Some Of My Favorite Things

Monday, January 31, 2005

Quagmires in Perspective

For ages, historians have noted a curious fact: military men are always fighting the last war. Today, this rule seems to apply more accurately to the American media than it does to the American military. It’s easy to see how the reporters got gulled into trading places with soldiers.

When US troops arrived in Korea immediately following World War II, they
faced fairly serious opposition. The Koreans had just finished thirty years
of Japanese occupation. They wanted self-government. What they got was American and Soviet occupation, a division of their country agreed to at Yalta, a meeting to which Koreans had not been invited. So, the South Koreans got government administrators who were Japanese hold-overs, while North Korea watched the Soviet Union steal everything that wasn’t nailed down.

Syngman Rhee, the Christian Korean leader in the south, had spent his life fighting the Japanese and the Chinese with a rifle in his hand. Kim Il-sung, the Soviet leader in the north, had spent his life in American exile getting a Princeton education. As Korea’s leaders, each kept threatening to invade the other, and both sent agents into the other country in order to maintain a native “insurgency.”

Chinese Communist leaders, who obtained their news exclusively from Soviet broadcasts, had no particular love for either Korean leader. But America had made clear it wasn’t interested in protecting Korea or Formosa, which opened the door for both China and the Koreas to start wars of unification. All three were planning invasions for 1950 and 1951, it was just a question of who got off the mark first.

Surprise, surprise, America turned out to be against the whole idea of anyone in the East accomplishing anything militarily. Received wisdom in Washington said any new conflict was likely to end in world war. After all, the last two had. The trend seemed pretty clear. So, when Kim Il-Sung jumped off the mark before Rhee or the Chinese, America ignored its own rhetoric and suddenly decided that Korea was, in fact, inside its sphere of influence.

Truman had seen in the Berlin air-lift how effective a quick response could be, and MacArthur responded quickly to the provocation. So, the Seventh Fleet suddenly found itself patrolling the straits of Formosa in order to keep the Chinese quiet while American troops poured into Korea. Meanwhile, from the Chinese side of things, China was dealing with a major rebellion along the Hunan river and was concerned that American successes resulting from the Inchon landings would provoke a major civil war.

As a result, when American troops approached the Yalu river, they suddenly found themselves face to face with tens of thousands of screaming Chinese. In fact, the Chinese armed response was so large that the American method for determining whether or not a battle was a victory officially changed before the Korean war ended. It no longer mattered who stood on a piece of ground when the last shot was fired. What mattered was the ratio of American corpses to enemy corpses. Few people realize the Vietnam-era “body count victory” rules originated in the Korean War.

Similarly, Vietnam was an exercise in using lessons learned in Korea. Like Korea, Vietnam was a country split into two, with the northern communist half sharing a border with China. Like Korea, agents were constantly being infused in order to destabilize the respective governments with “insurgencies.” But, like Korea, the “insurgencies” were not particularly effective without mainline troops to nail things down.

So, as real soldiers began fighting one another, the American troop presence increased. But, though the American military won every battle they ever fought against the North Vietnamese, they were unwilling to invade the north – it might bring the Chinese down on them again. The Chinese, for their part, had lost such an enormous number of men in Korea that they actually had a serious population dent in their male demographic for years following the war. They had no desire to make Vietnam another Korea, and thus never sent serious numbers of troops into battle in support of the Vietnamese. But America didn't know this. So, America, as in Korea, was faced with two standing armies: the native army of the north and the Chinese army. It could seriously damage or destroy the first army because it could take the territory necessary to do so, but invading China was out of bounds, so it could never take out the second. The standing army that couldn't be destroyed guaranteed that those two wars couldn't be decisively won.

But the North Vietnamese lost every battle. How did they manage to win the war? Easy. They captured the hearts and minds of the American media, who had a stranglehold on information transfer in the United States. The American media, in turn, convinced a substantial number of Americans that the United States should leave South Vietnam to be raped by their North Vietnamese brothers.

It is worthwhile to point out that “rebellions” and “insurgencies” almost never succeed unless there is a standing army to back up the rebels. The whole history of modern warfare demonstrates this truth. The American Revolution succeeded only because Washington maintained a standing army and had enormous military assistance in the form of French naval ships and trained military troops. The final victory at Yorktown could not have been achieved without French help.

Similarly, none of the resistance movements in World War II were very effective in holding significant numbers of German troops out of the line. If it were not for the Normandy invasion, the French resistance would have inevitably been crushed. The Korean and Vietnamese experiences point to exactly the same conclusion – the “insurgents” in both cases were only successful because there was a fully-equipped
army standing behind each, trained and ready to invade.

Korea, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq: in each of them, American military forces destroyed anything that vaguely resembled a standing army within weeks or days of the start of hostilities. Korea would have been over within a few months if a second standing army had not suddenly appeared from across the Yalu. Vietnam would have been over in months if Washington D.C. did not seriously fear any invasion of North Vietnam would bring a second intervention by the Chinese.

Korea and Vietnam both became quagmires precisely because political considerations (the possibility of a third world war with China at the center) prevented the American military from completely destroying the standing armies they were forced to combat. Iraq is not Korea or Vietnam precisely because there is no evidence that any standing army will come to the assistance of the Iraqi insurgents. Every nation knows we will completely obliterate anyone foolish enough to supply a standing army to support the insurgents.

American military forces have been essentially irresistible since World War II. With the possible exception of China, there is nowhere on earth, no nation on earth, capable of preventing American military forces from going where they please, when they please, and with very little loss of American life. With the possible exception of North Korea, every government on earth recognizes this. The Iraqi insurgents will never have the support of a standing army. They will never succeed.

But the American media, inflated with their success in the Vietnam conflict and unwilling to consider that this success was due more to international political considerations than it was to their own innate power, simply won’t accept this.

