muslim Missionary?,” Townhall.com, August 17, 2010.
[85] Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, August 13, 2010; “Obama Comes Out in Favor of Allowing Mosque Near Ground Zero,” Fox News, August 13, 2010; Pamela Geller, “Islamic Supremacism Trumps Christianity at Ground Zero,” American Thinker, July 21, 2011.
[88] Barack Obama, “ Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, September 1, 2009; Kristi Keck, “ Obama tones down National Day of Prayer observance,” CNN, May 6, 2009; Dan Gilgoff, “ The White House on National Day of Prayer: A Proclamation, but No Formal Ceremony,” U.S. News, May 1, 2009.
[89] “WH Fails to Release Easter Proclamation,” Fox Nation, April 25, 2011; “President Obama ignores most holy Christian holiday; AFA calls act intentional,” American Family Association (accessed on February 29, 2012).

America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President

obamaaloof

David Barton
America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. PresidentWhen one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:

  • June 2013 – The Obama Department of Justice defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God, and another youth program because it permits a voluntary student-led prayer. [1]
  • February 2013 – The Obama Administration announces that the rights of religious conscience for individuals will not be protected under the Affordable Care Act. [2]
  • January 2013 – Pastor Louie Giglio is pressured to remove himself from praying at the inauguration after it is discovered he once preached a sermon supporting the Biblical definition of marriage. [3]
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. [4]
  • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. [5]
  • December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries’ religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights.[6]
  • November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [7]
  • November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. [8]
  • August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. [9]
  • April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. [10]
  • February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. [11]
  • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. [12]
  • November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. [13]
  • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions. [14]
  • May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. [15]
  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech. [16]
  • April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. [17]
  • February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. [18]
  • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” [19]

2. Acts of hostility from the Obama-led military toward people of Biblical faith:

  • December 2013 – A naval facility required that two nativity scenes — scenes depicting the event that caused Christmas to be declared a national federal holiday — be removed from the base dining hall and be confined to the base chapel, thus disallowing the open public acknowledgment of this national federal holiday. [20]
  • December 2013 – An Air Force base that allowed various public displays ordered the removal of one simply because it contained religious content. [21]
  • October 2013 – A counter-intelligence briefing at Fort Hood tells soldiers that evangelical Christians are a threat to Americans and that for a soldier to donate to such a group “was punishable under military regulations.” [22]
  • October 2013 – Catholic priests hired to serve as military chaplains are prohibited from performing Mass services at base chapels during the government financial shutdown. When they offered to freely do Mass for soldiers, without regard to whether or not the chaplains were receiving pay, they are still denied permission to do so. [23]
  • August 2013 – A Department of Defense military training manual teaches soldiers that people who talk about “individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place” are “extremists.” It also lists the Founding Fathers — those “colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule” — as examples of those involved in “extremist ideologies and movements.” [24]
  • August 2013 – A Senior Master Sergeant was removed from his position and reassigned because he told his openly lesbian squadron commander that she should not punish a staff sergeant who expressed his views in favor of traditional marriage. [25]
  • August 2013 – The military does not provide heterosexual couples specific paid leave to travel to a state just for the purpose of being married, but it did extend these benefits to homosexual couples who want to marry, thus giving them preferential treatment not available to heterosexuals. [26]
  • August 2013 – The Air Force, in the midst of having launched a series of attacks against those expressing traditional religious or moral views, invited a drag queen group to perform at a base. [27]
  • July 2013 – When an Air Force sergeant with years of military service questioned a same-sex marriage ceremony performed at the Air Force Academy’s chapel, he received a letter of reprimand telling him that if he disagreed, he needed to get out of the military. His current six-year reenlistment was then reduced to only one-year, with the notification that he “be prepared to retire at the end of this year.” [28]
  • July 2013 – An Air Force chaplain who posted a website article on the importance of faith and the origin of the phrase “There are no atheists in foxholes” was officially ordered to remove his post because some were offended by the use of that famous World War II phrase. [29]
  • June 2013 – The U. S. Air Force, in consultation with the Pentagon, removed an inspirational painting that for years has been hanging at Mountain Home Air Force Base because its title was “Blessed Are The Peacemakers” — a phrase from Matthew 5:9 in the Bible. [30]
  • June 2013 – The Obama administration “strongly objects” to a Defense Authorization amendment to protect the constitutionally-guaranteed religious rights of soldiers and chaplains, claiming that it would have an “adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.” [31]
  • June 2013 – At a joint base in New Jersey, a video was made, based on a Super Bowl commercial, to honor First Sergeants. It stated: “On the eighth day, God looked down on His creation and said, ‘I need someone who will take care of the Airmen.’ So God created a First Sergeant.” Because the video mentioned the word “God,” the Air Force required that it be taken down. [32]
  • June 2013 – An Army Master Sergeant is reprimanded, threatened with judicial action, and given a bad efficiency report, being told he was “no longer a team player,” because he voiced his support of traditional marriage at his own promotion party. [33]
  • May 2013 – The Pentagon announces that “Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable. “Proselytizing (inducing someone to convert to one’s faith) goes over that line,” [34] affirming if a sharing of faith makes someone feel uncomfortable that it could be a court-marital offense [35] — the military equivalent of a civil felony.
  • May 2013 – An Air Force officer was actually made to remove a personal Bible from his own desk because it “might” appear that he was condoning the particular religion to which he belonged. [36]
  • April 2013 – Officials briefing U.S. Army soldiers placed “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” in a list that also included Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas as examples of “religious extremism.”[37]
  • April 2013 – The U.S. Army directs troops to scratch off and paint over tiny Scripture verse references that for decades had been forged into weapon scopes. [38]
  • April 2013 – The Air Force creates a “religious tolerance” policy but consults only a militant atheist group to do so — a group whose leader has described military personnel who are religious as ‘spiritual rapists’ and ‘human monsters’ [39] and who also says that soldiers who proselytize are guilty of treason and sedition and should be punished to hold back a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” [40]
  • January 2013 – President Obama announced his opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains. [41]
  • June 2012 – Bibles for the American military have been printed in every conflict since the American Revolution, but the Obama Administration revokes the long-standing U. S. policy of allowing military service emblems to be placed on those military Bibles. [42]
  • May 2012 – The Obama administration opposed legislation to protect the rights of conscience for military chaplains who do not wish to perform same-sex marriages in violation of their strongly-held religious beliefs. [43]
  • April 2012 – A checklist for Air Force Inns will no longer include ensuring that a Bible is available in rooms for those who want to use them. [44]
  • February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. [45]
  • February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). [46]
  • February 2012 – The Army ordered Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. [47]
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. [48]
  •  November 2011 – President Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. [49]
  • November 2011 – Even while restricting and disapprobating Christian religious expressions, the Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans at the Air Force Academy. [50]
  • September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. [51]
  • September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” [52]
  • August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except now, America). [53]
  • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. [54]
  • January 2010 – Because of “concerns” raised by the Department of Defense, tiny Bible verse references that had appeared for decades on scopes and gunsights were removed. [55]

