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repudiation of replacement theology, also known as supersessionism, the teaching that the church has replaced (or superseded) Israel in God’s plan of salvation.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 Final Call

Americas last call

Preface By Mario Murillo:

“Near the end of their lives great men and women of God seem to be most outside of self and clearly able to tell the counsel of God without regard to reputation.   

In the case of Kenneth Hagin the discovery of this vision is even more startling when you consider that he was most identified with prosperity, health and victory.   It is unexpected that he would issue a warning of judgment, persecution and suffering or that he would ever say that America had one last chance.

So the real story here is 2 Corinthians 13:1 “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”  God is telling us we still have a chance but that rampant false doctrine, compromise and deception have all but destroyed our desire to repent and repent we must because time is running out.”  MM  

Kenneth Hagin

America’s Final Call

By Kenneth E. Hagin

As I looked to the west, I saw what appeared to be a tiny dot on the horizon. It was the only moving thing I could see. As I watched, it grew larger and came toward me, taking on shape and form. Soon I could see it was a horse. As it came closer I could see a man upon the horse. He was riding toward me at full speed. As he approached, I could see he held the reins of the horse’s bridle in his right hand, and in his left hand, high above his head, he held a scroll of paper.

When the horseman came to me, he pulled on the reins and stopped. I stood on his right. He passed the scroll from his left hand to his right hand and handed it to me.  As I unrolled the scroll, which was a roll of paper 12 or 14 inches long, he said, “Take and read.” At the top of the page in big, bold, black print were the words “WAR AND DESTRUCTION.” I was struck dumb. He laid his right hand on my head and said, “Read, in the Name of Jesus Christ!”

I began to read what was written on the paper, and as the words instructed me, I looked and saw what I had just read about. First I read about thousands upon thousands of men in uniform. Then I looked and saw these men marching, wave after wave of soldiers marching as to war. I looked in the direction they were going, and as far as I could see there were thousands of men marching.

I turned to read the scroll again, and then looked and saw what I had just read about. I saw many women —old women with snowy white hair, middle-aged women, young women, and teenagers. Some of the younger ones held babies in their arms. All of the women were bowed together in sorrow and were weeping profusely. Those who did not carry babies held their hands on their stomachs as they bowed over and wept. Tears flowed from their eyes like water.

I looked at the scroll again, and again I looked to see what I had read about. I saw the skyline of a large city. Looking closer, I saw the skyscrapers were burned-out hulls. Portions of the city lay in ruins. It was not written that just one city would be destroyed, burned, and in ruins, but that there would be many such cities.

 America’s Last Call

The scroll was written in the first person, and seemed as if Jesus Himself were speaking. I read, “America is receiving her last call. Some nations already have received their last call and never will receive another.”

Then, in larger print it said, “THE TIME OF THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND This statement was repeated four or five times. Jesus also said this was the last great revival. He went on to say, “All the gifts of the Spirit will be in operation in the Church in these last days, and the Church will do greater things than even the Early Church did. It will have greater power, signs, and wonders than were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.”

I Believe in Visions we have seen and experienced many healings, but we will now behold amazing miracles that have not been seen before. Jesus continued, “More and more miracles will be performed in the last days which are just ahead, for it is time for the gift of the working of miracles to be more in prominence. We now have entered into the era of the miraculous.

“Many of my own people will not accept the moving of my Spirit, and will turn back and will not be ready to meet Me at my coming. Many will be deceived by false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. But follow the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and Me, and you will not be deceived. I am gathering my own together and am preparing them, for the time is short.”

There were several other exhortations to watchfulness, to awaken and pray, and not to be deceived. Then I read, “As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be. As I spoke to Noah and said, ‘For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth

‘ [Gen. 7:4], so today I am speaking and giving America her last warning and call to repentance, and the time that is left is comparable to the last seven days of Noah’s time.”

‘Judgment Is Coming.’ “Warn this generation, as did Noah his generation, for judgment is about to fall. And these sayings shall be fulfilled filled shortly, for I am coming soon.” Jesus repeated, “This is the last revival. I am preparing my people for my coming. Judgment is coming, but I will call my people away, even unto Myself, before the worst shall come. But be thou faithful; watch and pray, for the time of the end of all things is at hand.”

Coming Sunday August 9th at 7 PM!