Even though the media no longer has a stranglehold on information flow within the country, even though that media is weaker today than it has ever been, even though there is no military reason to believe that Iraq will ever be a quagmire, they believe they can turn it into a quagmire simply by repeating the idea that it is a quagmire over and over again.

In short, they have the Stalinist technique of the ‘big lie’ down pat, but they have failed to ask an extraordinarily pertinent question, a question that Stalin never failed to ask, “How many divisions has the New York Times?”

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust

Well, it’s been a busy week here in the newsroom. Here’s our lead news stories:

In Kansas, abortionist George Tiller commemorated the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz by killing yet another of his patients, making this his fourth hospital run in a year.

Hillary Clinton, in a surprise statement, asserted she had great empathy for pro-lifers: “Yes, we do have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion and I, for one, respect those who believe with all their hearts and conscience that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available." Hillary’s respect was so profound that she immediately recommended pro-lifers start supporting chemical abortion as a way of preventing unintended pregnancies.

And an abortion clinic in Colorado, in a surprise statement, suddenly started giving a damn about what happened to the uterine contents it sends to the mortuary. When Sacred Heart of Mary Church, just south of Boulder, Colorado, announced that it had received the medical waste from the mortuary and planned on giving the remains a decent burial, the abortion clinic got extremely upset.

For some reason, they considered this exploitation, and became concerned that someone was horning in on their territory. “We are the only ones legally permitted to exploit women,” announced Dr. Warren Hern, in a sudden fit of honesty. Dr. Hern is one of the longest practicing abortionists in the country and…

Oh.

Oh, wait, no… Dr. Hern didn’t say that.

Sorry – just had a Dan Rather moment there. Let’s see…

Hern actually said “Arbeit macht frei – “Arbeit, meaning abortion, makes you free, and since saline abortion was invented at Auschwitz, we join the world in mourning the loss of reproductive rights that was so beautifully exemplified in Poland some fifty years before President Bush took office and started attacking our way of life.”

Ya' know, that doesn't sound right either. Let’s see here… maybe I should check the notes you took… hmmmm…

Ok, I don’t get this. What’s your point in this part? Yes, there are crematoria at Auschwitz, there’s a crematorium at Dr. Tiller’s place and there’s a crematorium at the mortuary in Boulder. Yeah. So? What? You think there’s a connection there? Why? Just coincidence, obviously. We’ll throw that out.

What else is in here? Hmm... What? Well, of course all three places are going to smell the same when the ovens are burning! Sheesh! What color of foolish are you?

No.

No, we’re not doing that. Look, I’m not throwing in that link about the abortionist who flushed babies down the toilet. Because all of them do that! I can’t believe the cops even charged him on that one. Sure, his receptionist was illegally performing abortions, but she’s a woman. We’ve got no right to judge.

Hey, why do you have this in there?

Yeah, I mean the remark from Colorado state representative Debbie Stanford. Well, because it’s offensive, that’s why. Yes, I know that according to Colorado state law, the babies are defined as "medical waste." Sure, technically the parish was doing nothing illegal by having a funeral and burying the ashes. But this Stanford quote is just over the top. The only way Sacred Heart of Mary's burial could be considered illegal, Stanford said, is if the state decided to define the remains as human beings, and "if the abortion clinic wants to redefine when life begins, then they can challenge [Sacred Heart]."

What? You think that’s funny? That’s not funny. Shut up. And wipe that smirk off your face.

No.

No, we’re not including any reference to the March for Life. Barely anyone showed up. What do you mean, what was the count? I don’t know, maybe 200,000, probably not even that. Yeah, well, it may be the biggest crowd Washington sees every year, but I don’t think much of it. Barely noticeable really. No, none of this is any good. We can’t run this.

We need a good story. Give me some ideas. Oh, never mind. You're useless.

Hey, I’ve got it! How about we do a story on how the German press and intelligentsia was totally co-opted by the Nazis, they turned their backs on the camps, ignored the deportations, the deaths, even capitalized on them, exploited them, made money off them as they died. It would be a nice tie-in for this week’s commemoration of the Auschwitz thing.

And I’ve got the perfect title: “Never again.”

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Death Threats from Muslims

Dear Sir: I read your article about Islam. It contains a lot of things that are not true? I have a question for you: is it ingorance or malice that prompted you to write these things? If ignorance, I believe you should write another article, apologizing for making these canards. If malice, I ask God Almighty to strike you with a malignant cancer within 3-6 months. If you don't apologize within five days, I will pray daily and nightly for this punishment to befall you.

Khalid Amayreh, Jerusalem

This lovely e-mail was the response I received to an article entitled Coulter Wars, an article that points out some of the problems in Muslim theology. Now, to be fair, I have also written an article that praised aspects of Muslim theology. After all, their emphasis on prayer, fasting and almsgiving is quite laudable, and their respect for the Blessed Virgin Mary is immense. Still, Muslim theological law, called sharia, is simply an abomination, and it was both the history of Islam and the implementation of sharia that merited Khalid's attempt at Islamic voodoo.

Now some of Khalid’s odd habits of conversation may be due to the simple fact that he claims to be a well-respected Muslim journalist. The combination of "well-respected journalist" and "Muslim" should certainly have been a warning for what was to come.

When I asked precisely what "canards" he had found, he gave the following list:

Khalid’s First Objection: "Children to be whipped to death for breaking Ramadan fast. This false, brazenly false. Children, as well as ill people, elderly people, traveling people, nursing women, and women having their menstrual periods, don't have to fast. (surat Bakara). Also people working really difficult jobs don't have to fast if this undermines their health. Besides, fasting is a private affair between man and God..."