3. Acts of hostility toward Biblical values:

  • August 2013 – Non-profit charitable hospitals, especially faith-based ones, will face large fines or lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t comply with new strangling paperwork requirements related to giving free treatment to poor clients who do not have Obamacare insurance coverage. [56] Ironically, the first hospital in America was founded as a charitable institution in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin, and its logo was the Good Samaritan, with Luke 10:35 inscribed below him: “Take care of him, and I will repay thee,” being designed specifically to offer free medical care to the poor. [57] Benjamin Franklin’s hospital would likely be fined unless he placed more resources and funds into paperwork rather than helping the poor under the new faith-hostile policy of the Obama administration.
  • August 2013 – USAID, a federal government agency, shut down a conference in South Korea the night before it was scheduled to take place because some of the presentations were not pro-abortion but instead presented information on abortion complications, including the problems of “preterm births, mental health issues, and maternal mortality” among women giving birth who had previous abortions. [58]
  • June 2013 – The Obama Administration finalizes requirements that under the Obamacare insurance program, employers must make available abortion-causing drugs, regardless of the religious conscience objections of many employers and even despite the directive of several federal courts to protect the religious conscience of employers. [59]
  • April 2013 – The United States Agency for Internal Development (USAID), an official foreign policy agency of the U.S. government, begins a program to train homosexual activists in various countries around the world to overturn traditional marriage and anti-sodomy laws, targeting first those countries with strong Catholic influences, including Ecuador, Honduras, and Guatemala. [60]
  • December 2012 – Despite having campaigned to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Obama once again suspends the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the American Embassy there. [61]
  • July 2012 – The Pentagon, for the first time, allows service members to wear their uniforms while marching in a parade – specifically, a gay pride parade in San Diego. [62]
  • October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. [63]
  • September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [64]
  • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. [65]
  • March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. [66]
  • February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. [67]
  • September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. [68]
  • August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. [69]
  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. [70]
  • September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” [71]
  • July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.[72]
  • May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. [73] He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. [74]
  • May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. [75]
  • March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. [76]
  • March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. [77]
  • March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. [78]
  • January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. [79]
  • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. [80]

4. Acts of preferentialism for Islam:

  • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, [81] but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. [82]
  • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. [83]
  • August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. [84]
  • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. [85]
  • April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. [86]
  • April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. [87]
  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. [88]
  • 2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. [89]

Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.