The William Branham tease

Kenneth Hagin’s vision of America’s Final Call

Preface By Mario Murillo:

“Near the end of their lives great men of God seem to be most outside of self and clearly able to tell the counsel of God without regard to reputation.   Steve Hill, David Wilkerson and Kenneth Hagin were from three distinctly different camps of the Body of Christ and yet they all saw the same judgment coming to America.

In the case of Kenneth Hagin the discovery of this vision is even more startling when you consider that he was most identified with prosperity, health and victory.   It is unexpected that he would issue a warning of judgment, persecution and suffering or that he would ever say that America had one last chance.

So the real story here is 2 Corinthians 13:1 “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”  God is telling us we still have a chance but that rampant false doctrine, compromise and deception have all but destroyed our desire to repent and repent we must because time is running out.”  MM  

Kenneth Hagin

America’s Final Call

By Kenneth E. Hagin

As I looked to the west, I saw what appeared to be a tiny dot on the horizon. It was the only moving thing I could see. As I watched, it grew larger and came toward me, taking on shape and form. Soon I could see it was a horse. As it came closer I could see a man upon the horse. He was riding toward me at full speed. As he approached, I could see he held the reins of the horse’s bridle in his right hand, and in his left hand, high above his head, he held a scroll of paper.

When the horseman came to me, he pulled on the reins and stopped. I stood on his right. He passed the scroll from his left hand to his right hand and handed it to me.  As I unrolled the scroll, which was a roll of paper 12 or 14 inches long, he said, “Take and read.” At the top of the page in big, bold, black print were the words “WAR AND DESTRUCTION.” I was struck dumb. He laid his right hand on my head and said, “Read, in the Name of Jesus Christ!”

I began to read what was written on the paper, and as the words instructed me, I looked and saw what I had just read about. First I read about thousands upon thousands of men in uniform. Then I looked and saw these men marching, wave after wave of soldiers marching as to war. I looked in the direction they were going, and as far as I could see there were thousands of men marching.

I turned to read the scroll again, and then looked and saw what I had just read about. I saw many women —old women with snowy white hair, middle-aged women, young women, and teenagers. Some of the younger ones held babies in their arms. All of the women were bowed together in sorrow and were weeping profusely. Those who did not carry babies held their hands on their stomachs as they bowed over and wept. Tears flowed from their eyes like water.

I looked at the scroll again, and again I looked to see what I had read about. I saw the skyline of a large city. Looking closer, I saw the skyscrapers were burned-out hulls. Portions of the city lay in ruins. It was not written that just one city would be destroyed, burned, and in ruins, but that there would be many such cities.

 America’s Last Call

The scroll was written in the first person, and seemed as if Jesus Himself were speaking. I read, “America is receiving her last call. Some nations already have received their last call and never will receive another.”

Then, in larger print it said, “THE TIME OF THE END OF ALL THINGS IS AT HAND This statement was repeated four or five times. Jesus also said this was the last great revival. He went on to say, “All the gifts of the Spirit will be in operation in the Church in these last days, and the Church will do greater things than even the Early Church did. It will have greater power, signs, and wonders than were recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.”

I Believe in Visions we have seen and experienced many healings, but we will now behold amazing miracles that have not been seen before. Jesus continued, “More and more miracles will be performed in the last days which are just ahead, for it is time for the gift of the working of miracles to be more in prominence. We now have entered into the era of the miraculous.

“Many of my own people will not accept the moving of my Spirit, and will turn back and will not be ready to meet Me at my coming. Many will be deceived by false prophets and miracles of satanic origin. But follow the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and Me, and you will not be deceived. I am gathering my own together and am preparing them, for the time is short.”

There were several other exhortations to watchfulness, to awaken and pray, and not to be deceived. Then I read, “As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Man be. As I spoke to Noah and said, ‘For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth

‘ [Gen. 7:4], so today I am speaking and giving America her last warning and call to repentance, and the time that is left is comparable to the last seven days of Noah’s time.”

‘Judgment Is Coming.’ “Warn this generation, as did Noah his generation, for judgment is about to fall. And these sayings shall be fulfilled filled shortly, for I am coming soon.” Jesus repeated, “This is the last revival. I am preparing my people for my coming. Judgment is coming, but I will call my people away, even unto Myself, before the worst shall come. But be thou faithful; watch and pray, for the time of the end of all things is at hand.”