My response: Unfortunately for Khalid, some imams seem to disagree with him, as this story documented:

"A 14 year old boy died on Thursday, November 11th [2004], after having
received 85 lashes; according to the ruling of the Mullah judge of the public
circuit court in the town of Sanandadj he was guilty of breaking his fast during
the month of Ramadan."

Khalid’s Second Objection: Women to be beaten to death by their husband for the smallest infraction. This is brazenly false. In Islam, the death penalty is prescribed only in three cases, murder, adultery (for men or women) and apostasy.

My response: Not according to this story.

Khalid’s Third Objection: Marriage by the age of six is alright: This is not true...No body in our part of the world is allowed to marry below the age of 17 for women and 18 for men. I challenge you to cite a single marriage of (six years or even ten) sanctioned by a Sharia court...all over the Muslim world. You wouldn't find such a thing.

My response: See the link above and this. In Gaza fully one-third of girls were married below the statutory "legal" minimum age of 17. Iran just recently RAISED the age of consent to 13 in 2002. It was 9 (and probably still is in outlying provinces) according to this story and this one.

Khalid’s Fourth Objection: The examples you refer to are not examples of true sharia.

My response: Unfortunately, sharia is only loosely based on the Quran or the Hadiths (the sayings of Mohammed). It is primarily drawn from the opinions of Islamic scholars. Although Khalid knew that, he insisted that I provide Quranic verses to back up what I said. I pointed out that even his Islamic scholars couldn’t do that, since sharia is not strictly based on just the Quran. He didn’t respond. As one might imagine, what constitutes sharia varies wildly depending on exactly where you are and what court you stand in front of. The differences between imams – Shia, Sunni, Wahabbi, etc. – is essentially as different as the differences between Anglicans, Baptists, Unitarians and the like, with no one to say what is true Islam anymore than there is someone to say what is true Protestantism or evangelicalism. What you get from Islam depends on
which imam you happen to stand in front of today. I asked him how he, as a journalist with no formal theological training in Islam, could prove he had any authority to tell me what was and was not Islam. Again, he didn't respond.

Khalid’s Fifth Objection: Sex with a child of nine is fine: Where are you reading these things? Are you alluding to the Prophet's marriage with Aisha? There are different narratives about how old she was when she married. Some say nine, some say 10, but many say 15 years old. So, I would say she was probably 15 or sixteen when she married the Prophet, not nine. In Arabia a fifteen years old...or even 13 is quite a woman...Same thing in Africa!

My response: Khalid, your own sources agree with me and you just said so.


Khalid’s Sixth Objection: Adoption is illegal, it is not the adoption itself that is illegal, it is naming the adopted after the adopter's name...In other words, the adopted child ought to retain his identity, if it does, then everything is Ok.

My response: Khalid, you are not telling the truth. Go here and here.

Khalid’s Seventh Objection: Prostitution to service soldiers is illegal. How could you say that, Islam is very very strict about prohibiting these things...unrepentant prostitutes are given the death penalty. Prostitution is strictly, absolutely and completely prohibited. It is one of the most disgraceful vice in Islam.

My response: Not according to this woman.

When shown the links, he responded, "You are wrong about temporary marriages, this exists in Shia Islam, not in Sunni Islam. In Sunni Islam, marriage is a permanent bond between a man and a woman…" So temporary marriages – prostitution – exists and he admits it. He just doesn’t happen to be a Shiite so he doesn't like it.

Khalid’s Eighth Objection: polygamy is allowed provided there is justice in treating the wives.

My response: So there is no "canard" here.

Khalid’s Ninth Objection: A man can invoke divorce by simply repeating the word "divorce" three times. This is no longer valid, it has to be done before a Sharia court. Because the divorce invoked by an angry man, a drunkard, and one who is not in real control of his mental ability is invalid. Also, the divorce doesn't occur in case of teasing, joking, jest, etc.

My response: But a man CAN divorce his wife by simply repeating the word "divorce" three times. He does it in front of a sharia court, he's divorced - you just agreed that what I said was correct, Khalid. And just because SOME sharia courts require the man to appear doesn't mean ALL of them do, does it?

Khalid’s Tenth Objection: A woman's testimony in court is not equal to a man's ...This would depend on the nature of the case. In financial matters, yes, you are right. But in other situations, like maternal matters, sexual matters, her testimony equals that of a man...Some times, her testimony is given priority over a man's testimony.

My response: Her testimony is not equal to a man’s in sexual matters. To prove rape, her word is not good enough. Four Muslim men of "impeccable" character have to have witnessed the penetration (that’s what makes them impeccable – they can watch a girl get raped and do nothing). So, you aren’t telling the whole truth and what parts you do tell just show that I told the truth. Nothing to recant here - you said so yourself.

Khalid’s Eleventh Objection: She can be stoned to death for being raped? How could you say that? This is a colossal canard? the opposite is true...She should be protected and defended. She is the victim, and her rapist should be punished severely.

My response: Sorry, but here’s the documentation and here is more.

Khalid’s Twelfth Objection: She can be raped in order to punish her relative for their infractions. Again this is another canard...How could say these things? This is nonsense.

My response: Documentation here and here. Back in October, when this hit the front pages, it was pointed out that the only reason the men were prosecuted for rape was due to Western interference in the trial. It is, apparently, quite common for Pakistani villages to order retaliatory rapes of women whose relatives commit infractions within the village. Again, tell me that this is not permitted? How can you do this? Islam has no central authority who determines what is true Islam and what is not - just a bunch of competing imams.

Khalid’s Thirteenth Objection: Islam discourages slavery..and urges Muslims to liquidate it...It was rampant in the 6th-century Arabia...and Islam followed a step-by-step approach to eradicate it...There are no slaves today in the Muslim world as far as I know. (slavery is rife in the Bible).