[1] Todd Starnes, “DOJ Defunds At-Risk Youth Programs over “God” Reference,” Townhall, June 25, 2013.
[2] Steven Ertelt, “Obama Admin’s HHS Mandate Revision Likely Excludes Hobby Lobby,” LifeNews.com, February 1, 2013; Dan Merica, “Obama proposal would let religious groups opt-out of contraception mandate,” CNN, February 1, 2013.
[3] Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Minister Backs Out of Speech at Inaugural,” New York Times, January 10, 2013; Eric Marrapodi, “Giglio bows out of inauguration over sermon on gays,” CNN, January 10, 2013.
[4] Audrey Hudson, “Obama administration religious service for student loan forgiveness,” Human Events, February 15, 2012.
[5] Ted Olson, “Church Wins Firing Case at Supreme Court,” Christianity Today, January 11, 2012.
[6] Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, December 6, 2011.
[7] Todd Starns, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011.
[8] Joel Siegel, “Obama Omits God From Thanksgiving Speech, Riles Critics,”ABC News, November 25, 2011.
[9] Chuck Donovan, “HHS’s New Health Guidelines Trample on Conscience,”Heritage Foundation, August 2, 2011.
[10] Chris Johnson, “ENDA passage effort renewed with Senate introduction,” Washington Blade, April 15, 2011.
[11] Marrianne Medlin, “Amid criticism, President Obama moves to fill vacant religious ambassador post,” Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2011; Thomas F. Farr, “Undefender of the Faith,” Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012.
[12] LadyImpactOhio, ” Feds sued by Veterans to allow stolen Mojave Desert Cross to be rebuilt,” Red State, January 14, 2011.
[13] “Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia,” The White House, November 10, 2010.
[14] Meredith Jessup, “Obama Continues to Omit ‘Creator’ From Declaration of Independence,” The Blaze, October 19, 2010.
[15] Johanna Neuman, “Obama end Bush-era National Prayer Day Service at White House,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009.
[16] Jim Lovino, “Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech,” NBC Washington, April 17, 2009.
[17] Chris McGreal, “Vatican vetoes Barack Obama’s nominees for U.S. Ambassador,” The Guardian, April 14, 2009.
[18] Aliza Marcus, “Obama to Lift ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers,”Bloomberg, February 27, 2009; Sarah Pulliam Baily, “Obama Admin. Changes Bush ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers,” Christianity Today, February 18, 2011.
[19] Sarah Pulliam Baily, “Obama: ‘They cling to guns or religion’,” Christianity Today, April 13, 2008.
[21] Todd Starnes, “Air Force removes Nativity scene,” Fox News, December 9, 2013.
[23] Todd Starnes, “Catholic priests in military face arrest for celebrating Mass,” Fox News, October 5, 2013; The Brody File, “Priest: Obama Admin. Denied Mass to Catholics,” CBN News, October 8, 2013.
[24] Adan Salazar, “DoD Training Manual: ‘Extremist’ Founding Fathers ‘Would Not Be Welcome In Today’s Military’,” infowars.com, August 24, 2013.
[25] Chad Groening, “‘I cannot answer your question:’ Air Force Sgt. says lesbian commander booted him,” One News Now, August 20, 2013.
[26] “Military gives bonuses only to same-sex couples,” WND, August 20, 2013.
[27] Melanie Korb, “Air Force Invites Drag Queens to Perform on ‘Diversity Day’,” Charisma News, August 19, 2013.
[28] Chad Groening, “Attorney demands answers for Air National Guard sergeant punished for beliefs,” OneNewsNow, July 15, 2013.
[29] Todd Starnes, “Chaplain Ordered to Remove Religious Essay From Military Website,” FoxNews Radio, July 24, 2013.
[30] Hellen Cook, “Pentagon Censors Christian Art,” Christian News Wire, January 21, 2010.
[31] Todd Starnes, “Obama ‘Strongly Objects’ to Religious Liberty Amendment,” Townhall, June 12, 2013.
[32] Todd Starnes, “Air Force Removes Video that Mentions God,” Fox News Radio. June 7, 2013.
[33] Todd Starnes, “Army Punishes Soldier who Served Chick-fil-A,” Fox News Radio, June 5, 2013.
[34] “Liberty Institute Calls On U.S. Department Of Defense To Abandon Shift In Military’s Proselytizing Policy,” PR Newswire, May 7, 2013; Todd Starnes, “Air Force Officer Told to Remove Bible from Desk,” Townhall.com, May 3, 2013.
[35] “Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith,”Breitbart, May 1, 2013.
[36] Todd Starnes, “Air Force Officer Told to Remove Bible from Desk,”Townhall.com, May 3, 2013.
[37] Jack Minor, “Military Warned ‘evangelicals’ No. 1 Threat,” WND, April 5, 2013.
[38] Todd Starnes, “Army Removes Bible Reference from Scopes,” Fox News Radio, April 22, 2013.
[39] “Chaplain endorsers ask Air Force for equal time,” Alliance Defending Freedom, April 30, 2013.
[40] Todd Starnes, “Pentagon: Religious Proselytizing is Not Permitted,” Fox News Radio, April 30, 2013.
[42] “U.S. military insignia no longer allowed on Bibles,” CBN News, June 14, 2012.
[43] Patrick Goodenough, “White House ‘Strongly Objects’ to Legislation Protecting Military Chaplains from Doing Same-Sex Weddings or Being Forced to Act Against Conscience,” cnsnews.com, May 16, 2012.