Barack Obama Is Not a Christian in Any Meaningful Way

charade

Barack Obama Is Not a Christian in Any Meaningful Way

By: Erick Erickson (Diary) | February 6th, 2015 at 04:30 AM | 106

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Barack Obama is not, in any meaningful way, a Christian and I am not sure he needs to continue the charade. With no more elections for him, he might as well come out as the atheist/agnostic that he is.1 He took his first step in doing so yesterday in a speech reeking with contempt for faith in general and Christianity in particular.

Saying that violent acts are not representative of Islam, the President then attacked Christians for the Crusades (started as a response to Islamic invasion), the Inquisition (a Catholic thing, not us Protestants), slavery (abolished thanks to Christians), and Jim Crow (Dr. King also had a “Reverend” in front of his name).

Despite the interpretations and defenses of the President on what he meant, he gave away the game with a bit of the speech not given nearly as much play in the media. From the transcript:

I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.

Christ said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Christ himself is truth. When we possess Christ, we possess truth. The President is a moral relativist. It was clear in his whole speech. He cannot condemn and attack ISIS as he should because in his mind what is truth? Truth is a nebulous concept with our post-modern President. With truth a nebulous concept, right and wrong are too.

We know God cares about everyone. We know Christ came to die for sinners. But Christians know Christ is truth itself. To have truth, we must have Christ. To suggest that everyone can have some version of God and some version of truth is worldly babbling, not Christianity.

The President followed up those words with these:

And so, as people of faith, we are summoned to push back against those who try to distort our religion — any religion — for their own nihilistic ends.

I agree.

So I wish the President would stop professing himself to be a Christian if he is not going to proclaim Christ as truth and the only way to salvation. The “all paths” nonsense and moral equivalence might fit in with the present age, but the present age does not really fit with Christ.

And as for doubts on whether I’m right, “the starting point of faith is some doubt” in my ability to save myself, not in whether I’m right. I know I’m a sinner. I know I cannot save myself. I have no doubt that Christ is the only way. It’s not that I’m right, but that Christ is right. So, Mr. President, get off your own high horse.

OBAMA AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST: ’PEOPLE COMMITTED TERRIBLE DEEDS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST’

OBAMA AT NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST: ’PEOPLE COMMITTED TERRIBLE DEEDS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST’

At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama reminded attendees that violence rooted in religion isn’t exclusive to Islam, but has been carried out by Christians as well.

Obama said that even though religion is a source for good around the world, there will always be people willing to “hijack religion for their own murderous ends.”

“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Obama also denounced Islamic State terrorists for professing to stand up for Islam when they were actually “betraying it.”

“We see ISIL, a brutal vicious death cult that in the name of religion carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism,” he said criticizing them for “claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.”

In a weak and disingenuous way Barrack Obama tried to say that Christianity is as violent as Islam.  What you and every other sane person should see is that this is an attempt to hide the facts about true Islam.   Obama is trying to defend Islam period.

A close and objective observation will show that when Christians are violent they are not Christian at all.  They violate Christ.   A similar look at the Koran reveals the core value of deception, use of force  and punishment by death for those who leave Islam.

So the issue is not the mistakes a religion has made in its history but what is its core beliefs.  Islam is violent at its core and our president endangers us when he allows his bias toward Islam to tell lies.

Franklin Graham:

Mr. President—followers of a peaceful religion do not cut off the heads of innocent people in the barbaric fashion the world has watched recently.

Mr. President—believers in a peaceful religion do not kidnap 300 young schoolgirls as Boko Haram did in northeastern Nigeria in April and reportedly [sell] them to men to be sex slaves.

Mr. President—men who practice a peaceful religion do not detonate bombs on an American street during a marathon race to kill and maim innocent people.

Mr. President—no one who belongs to a peaceful religion would even consider hijacking jet airliners and flying them into buildings occupied by thousands of innocent people beginning their workday, as happened in this country and in this city on 9/11.

Mr. President—no peaceful religion would tolerate, let alone practice, female circumcision, require a woman to have her husband’s permission to leave her home and take up employment, and restrict her ability to receive justice in the case of sex crimes.

Mr. President—a peaceful religion would not condone and allow a father to drown a daughter in a swimming pool in front of the family in the name of family honor because she might have stayed out late in the evening with her boyfriend.

Mr. President—why haven’t the 3.5 million Muslims in North America rejected this gross, barbaric and despicable behavior by their fellow Muslims on American soil?