My response: Khalid, slave armies were still being used by Muslims in 1863. Check here and here.


Khalid’s Fourteenth Objection: Female circumcision is an old African custom..., it has nothing to do with Islam...

My response: The World Health Organization estimates that 130 million women and girls, most of them in 28 African countries, have been subjected to genital mutilation. Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan account for 75 percent of the cases. Circumcision is practiced on young girls to a lesser extent in Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and India, which have sizable Muslim populations. The practice is believed to have started 4,000 years ago before the advent of organized religion. It is performed primarily, but not solely, by Muslims because of what many say is a misconception that it is required by Islam.

It may not have anything to do with Islam, but the fact is, most of the people doing it today are Islamic and THEY think it DOES have something to do with Islam.

Khalid’s Fifteenth Objection: The first dozen caliphs were assassinated, not true.

My response: This is the only point upon which you have me. The first four caliphs were assassinated. Abu Bakr died of poisoning, Umar was assassinated by a dagger-wielding assailant, Uthman was assassinated by a mob, Ali was assassinated in a mosque in Kufa. Mu'awiya died a natural death only because he barely survived a battle intended to kill him. His son, Yazid, avoided assassination primarily because he got to the knife first. He assassinated his rival, Hasain, and all his followers, including his infant son.

Khalid’s Fifteenth Objection: We Muslims are rational thinkers...we don't follow blindly our imams..We have the Quran..the eternal word of God, the Last Testament to mankind...Read it ...maybe you will see the light..like the millions of American and European Christians who have reverted to Islam...

My response: Khalid, you know perfectly well that there are at least a dozen different versions of Islam, all of which say they follow "the eternal word of God.. the Quran". The fact is, none of you can agree on what it means. There is no caliph, my friend, and one interpretation is just as good as another. If Muslim theology encouraged rational thinking, Muslims would have invented science. You didn't, even though you had at least a five hundred year head start on the West. You still can't do science - you have to buy it from the Christians. In Christianity, science developed under the rationality of Catholic Faith. Christianity also has a supreme head: the Pope. True, not everyone listens to him, but he is there and has always been there. The office of Caliph doesn't even exist anymore and will never be reconstituted. You don't have a supreme voice, nor even the pretense of one.

Khalid: Does your negative attitude towards Islam mean that we have to increase the number of our nuclear weapons to defend ourselves?

My response: Khalid, you can barely build one nuclear weapon, much less dozens. You’re Islamic, remember? You can't do science very well. You can’t even figure out how to buy them from the former USSR on the black market. You aren’t very good at threatening people, are you?

Khalid: Is this how evanglical Christians think? war, holocaust, killing...crusades...killing people because you love them!!!

My response: No, that's how Islam thinks. Christians think we have to defend ourselves, i.e., keep anyone from imposing sharia on us or on anyone else. Sharia is evil, my friend, pure evil. And as for the Crusades, give it a rest. Islam conquered one-half of Christianity between 632 and 750. We didn’t call crusade. Islam cut off pilgrimage access to the Holy Lands. We started the stations of the Cross devotion in response. Only when Islam destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was Crusade called, and that was only after 400 years of Islamic military provocation. Even then, we didn’t attempt to wipe out Mecca or Medina. We stopped when we got Jerusalem and the holy sites back.

Khalid: Muslims protected the Churches, they never destroyed any church as you claim. You are relying on questionable sources. That is why no respectable newspapepr would publish your article.

My response: The fact that Muslims destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is common knowledge available in any encyclopedia. See this article, for instance:

In 1009, however, the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakin ordered the destruction of all churches in Jerusalem, including the Holy Sepulchre. Christians were forbidden to visit the Church's ruins. It took almost forty years for the Byzantine Emperor to negotiate a peace treaty with al-Hakin's successor that granted him permission to rebuild the Holy Sepulchre.

Khalid: I have decided to translate your article into Arabic and will post it tomorrow in all the mosques in our area. I will also try to get it published in our Arabic language newspapers. Our peole have the right to know what Christians are plotting against them. I hope you don't mind.

My response: Whatever makes you happy, Khalid.

So, this how a self-described prominent Muslim journalist argues. First, he prays that you will get cancer and die. Then he brings forward objections which he knows are false. When you show him that you know he is a liar, he threatens to nuke your country and bring a fatwah, a death sentence, against you personally by posting your refutations in every mosque and newspaper he can reach.

And this is a moderate Muslim. Just think what the immoderate Muslims would do…


Monday, January 17, 2005

Mercy

Step off the curb in any major US city and think about where you walk as you cross the street. Chances are good that you are walking across sewers that flow with the blood of children. After all, abortion clinics typically dispose of the corpses they produce by sending those corpses down ordinary drains. They use garbage disposals that can be bought at any home improvement store to slice and dice the bodies. Very late-term abortionists, men like George Tiller, employ their own crematoriums, of course, but that is rather rare. The Insinkerator is much more popular.

Those who are Christian are often fond of the short prayer, "Lord, have mercy!" It is a good prayer: short, concise and it asks for that which we definitely need. But sometimes we seem to forget what God’s mercy entails.

There was a man named Joseph who had many brothers. They were jealous of him and plotted to kill him. God had mercy on Joseph – instead of being killed, Joseph was merely thrown into a well to die.
But he didn’t die. God had mercy on Joseph. Instead, he was rescued from the well – and sold into slavery.
But he didn’t remain a slave. God had mercy on Joseph. Instead, he was accused of rape by his owner's wife and thrown into the dungeons.

But he didn’t die in the dungeons. God had mercy on Joseph. Instead of dying in prison, he merely languished for years as the man he had helped forgot about him.