[44] Markeshia Ricks, “Bible checklist for Air Force lodges going away,” Air Force Times, April 16, 2012.
[45] Ken Blackwell, “Gen. Boykin Blocked At West Point,” cnsnews.com, February 1, 2012.
[46] Geoff Herbert, ” Air Force unit removes ‘God’ from logo; lawmakers warn of ‘dangerous precedent’,” syracuse.com, February 9, 2012.
[47] Todd Starnes, “Army Silences Catholic Chaplains,” Fox News Radio, February 6, 2012.
[48] “Air Force Academy Backs Away from Christmas Charity,” Fox News Radio, November 4, 2011.
[49] Todd Starnes, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011.
[50] Jenny Dean, “Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans,” Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2011.
[51] “Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion,” Department of the Air Force, September 1, 2011.
[52] “Wounded, Ill, and Injured Partners in Care Guidelines,” Department of the Navy (accessed on February 29, 2012).
[53] Jason Ukman, “Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages that train missle launch officers,” Washington Post, August 2, 2011.
[54] “Houston Veterans Claim Censorship of Prayers, Including Ban of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’,” Fox News, June 29, 2011.
[55] Todd Spangler, “U.S. firm to remove Bible references from gun sights,”USA Today, January 21, 2010.
[56] Patrick Howley, “Obamacare installs new scrutiny, fines for charitable hospitals that treat uninsured people,” The Daily Caller, August 8, 2013.
[57] “The Story of the Creation of the Nation’s First Hospital,” University of Pennsylvania Health System (accessed August 14, 2013).
[58] Wendy Wright,” USAID Rep Shuts Down Workshop on Abortion Complications,” Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, August 9, 2013.
[59] “Obama Administration Ignores Outcries, Finalizes HHS Mandate Targeting Religious Freedom,” Liberty Counsel, July 1, 2013; Baptist Press, “Moore, others: Final mandate rules fail,” Townhall, July 1, 2013.
[60] Tony Perkins, “Obama administration begins training homosexual activists around the world,” LifeSiteNews, June 6, 2013.
[61] Ken Blackwell, “Guest Opinion: Take a Risk for Peace. Move our Embassy to Jerusalem!,” Catholic Online, June 5, 2013.
[63] Jerry Markon, “Health, abortion issues split Obama administration and Catholic groups,” Washington Post, October 31, 2011.
[64] Luis Martinez, “Will Same Sex Marriages Pose a Dilemma for Military Chaplains?,” ABC News, October 12, 2011.
[65] Elisabeth Bumiller, “Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy,” New York Times, July 22, 2011; George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1934), Vol. XI, pp. 83-84, from General Orders at Valley Forge on March 14, 1778.
[66] Steven Ertelt, “Obama Admin Ignores Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Videos,” LifeNews, March 2, 2011.
[67] Brian Montopoli, “Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA,”CBSNews, February 23, 2011.
[68] Steven Ertelt, “President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation,” LifeNews, February 11, 2012.
[69] Steven Ertelt, “Obama, Congress Cut Funding for 176 Abstinence Programs Despite New Study,” LifeNews, August 26, 2010.
[74] Steven Ertelt, “Obama Budget Funds Sex Ed Over Abstinence on 16-1 Margin,” LifeNews, February 14, 2011.
[78] Steven Ertelt, “ Obama Administration Announces $50 Million for Pro-Forced Abortion UNFPA,” LifeNews, March 26, 2009; Steven Ertelt, “President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation,” LifeNews, February 11, 2012.
[79] Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles, “Obama lifts restrictions on abortion funding,” Reuters, January 23, 2009.
[80] “Obama pick: Taxpayers must fund abortions,” World Net Daily, January 27, 2009.
[81] Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, “ Obama apologizes to Afghanistan for Quran burning,” CNN, February 23, 2012.
[84] Chuck Norris, “ President Obama: Muslim Missionary? (Part 2),”Townhall.com, August 24, 2010; Chuck Norris, “President Obama: Muslim Missionary?,” Townhall.com, August 17, 2010.
[85] Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, August 13, 2010; “Obama Comes Out in Favor of Allowing Mosque Near Ground Zero,” Fox News, August 13, 2010; Pamela Geller, “Islamic Supremacism Trumps Christianity at Ground Zero,” American Thinker, July 21, 2011.
[88] Barack Obama, “ Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, September 1, 2009; Kristi Keck, “ Obama tones down National Day of Prayer observance,” CNN, May 6, 2009; Dan Gilgoff, “ The White House on National Day of Prayer: A Proclamation, but No Formal Ceremony,” U.S. News, May 1, 2009.
[89] “WH Fails to Release Easter Proclamation,” Fox Nation, April 25, 2011; “President Obama ignores most holy Christian holiday; AFA calls act intentional,” American Family Association (accessed on February 29, 2012).

THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE

final-best-days1 copy

Millions have left the church.  This is the reality that Christian leaders do not want to talk about.  However, facts do not go away.  The facts are these: an entire generation has virtually discarded the faith of their parents.

Not only this, but many who were on fire for God and even effective vessels have fallen and have abandoned their faith in Jesus.  A famous Christian singer announces that he is now an atheist.  Is that shocking? The real shock is that the church is not shocked because this kind of recanting of faith is now common.

Maybe you were wounded on the battlefield and did not get up again.  The reasons are as varied as the people themselves are.  It may have been an abusive church.  It may have been an old habit that raged its way back in control.  It may have been a divorce, a false teaching that weakened you, or the gravitational force of unbelief and skepticism of this age.

The most common cause is sudden tragedy.  Something horrendous happened that ran off of your theological map.  You felt that you had no choice but to abandon your faith.  You may be angry with God.  You are not alone.  There are millions in this condition.

The Holy Spirit has burned a message into my soul that I cannot contain. I want this message to get into the hands of as many people as possible.  I have never felt as great an urgency to open my heart to you.  Millions have left the church.

Let me be frank, I believe that God is turning your heart back to Him.  He is doing this on a massive scale.

He has done this before.  Right before the fire fell on Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed these words, “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again (1 Kings 18:37).”this generation reaching up

He is doing this not just because He loves you but because He is trying to spare America: “and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse (Malachi 4:6).”

You are most likely a casualty of the lukewarm American church.  Widespread compromise left her unprotected.  The active ingredient was left out of preaching; that ingredient is surrender.  The power of God to stand against tragedy and evil never kicked in for this very reason.

The Holy Spirit is intensifying His voice to the fallen, the wounded and the forgotten.  While His wooing is loving and hopeful, it does not mask the truth.

In America entire churches are backslidden!  And it is not unprecedented.  Look at these verses: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me (Revelations 3:15).”

Best days insert

Okay, you may have been caught in the cultural crossfire of the compromised church, the toxic church and even the false church, but why lose your soul to get back at false ministers and sick churches?

This is about you and Jesus.  This is about a destiny that God still keeps for you.  There is one thing that Satan does not want you to remember.  It is the one thing that can break the chains of lies and heartbreak.

What Satan does not want you to think about is this: if you brush away the cobwebs of church politics, hypocrites, and unexpected tragedy you will admit that the best days of your life were when you walked with God in fervent commitment.  Those were the days of peace and joy. 

The best days were the days before anybody and anything came between you and Jesus.  You prayed and sensed that no matter what everything would come out alright.  Even your questions were harnessed by a total trust in the character of God!

You have never felt anything like His presence.  Those were the best days.  Those days can come again.  Jesus is knocking and wants to have dinner with you alone.  “I will sup with him” Jesus promised.

I will admit that I am speaking a divine desperation to come over you.  I want you to break, I want you to yearn to come home to your best life, your only life.  There is an army rising up, made of people that Satan thought he had but is about to lose on a grand scale.  Welcome back to the war!

Living proof Yuba City

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.

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