And that is Graham’s question left unanswered. He adds: “Why haven’t many, if not most, of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world condemned these violent crimes against innocent humanity as they have occurred? Why would 23 percent of the world’s population stand by and allow their fellow Muslims to define them by violent behavior if this is truly a religion of peace?”

Christians, Graham affirms, “quickly and unanimously rise together to condemn” violent acts in the name of Christianity. “I cannot recall a single instance of violent behavior supposedly done in the name of Christianity that was not immediately repudiated by the Christian community.”

Read these verses from the Quran yourself:

The Quran:

Quran (2:191-193)“And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…

but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful.   And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone.  But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)”  (Translation is from the Noble Quran)  The historical context of this passage is not defensive warfare, since Muhammad and his Muslims had just relocated to Medina and were not under attack by their Meccan adversaries.  In fact, the verses urge offensive warfare, in that Muslims are to drive Meccans out of their own city (which they later did).  The use of the word “persecution” by some Muslim translators is thus disingenuous (the actual Muslim words for persecution – “idtihad” – and oppression – a variation of “z-l-m” – do not appear in the verse).  The actual Arabic comes from “fitna” which can mean disbelief, or the disorder that results from unbelief or temptation.  Taken as a whole, the context makes clear that violence is being authorized until “religion is for Allah” – ie. unbelievers desist in their unbelief.

Quran (2:244)“Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

Quran (2:216)Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”  Not only does this verse establish that violence can be virtuous, but it also contradicts the myth that fighting is intended only in self-defense, since the audience was obviously not under attack at the time.  From the Hadith, we know that this verse was narrated at a time that Muhammad was actually trying to motivate his people into raiding merchant caravans for loot.

Quran (3:56)“As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (3:151)“Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.  This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

Quran (4:74)“Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”  The martyrs of Islam are unlike the early Christians, who were led meekly to the slaughter.  These Muslims are killed in battle as they attempt to inflict death and destruction for the cause of Allah.  This is the theological basis for today’s suicide bombers.

Quran (4:76)“Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

Quran (4:89)“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

Quran (4:95)“Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-”  This passage criticizes “peaceful” Muslims who do not join in the violence, letting them know that they are less worthy in Allah’s eyes.  It also demolishes the modern myth that “Jihad” doesn’t mean holy war in the Quran, but rather a spiritual struggle.  Not only is the Arabic word used in this passage, but it is clearly not referring to anything spiritual, since the physically disabled are given exemption.  (The Hadith reveals the context of the passage to be in response to a blind man’s protest that he is unable to engage in Jihad and this is reflected in other translations of the verse).

Quran (4:104)“And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”  Is pursuing an injured and retreating enemy really an act of self-defense?

Quran (5:33)“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”  No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

Quran (8:15)“O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

Quran (8:39)“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”  Some translations interpret “fitna” as “persecution”, but the traditional understanding of this word is not supported by the historical context (See notes for  2:193).  The Meccans were simply refusing Muhammad access to their city during Haj.  Other Muslims were allowed to travel there – just not as an armed group, since Muhammad had declared war on Mecca prior to his eviction.  The Meccans were also acting in defense of their religion, since it was Muhammad’s intention to destroy their idols and establish Islam by force (which he later did).  Hence the critical part of this verse is to fight until “religion is only for Allah”, meaning that the true justification of violence was the unbelief of the opposition.  According to the Sira (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 324) Muhammad further explains that “Allah must have no rivals.”

Quran (8:57)“If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.”

Quran (8:67)“It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…

Quran (8:59-60)“And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape.  Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”

Quran (8:65)“O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight…”

Quran (9:5)“So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”  According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam (prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars).  This popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well, since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack.  Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months).  The historical context is Mecca after the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat.  Once the Muslims had the power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.

Quran (9:14)“Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.”Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, but it is ordered as a means of carrying out his punishment and even “healing” the hearts of Muslims.

Quran (9:20)“Those who believe, and have left their homes and striven with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.”  The Arabic word interpreted as “striving” in this verse is the same root as “Jihad”.  The context is obviously holy war.

Quran (9:29)“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”  “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews.  According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status.  This was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years.  Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

Quran (9:30)“And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

Quran (9:38-39)“O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place.”  This is a warning to those who refuse to fight, that they will be punished with Hell.