That is God’s mercy: saved from immediate death only to die a slow death, saved from slow death only to be enslaved, saved from slavery only through false accusations and dungeons, saved from dungeons only after years of being ignored and forgotten. We could write this off as an aberration, except it isn’t. It’s fairly typical of divine mercy: we are typically saved from the fire so as to better contemplate the frying pan that awaits us.

"The Lord chastises the son whom He loves" says St. Paul in the letter to the Hebrews, and there are endless examples that this is true. Considered in this light, God loved the Pharisees and the Sadducees more than anyone in Jerusalem, for he chastised them more severely than anyone else. We look down our noses at them today, but we shouldn’t. They were beloved of God, even if they didn’t want to recognize it. The trials Christ put them to demonstrated that.

To this very day, we have ineradicable proof that the Jews are beloved of God. Witness the Holocaust. Gypsies (the poor), Catholics, Slavs - these are all beloved of God as well, for the open maw of the Holocaust devoured them all. That purification, those trials, help us understand what life would be like if we had only our sins for company.

Christ gave the Pharisees and Sadducees exactly this purification. He allowed them to remove Him from their midst. As a result, they lost the presence of God, the Temple, and fell into the aimless, mindless theological incoherencies which are modern Judaism. The theological holocaust preceded and accompanied Hitler's work. Today, as the worldwide Jewish population slowly contracepts and aborts itself out of existence, the Holocaust continues for them: trials, purifications, constant reminders of what life is like without God's intimate presence. But they aren't the only ones who receive these trials.

After so many years, it is difficult to bring a new perspective to the pro-life movement’s quest. It started with the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther declared that marriage was no sacrament, rather, God permitted us this institution only in order to salve our human lusts. This irrational concept accompanied the Reformation’s rejection of reason and insistence on faith. That insistence on faith alone and reason be damned led, in turn, to Voltaire’s backlash, the insistence that reason alone was sufficient and faith should be crushed.

As the two heresies fought each other, they brought forth Malthus, the idea that human beings are essentially a blight on the planet. He, in turn, led to Darwin and the movement for social eugenics – more children from the strong, less from the weak. But eugenics could only be accomplished through contraception and sterilization, so the American judiciary destroyed the Comstock laws, legalized contraceptives, and imposed mandatory sterilization on anyone the state ruled to be unfit.

Eugenics became the order of the day, and contraception/sterlization became the sacrament that replaced marriage. Following the Anglo-American example, Germany taught us that we could eliminate the unfit, but German methods were crude. America took those German methods and refined them in every sense. Judicially, chemically, socially, we implemented German policy – forcing ourselves to forget that German policy was itself really just crudely applied American policy – and we showed the Germans how to do it right.

By the late sixties, we had done most of the work. We invented and exported the culture of fornication, divorce, abortion, and rampant child abuse abroad. The culture of fornication and divorce in turn legitimized homosexuality while the culture of contraception and abortion allowed the medical community to begin experiments on human embryos that would have been considered horrific just forty years ago.

Looking back, we see that World War II was simply a hiccup in what would otherwise have been a solidly developed American policy of destroying human dignity in every way possible. America has ever been a Protestant country, and Luther’s work – begun five hundred years ago – grasps nearly at completion today. All that is missing from the total destruction of marriage is legalized pedophilia and polygamy. We have the contraception, the fornication, the divorce, the abortion, the homosexuality already. Protestant courts and Protestant theology has given it to us.

Americans, or at least some Americans, like to think of ourselves as Christians, and in many ways, we are among the most Christian countries in the world. But we can’t fool ourselves on this point. The Lutherans of northern Europe breathed in the ashes of the dead every day as they walked to church. We stroll over the blood of children as we walk to work. We pray for God’s mercy, but when it comes, we ask why God punishes us. Why are we thrown into the well, into chains, into dungeons? Why do we face suicidal terrorists, a world that hates us, constant war?

Joseph, as far as we know, committed no sin, yet received endless purifications. Consider your daily life - is it anything like Joseph's? Or is it really more like Potiphar's? To be honest, it is hard to find an American who does not live in infinitely more comfort than Potiphar ever did. Thus, when we consider Joseph’s trials and then consider our own, there is only one real question. Why aren’t we suffering more?

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Ten Commandments, Modern Version

The news that ABC is making a new version of the Ten Commandments has hit like a bombshell. Thanks to a careful, pajama-based investigation, Bridegroom Press was able to obtain a transcript of the screenwriters’ actual conversations as they put together what is sure to be a crowd-pleasing epic! [Note: The names of the writers have been changed to protect their identity].