Quran (9:41)“Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.”  See also the verse that follows (9:42) – “If there had been immediate gain (in sight), and the journey easy, they would (all) without doubt have followed thee, but the distance was long, (and weighed) on them”  This contradicts the myth that Muslims are to fight only in self-defense, since the wording implies that battle will be waged a long distance from home (in another country and on Christian soil, in this case, according to the historians).

Quran (9:73)“O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.”  Dehumanizing those who reject Islam, by reminding Muslims that unbelievers are merely firewood for Hell, makes it easier to justify slaughter.  It also explains why today’s devout Muslims have little regard for those outside the faith.

Quran (9:88)“But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

Quran (9:111)“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”  How does the Quran define a true believer?

Quran (9:123)“O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

Quran (17:16)“And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.”  Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is “utter destruction.”  (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).

Quran (18:65-81) – This parable lays the theological groundwork for honor killings, in which a family member is murdered because they brought shame to the family, either through apostasy or perceived moral indiscretion.  The story (which is not found in any Jewish or Christian source) tells of Moses encountering a man with “special knowledge” who does things which don’t seem to make sense on the surface, but are then justified according to later explanation.  One such action is to murder a youth for no apparent reason (74).  However, the wise man later explains that it was feared that the boy would “grieve” his parents by “disobedience and ingratitude.”  He was killed so that Allah could provide them a ‘better’ son.  (Note: This is one reason why honor killing is sanctioned by Sharia.  Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Saliq) says that punishment for murder is not applicable when a parent or grandparent kills their offspring (o.1.1-2).)

Quran (21:44)“We gave the good things of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them; See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders? Is it then they who will win?”

Quran (25:52)“Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…”   “Strive against” is Jihad – obviously not in the personal context.  It’s also significant to point out that this is a Meccan verse.

Quran (33:60-62)“If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while.  Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”   This passage sanctions the slaughter (rendered “merciless” and “horrible murder” in other translations) against three groups: Hypocrites (Muslims who refuse to “fight in the way of Allah” (3:167) and hence don’t act as Muslims should), those with “diseased hearts” (which include Jews and Christians 5:51-52), and “alarmists” or “agitators who include those who merely speak out against Islam, according to Muhammad’s biographers.  It is worth noting that the victims are to be sought out by Muslims, which is what today’s terrorists do.  If this passage is meant merely to apply to the city of Medina, then it is unclear why it is included in Allah’s eternal word to Muslim generations.

Quran (47:3-4)“Those who disbelieve follow falsehood, while those who believe follow the truth from their Lord… So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives)… If it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost.”  Those who reject Allah are to be killed in Jihad.  The wounded are to be held captive for ransom.  The only reason Allah doesn’t do the dirty work himself is to to test the faithfulness of Muslims.  Those who kill pass the test.

Quran (47:35)“Be not weary and faint-hearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost (Shakir: “have the upper hand”) for Allah is with you,” 

Quran (48:17)“There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war). And whoso obeyeth Allah and His messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow; and whoso turneth back, him will He punish with a painful doom.”  Contemporary apologists sometimes claim that Jihad means ‘spiritual struggle.’  Is so, then why are the blind, lame and sick exempted?  This verse also says that those who do not fight will suffer torment in hell.

Quran (48:29)“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves”  Islam is not about treating everyone equally.  There are two very distinct standards that are applied based on religious status.  Also the word used for ‘hard’ or ‘ruthless’ in this verse shares the same root as the word translated as ‘painful’ or severe’ in verse 16.

Quran (61:4)“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way”  Religion of Peace, indeed! The verse explicitly refers to “battle array” meaning that it is speaking of physical conflict.  This is followed by (61:9): “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.”  (See next verse, below).  Infidels who resist Islamic rule are to be fought.

Quran (61:10-12)“O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment. That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad ), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know! (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwelling in Gardens of ‘Adn – Eternity [‘Adn (Edn) Paradise], that is indeed the great success.”  This verse refers to physical battle in order to make Islam victorious over other religions (see above).  It uses the Arabic word, Jihad.

Quran (66:9)“O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.”  The root word of “Jihad” is used again here.  The context is clearly holy war, and the scope of violence is broadened to include “hypocrites” – those who call themselves Muslims but do not act as such.

A final world:  Even bill Maher knows the differnece between Islam and Christianity

Bill Maher responds to Charlie Rose’s comment that Christianity is also violent:

ROSE: A vast number of Christians too.

MAHER: No, that’s not true. Not true. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians —

ROSE: I agree with that —

MAHER: — do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does ISIS do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren’t just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No.

ROSE: No.

MAHER: But most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think.

ROSE: How do you know that?

MAHER: They do. First of all they say it. They shout it.

ROSE: Vast majorities of Muslims say that?

MAHER: Absolutely. There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago — 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion. I’m sure you know these things.

ROSE: Well I do. But I don’t believe —

MAHER: So to claim that this religion is like other religions is just naive and plain wrong. It is not like other religious. The New York Times pointed out in an op-ed a couple weeks ago that in Saudi Arabia just since August 4th, they think it was, they have beheaded 19 people. Most for non-violent crimes including homosexuality.

Franklin Graham:

Maher vs. Charlie Rose: To Claim Islam Is Like Other Religions Is Naive And Plain Wrong

Maher vs. Charlie Rose: To Claim Islam Is Like Other Religions Is Naive And Plain Wrong

Bill Maher clashed with Charlie Rose over Islam during an appearance on Rose’s Bloomberg Television program this week. Maher, the host of Real Time on HBO, scoffed at Rose’s numerous attempts to link Islam to Christianity and to try to disavow radical Muslims as representatives of the religion. Rose contended numerous times that “moderate Muslims” do not approve of the actions of radical groups like ISIS. Maher noted Muslims when polled overwhelmingly agree with ideas like killing those who leave Islam and stoning adulters. Rose said the Koran does not teach Muslims to do “these kind of things.” Below is a transcript of their conversation:

BILL MAHER: I saw Howard Dean on TV the other day and he said something along the order, he said the people in ISIS — he said I’m about as Islamic as they are, you know, distancing the vast numbers of Islamic people around the world from them. That’s just not true.

CHARLIE ROSE: It is true.

MAHER: It is not true, Charlie. There is a connecting tissue between —

ROSE: Behind every Muslim is a future member of some radical?

MAHER: Let me finish.

ROSE: I was doing that.

MAHER: There are illiberal beliefs that are held by vast numbers of Muslim people that —

ROSE: A vast number of Christians too.

MAHER: No, that’s not true. Not true. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians —

ROSE: I agree with that —

MAHER: — do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does ISIS do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren’t just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No.

ROSE: No.

MAHER: But most Muslim people in the world do condone violence just for what you think.

ROSE: How do you know that?

MAHER: They do. First of all they say it. They shout it.

ROSE: Vast majorities of Muslims say that?

MAHER: Absolutely. There was a Pew poll in Egypt done a few years ago — 82% said, I think, stoning is the appropriate punishment for adultery. Over 80% thought death was the appropriate punishment for leaving the Muslim religion. I’m sure you know these things.

ROSE: Well I do. But I don’t believe —

MAHER: So to claim that this religion is like other religions is just naive and plain wrong. It is not like other religious. The New York Times pointed out in an op-ed a couple weeks ago that in Saudi Arabia just since August 4th, they think it was, they have beheaded 19 people. Most for non-violent crimes including homosexuality.

ROSE: I know that they cut the hands off the thief.

MAHER: Right, okay, so we’re upset that ISIS is beheading people which we should be upset about but Saudi Arabia does it and they’re our good friends because they have oil. Okay. But they do it too. This is the center of the religion. I’m not saying –

ROSE: But they’re now fighting against ISIS too. They’re joining us in the fight. As is the Emirates. As is Jordan. They are all Muslim countries.

MAHER: Well, they are both fighting ISIS and they are for ISIS.

ROSE: Well, it’s not the government. I mean, some of them —

MAHER: Certainly the governments.

ROSE: It’s a bit like today about Qatar. The big story today in The New York Timesabout Qatar. And some guy there is supporting, who is a Muslim —

MAHER: But I mean in Mecca where infidels, non-Muslims, are not even allowed in the holy parts of the city. I mean, right there, we don’t have that example in other religions. They do behead people. Now if they were beheading people in Vatican City, which is the equivalent of Mecca, don’t you think there would be a bigger outcry about it? So this is the soft bigotry of low expectations with Muslim people. When they do crazy things and believe crazy things, somehow it’s not talked about nearly as much.

ROSE: Would you come to the table and debate this with a moderate Muslim?