Writer 1: Alright, we’ve got to write a movie about Moses, so…
Writer 2: Wait I’ve read this book, right? It’s by Margaret Mead and…
Writer 3: Mead? You fool! It was Margaret Mitchell and it’s about how this Southern belle…
Writer 1: Uhhh, guys, no, that would be Gone with the Wind. We’re doing a story about Moses. You know, in the Bible?
Writer 2: Bible?
Writer 1: Yes we’re supposed to be using the latest biblical research to write it and…
Writer 3: Well, that would explain this stack of books over here, wouldn’t it? I thought it was just the leftoevers from the desk of the religion reporter that got fired yesterday.
Writer 1: No, those books are…
Writer 2: (picking up a book) Hey, look, there’s some guy called JEPD in here. Who’s he and how the hell do you pronounce that name? It doesn’t look Jewish to me.
Writer 1: Look, no, wait, JEPD is just this theory about who wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
Writer 3: JEPD wrote them? Huh, go figure. So how do you pronounce his name?
Writer 1: You don’t pronounce his name it’s an acronym. It stands for Yahwist, Elohist, Priestly and Deuteronomical sources. You see, throughout all of history, everyone agreed that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, dictating the books to his secretary. But the latest biblical research contradicts thousands of years of agreement. It says there were really four different groups of people who wrote the Torah and Moses actually had nothing to do with it. The strict JEPD theorist denies all the prophecies and miracles in Scripture and insists there is a rational explanation for everything, that none of it involves God.
Writer 2: Well, that sounds pretty reasonable to me.
Writer 3: I’m in. After all, everyone knows you don’t have to believe in God to be a Jew. Ok, so we’re going to have to work in that "Moses was a Jewish atheist" angle.
Writer 1: No, wait! Moses wasn’t an atheist, the JEPD theorists are - at least most of them are.
Writer 2: What are you talking about, Moses wasn't an atheist? The JEPD guys would know, since they wrote it, right?
Writer 1: But they didn't write it, there is no JEPD, that’s just a theory invented by a bunch of 19th century German theologians. They just invented theories about who wrote the Torah!
Writer 3: Invented theories? Whaddya' mean? They’re like, scientists, right? Scientists always tell the truth. Just ask ‘em. Why would they invent stuff?
Writer 1: Because the guys who came up with this were 19th century Germans and they hated Jews! In fact, contemporary Jews, people like Solomon Schechter, called German Higher Criticism "the higher anti-Semitism." JEPD effectively says all Jews are liars.
Writer 2: Wait a minute! You mean JEPD is anti-Semitic?
Writer 3: Oh, I read you - that makes JEPD pro-Palistinian. You know, the Palistinian side of the Moses story has never been told. We’ve got to work JEPD in here somehow.
Writer 2: Yessss, what a great idea! I see a room with four guys, named Yahweh, Elohim, Priester and Deuteronomy and these four guys…
Writer 1: No, no, no, no, NO! Look, the guys we’re writing about lived in tents not buildings and you can’t name them Yahweh or Elohim because those are Jewish names for God! B’nai B’rith will say its blasphemy and they’ll be right!
Writer 2: Alright, alright: we’ll call them Yah’right, Elian, Priest and "Do Her" because like, the fourth guy is always doin’ some chick. Anyway, they follow Moses around, see, but they don’t pay any attention to what he says because he’s a religious fundamentalist, see, and…
Writer 1: Do you guys have an Excedrin? Thanks (gulps it down dry). Look, let’s not do that part of his life right now, ok? Let’s start with his birth and rescue from the river.
Writer 3: Oh, river shots! Great special effects opportunity. Alright, I see a patrol boat…
Writer 1: No. No patrol boat. That’s not how it happened. The Egyptians were killing all the male boys because the Jews were having more babies than the Egyptians were, and..
Writer 2: Well, infanticide in cases of fetal deformity is ok, but what about the local Planned Parenthood clinic? I mean, didn’t these Jews use condoms? All the Jews I know use condoms.
Writer 3: I gotta’ agree on that one. We have to make this believable. Also, we have to send a good social message, ya’ know? So the Jews had defective condoms and didn't know it…
Writer 1: (head in his hands) Look, his mother covered a basket in pitch, placed him in the basket, and put the basket in the river, then, the Egyptian…
Writer 2: ....Wait. Just. A Minute. Bub. You can’t go putting tar - that’s what pitch is, right? - you can’t put tar into a river. What is this, the Exxon Valdez, version 1? No, that’s not green friendly. The Earth-First people we’ll be after us with axes, and I don’t want my friends killing me over this. I vote we change that tar basket to one of those inflatable rafts.
Writer 3: Yeah, or maybe like an Indian dugout canoe. That would be even better. Gotta stay with the time period, ya’ know. I’ll just pencil in "canoe".
Writer 1: Ok, whatever. Look, when Moses grows up, he kills a slave-driver.
Writer 2: Well, we can keep that part in anyway. Maybe put a burning torch in his hand and have him raise a great cry, something like "Power to the People" or "Workers of the World Unite - You have nothing to lose but your Chains!" as he cuts the guard down with an Uzi. The Uzi is a Jewish thing, right?
Writer 3: Oh, yeahhhhh, it is…. Hey, man, that Uzi move, that’s brilliant!
Writer 2: Thanks, man. You touch me…. Figuratively I mean…. No, I mean really figuratively. Really.
Writer 3: (backing off) Well, ok, we’ll discuss that later.
Writer 1: (groaning) So he’s in the desert and he meets this girl and…
Writer 3: Meets a girl? Great! We can have a belly-dance scene, then an orgy. Then he loses the girl, but they both hook up with a few of the shepherd guys and realize it isn’t working, they should be together, so then…
Writer 1: (head rocking back and forth on the table) Fine. Fine. You write that up. I’ll edit it later. Whatever. Look, He’s tending his father-in-law’s sheep and he sees a bush in flames but it is not consumed.
Writer 3: Sheep? Does he, like, have a thing for the sheep? Because if he does, I know this guy, and…
Writer 2: Wait, how can a bush burn and not be consumed? I’m betting there was an oil spill somewhere nearby. That’s probably it. This bush was in the middle of an oil spill. OK, we’re gonna have to write the setup, you know, some guy near a bush and he yells "Oil spill" and then runs because he’s afraid the Egyptian government will sue his ass…
Writer 3: Oh, good idea. And if he spilled it on the sheep while he was trying to get the candle wax going, that would explain the flames…
Writer 2: Yeah, we can make this like a pre-Kinsey thing, and tie in all the … hey, wait, do you know if Moses smoked?
Writer 1: (opening his eyes and lifting his head off the table) Smoked?!?!
Writer 3: (turning to Writer 2) Well, slim, he can’t be a smoker, because he’s the good guy, right?
Writer 2: Well, yeah, but he got married! To a woman! Duhhhh….
Writer 3: Well, ok, yeah, right, you have a point. Alright, he’s a smoker I figure Lucky Strikes.
Writer 2: What, are you an idiot? He smokes Camels, you loser.
Writer 3: (hitting his head with his hand) Damn, of course. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Writer 1: (to himself) We’ve been talking for an hour and haven’t even got to the plagues…
Writer 2: Plagues? You mean like AIDS and gonorrhea and syphilis and stuff? Oh, man, we can write that up as part of this secret Egyptian government plot to kill all the…
Writer 3: No way. No way. Look, we have to make this Arab friendly. So that means Moses came up with all this stuff in a secret lab in the desert, he invented these weapons of mass destruction and..
Writer 2: Exactly! And the Egyptians got wind of it and invaded in self-defense!
Writer 3: We are sympatico, boyfriend!
Writer 2: Well, I guess you are kind of cute. Hey, what are you doing for dinner?
Writer 3: Maybe, you boyfriend!
Writer 1: (from a curled fetal position on the floor) I tell you what. How about you guys head on out and I just sit here and bang my head against the floor for awhile.
Writer 2: (as he and writer 3 leave holding hands) You know, he’s always been into that masochism thing.
Writer 3: Maybe we can work that into the script. You know, Moses banging his head against a rock or some stone tablets or something, hitting his head so hard that the stone breaks. You know, like a Jewish "Dumb and Dumber."
Writer 2: Wow, you are a genius! (hollow drumming sound in the background)
As you can see, ABC’s new version of the Ten Commandments promises to be a real humdinger!