MAHER: Find one, yes. Find one.

ROSE: I promise you I’ll find one.

MAHER: Find a Muslim —

ROSE: I do believe that what we see with ISIS is not representative of —

MAHER: As I said, connecting tissue.

ROSE: — not representative of the Islamic religion. I don’t think the Koran teaches them to do these kinds of things.

MAHER: Well you’re wrong about that. The Koran absolutely has on every page stuff that’s horrible about how the infidels should be treated. But for example again ISIS says that they should perform genital mutilation on all women 11-46. Would most Muslims agree with that? No. Or carry it out? No.

But as Ayaan Hirsi Ali points out, she says —

ROSE: I wouldn’t expect for her to —

MAHER: And she would know better than —

ROSE: Exactly.

MAHER: But can we really say —

ROSE: She’s been a victim.

MAHER: — women are treated equally in the Muslim world? I mean, their testimony in court is very often counted as half. They need permission to leave the house in some places.

ROSE: But a lot of moderate Muslims would say in fact one of the things that we need to modernize is the idea of the way we treat women.

MAHER: But in this country, if you just use the wrong word about women, they go nuts. And all these other countries —

ROSE: As they should.

MAHER: — they’re doing things like making them wear burqas and I hear liberals say things like, ‘they want to.’ They want to. They’ve been brainwashed. It’s like saying a street walker wants to do that.

Pope Francis Is A Leftist And Must Be Called Out

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Pope Francis Is A Leftist And Must Be Called Out

Pope Francis has associated with revolutionaries and ideologies that destroy human life and living conditions. The right response is not silence.

By

 Don’t pick a political fight with Pope Francis? The title of Rachel Lu’s recent essay and the timidity behind it reminds me of a old Jewish joke.

Max and Moishe are being escorted to the execution chamber in a Nazi prison. In a sudden gesture of defiance, Max raises his arm and gives the guards his middle finger. Horrified, Moishe pulls his arm down and blurts, “Please, Max, don’t make waves.”

Just so all the reflexive excuses for Pope Francis’ dismaying behavior and increasingly obvious ideological bent. Lu forgets there exists such a thing as a loyal opposition. She cites criticism of Francis as evidence of a “war.” A Republican war at that. Doing so, she strays into the same reductive trap set by the mainstream media that she wants conservatives to avoid.

Under the tutelage of a pope who ascribes to himself an omnicompetency in geopolitical and scientific matters, the Catholic Church is at risk of a death walk of its own. Its descent into a left-leaning political entity is underway while we circle the wagons and measure our tones. It is a serious matter when a pope confuses political and ideological symbols for religious ones.

Civil society has an immense stake in that confusion. And the stakes are raised when papal preferences, masked in a Christian idiom, align themselves with ideological agendas (e.g. radical environmentalism) that impinge on democratic freedoms and the sanctity of the individual. Throughout the history of the Church, there has been tension between Peter and Caesar, between the Church and the state. Francis, raised in Argentina during the apogee of Peronism, gives every evidence of tilting toward the state.

Let’s Talk About Pope Francis Associating with Marxists

Since Lu refers to my January 5 article in First Things, let us go back to that for a moment. “Francis and Political Illusion” included a photo of the pope standing between two environmental activists and holding an anti-fracking T-shirt. Effort was made by papal apologists to dismiss the image as nothing more than a visual equivalent to Francis’ off-the-cuff malapropisms—a genial Francis being courteous to some activists.

popetwitter_1-1

No, it was not. And these were not just any activists. The older of the two men in the photo is Fernando Solanas, an Argentine film director, avowed propagandist, and politician. A key player in Buenos Aires, he ran for president of Argentina on the Socialist ticket in 2007 and stood for the senate last year. In the 1960s, he co-founded the influential, radical film collective Grupo Cine Liberación (The Liberation Film Group) with Octavio Gettino, Both were Marxists and supporters of Juan Perón at the time.

Together with Gettino, Solanas also founded Tercer Cine (Third Cinema), a title referencing the Third Word. Prominent in the 1970s and 1980s, it was a movement—a school—opposed to neocolonialism and capitalism. It issued a manifesto, “Documentary Is Never Neutral” that opened with the words of Frantz Fanon: “…we must discuss; we must invent.” In the obligatory style of left-wing manifestos, it included quotations from Mao, from Che Guevara’s handbook “Guerilla Warfare,” and anti-colonial, and pro-Cuba tracts. It rails against “bourgeois values,” “surplus value cinema” and “the lords of the world film market, the great majority of whom were from the United States.”