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Angering B'nai B'rith

"First there was Herod, who ordered the children of Bethlehem to be killed, then there was Hitler and Stalin among others, and today unborn children are being killed in their millions." So spoke the German Cardinal Joachim Meisner in a recent homily that created a firestorm of protest in Germany. The president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany, Paul Spiegel, said the cardinal had insulted the millions of victims of the Holocaust and that he was considering taking the matter to court, which just goes to show how anti-Semitic most modern Jews have become.

There are many myths surrounding the Holocaust. Sadly, the children of the Jewish survivors have not bothered to learn the history their ancestors lived. Instead, these children project their own incoherent political views back on their parents’ and grandparents’ catastrophic experience. As a result, we encounter absurdities such as the one stirred up in Germany. In order to see why this episode is the height of historical irony, let us examine a few of the modern myths and compare them to the realities.

Myth #1: The Holocaust was an attack on religion.
Fact:
Eberhard Jackel’s standard biography of Hitler, Hitler’s World View, states "All Hitler had to say was that Jewry was 'definitely a race and not a religious community.' " (p. 49). Hitler saw everything in terms of race, not religion. He did this precisely because this is what the science and philosophy of the day taught. The egg cell was discovered in 1834, Darwin published Origin of Species in 1854 and The Descent of Man in 1870, while Mendel published his genetic work with peas in 1865. Darwin showed how to apply Mendel's work: genetic inheritance became the problem of the day. Because of Darwin, every nation was conceived as being its own separate race: the British race, the French race, the German race. The Franco-Prussian war was a race war between the French race and the German race, according to this theory. Eugenics journals were common across Europe and America. A chair of eugenics had been established at the University of London in 1911. A German Jew who had been sterilized was free to practice his faith. Nazis were only concerned with Jewish reproduction, not with Jewish religion. That is, the Nazis held a view of Judaism extremely similar to that of most modern rabbis: Judaism is passed on through the genes. The only difference is this: modern Judaism insists you are born a Jew only if you have a Jewish mother. The Nazis held that either parent was sufficient to make you a Jew. But, ironically, both the Nazis and today's rabbis insist an atheist can be a Jew, thus cementing the attitudes of neo-Nazi skinheads throughout the world.

Myth #2: The slaughter of Jewish children was opposed by all Jews.
Fact:
In December, 1938, David Ben-Gurion, one of the founders of the state of Israel, specifically said, "if I knew it was possible to save all children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to the Land of Israel, I would choose the latter, because we are faced not only with the accounting of these children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish people." This was not just rhetoric. In 1945, Ben-Gurion and other Zionist leaders vetoed the immigration of 1,000 orphans from Germany to England, even though the necessary permits had been secured and these children were in grave danger of death due to the harsh winter. Zionists also managed to stop another group of roughly 500 children from reaching France, where rabbinical institutions had offered them safe haven.

Myth #3: All European Jews were opposed to National Socialism (Nazism).
Fact:
While the vast majority of European Jews (approaching ninety-five percent) were opposed to both the Nazis and the Zionists, it is generally not realized that the Zionists were themselves national socialists. The prime difference between them lay only in this: the nation the socialist Zionists supported was the state of Israel. Even this, however, was not an impediment, as both the Nazis and the Jews agreed that all German Jews should be moved to Israel, whether they wanted to or not. Thus, the Zionist flag was the only flag other than the swastika that was permitted to fly in Nazi Germany. In 1937, Ben-Gurion stated his coldly calculated politics, "Jewish suffering is also a political factor, and whoever says that Hitler diminished our strength, is not telling the truth." Hannah Arendt in Eichmann in Jerusalem noted that the Zionists and the Nazis often worked together because the Nazis recognized in the Zionists a group with common interests. For their part, the Zionists felt the Nazis were a force that would prevent German Jews from being assimilated into the European population and thereby disappearing entirely as a people. They were right to be concerned about this: natural assimilation was already far advanced when Hitler took power.