Gettino died two years ago; Solanas is carrying the torch.

Solanas and Gomez were eager for the pope to declare major environmental missteps ‘crimes against humanity.’

That meeting between Francis and Solanas, on November 11, 2013, had been scheduled for months. It was the culmination of a Vatican conference on “environmental crimes” with Argentine activists. Federal prosecutor Gustavo Gomez participated. When discussions ended, Francis’ invited Solanas and Gomez into his apartment for a private audience and closing photo-op. A cameraman and sound technician accompanied. There was nothing casual about it.

Solanas and Gomez were eager for the pope to declare major environmental missteps “crimes against humanity.” No definition was given of what constituted a crime or distinguishes it from an accident. Instead, the men praised Francis’ slogan for his upcoming campaign: “We must pray for children who receive dirty bread their parents give them.”

The film ran while the pope sorted through the T-shirts and held them up to the camera: “Say No to Fracking” and “Water Is Worth More than Gold.” That done, image-conscious Francis selected the wall he wanted to pose against while he delivered a homilette. It is a disquieting, rambling bit of stagecraft.

The Hashtag Papacy

In the course of it, Francis has condemned 46 percent youth unemployment in an unnamed European country but appears to have no grasp of the causes of such unemployment. He offers only distaste for the vague “unjust international system” we are living in. That, plus a wave of the hand encompassing Hiroshima, mining, and high-voltage cables is presented in evidence that “we are living the myth of Shiva.”

Francis has condemned 46 percent youth unemployment in an unnamed European country but appears to have no grasp of the causes of such unemployment.

Despite the resurgence of a conquering Islam and the gruesome cleansing of Christians from the Middle East, Francis declares that “the greatest conflict that is rising is the struggle over water.” We must not waste or contaminate water. Toward the end of this strange performance, Francis quotes Zhou Enlai, Mao’s henchman. While an innocuous quotation in itself, Francis’ choice of it signals sympathy with Solanas’ ideological tastes.

It bears mention that the photo-op provided invaluable publicity for Solanas’ La Guerra del Fracking (“The Fracking War”), banned in Argentina by the government. This was a backhanded but unsubtle papal intrusion into Argentine politics. The film, in Italian with English subtitles, runs nine minutes. It can be found here.

Francis is no naïf. He signals his priorities to anyone paying attention. You do not have to be a Republican or a conservative to get the message. In support of his green theology, he plans a speech at the United Nations and a congress of world religious leaders at the Vatican. He is preparing to lend this agenda the magisterial weight of an encyclical. Yet, when innocents are slaughtered in Paris by the same forces that are shedding Christian blood in the Middle East, the most he can muster is a hashtag, #PrayersforParis.

The contrast is telling.

Silence and Appeasement Have Never Been Effective

Lu would have us turn our eyes away. She prefers that conservatives keep mum on papal presumptuousness so as not to inflame the liberal media. In short, she rationalizes silence as a means of appeasing media hounds. It is a fainthearted position that ignores longstanding—and ongoing—evidence of the futility of appeasement.

While deferential observers are measuring their tones, Francis drives ahead with a demagogic program which makes the state the guardian and enforcer all values.

Let us be honest. Conservatives are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. While deferential observers are measuring their tones, Francis drives ahead with a demagogic program which makes the state the guardian and enforcer all values. To suppress challenge to a pope’s political biases or erratic behavior is no favor to the Church. It is little more than a failure of nerve that will earn no reward in the press. Silence is a form of collusion.

Earlier this month, Peter Berger reported in The American Interest that Leonardo Boff is an advisor to the pope on his forthcoming encyclical on climate change. Boff, a former Franciscan priest, is one of the major proponents of Liberation Theology, rejected as radical by both previous pontiffs. In March, 2013, at the time of Francis’ election, Boff told the press that Jorge Bergoglio was more liberal than people supposed. His conservatism as cardinal was due only to pressure from the Vatican. Rorate Caeli recorded Boff’s prediction: “He is now the pope and he can do whatever he wants. Many will be surprised with what Francis will do.”

This past October, Francis took aim at “ideological Catholics,” calling them “a serious illness” within the Church. What is Francis, if not an ideologue?