Thus, Palestine was the only emigration destination a German Jew could pursue with no worrisome emigration penalty from the Nazi government. If a German Jew went anywhere else, he would suffer the loss of between fifty and ninety-five percent of his assets. In Consenting Elites, Threatened Elites, Saul Friedlander describes the preparation for the August 27th, 1933 Haavarah Agreement, the agreement on transfer of individuals concluded between the Zionists and the Nazis. Note that this agreement between the Zionists and the Nazis was signed almost exactly one month after Pope Pius XII concluded his July 20th, 1933 concordat with the Nazis, in which he unsuccessfully attempted to secure the safety of German Catholics. Zionists invited Baron Leopold Itz Edler von Mildenstein, a man who would soon become chief of the Jewish branch of the SS intelligence headed by Reinhard Heydrich, to tour Palestine and to write a series of articles for Goebbels´s Der Angriff. Mildenstein was guided through Israel’s Jewish settlements by Kurt Tuchler, a leading member of the Berlin Zionist Organisation. The article series, "A Nazi Visits Palestine," was published and a special medallion was cast to mark the occasion, with a swastika on one side and a Star of David on the other.

Myth #4: The Holocaust exclusively targeted Jews
Fact:
Roughly twelve million people died in the Holocaust. Six million of those were Jews. The other six million were Gentiles. The next largest contingent to die in the camps, in terms of pure body count, were Catholics. Indeed, in its first twenty-five consecutive months of operation, Auschwitz killed exactly one Jew. All the rest of the murdered were Catholics. In terms of per capita deaths, the Gypsies were certainly killed at a higher rate than any other group, with the only possible exception being the per capita death rate of Catholic priests and religious. Quite frankly, anyone who says only Jews have a right to speak of the Holocaust or make Holocaust comparisons is a bigot and a Holocaust denier.

Myth #5: Abortion has nothing to do with the Holocaust
Fact:
Germany outlawed abortion in the 1871 constitution that formed the modern German state; the constitution provided jail terms and financial penalties for both the doctor and the woman who contracted for the abortion. However, just as American activist courts repealed state laws, so Hitler’s eugenics courts repealed the relevant portions of the German constitution in 1934. The first legal abortions in Germany took place under Hitler and Hitler both legalized and encouraged abortion and contraception for non-Aryans in every state he conquered. The saline abortion method was developed in the death camps through experiments conducted on pregnant Jews and Slavs. That Nazi method for abortion was used throughout the United States from World War II through the early 1980s.

Conclusion: The legal methods that allow the killing of unborn children, and Jews, Gypsies or Catholics living in German-occupied territory were identical. In both cases, the persons in question were first stripped of all legal rights and declared non-persons by the state. Once this was accomplished, it was relatively easy to legally kill the targeted victims at leisure. Keep in mind that everyone recognized that the Holocaust was perfectly legal in terms of German law. Indeed, a major Allied argument against the US insistence on holding war crimes trials was precisely the fact that the Germans had broken no known laws. The Nuremburg trials, however, found otherwise. It condemned the captives for crimes against humanity, including the notably evil crime against humanity of abortion.

Today, the nation of Israel is slowly disappearing due to the high contraception and abortion rates among Jewish citizens. The same thing is true of Jewish populations throughout the world: none have the necessary 2.1 replacement fertility rate. What Hitler could not finish, the Zionists seem intent on completing. Thus, it is the height of irony that a Jewish organization would object to comparisons between the German Holocaust, which wiped out six million Jews, and the abortion holocaust. Perhaps they don’t want to face what they are doing to themselves.

Friday, January 07, 2005

God and Man at the Tsunami

I want you to consider two things: a tsunami that takes the lives of 155,000 people and the .45 caliber bullet that creates vortices in the air as it slams into the head of a young man, killing him.

How do these two events differ? From a theological perspective, they both have a similar aspect. What might that be? Well, if God exists in the Judeo-Christian sense, then God created all that exists out of nothing. Further, He holds all that exists in existence from moment to moment. Think on what that means.

How God Interacts With the World

If there is such a One as God, a Being whose existence is not contingent on anyone or anything else, then the existence of everything else must be contingent on Him. Since everything that exists, from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the largest sun, is created either directly or indirectly out of nothing, it only stays in existence because God keeps it and holds it in existence. So, for example, if God were to stop thinking about a particular tree, it would vanish without a trace – nothing left of it at all. The existence of the tree might even vanish from our memories.

Does this happen? Those who accept God’s existence don’t believe so. God created everything good. Since He is Good, Truth, Beauty itself, every good thing – that is, every created thing – is a reflection of Himself. Taking the good out of existence would be an evil act. Thus, once something is made, it continues to exist. One or another particular creature might be reformed, changed, its constituent parts dissassembled and re-assembled elsewhere in a totally different format, but that is all. The basics will always be there.

Why does this matter? Because we think about this more often when a tsunami takes lives than when a bullet takes a life. When I point the gun and fire the bullet at a young man’s head, God is holding the gun in existence for me to use, He holds the bullet in existence as it travels through the air and smashes through the young man’s skull. He could allow it to fall out of existence, but He doesn’t do that.

Similarly, when rocks are displaced deep beneath the ocean, He continues to hold the rocks and the water above them in existence. He does not allow any of it to fall out of existence – He allows each of the elements it to interact with the other elements. Whatever results come from this interaction will normally not be hindered. One hundred and fifty-thousand people die, millions are left homeless.

But Why?

Why does He do this? Because He created the entire material universe for one purpose – to serve mankind. Every human person is made in God’s image and likeness. Since He is a communion of equal persons, we are a communion of equal persons, each person a material, created body. Since He is the creator, we are sub-creators. That is, we are meant to take earth, sky, fire and water and use these to form objects that will reflect both the divine and the communion between the human and the divine.

In order to assure our utmost freedom in these endeavors, all that exists must be held in existence. Freedom is based in theocentric morality. The more one does what is good i.e. conforms himself to the Good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. So, by deviating from the moral law man violates his own freedom, becomes imprisoned within himself, disrupts neighborly fellowship, and rebels against divine truth. That is, he becomes less free, a slave.

God and the Tsunami

When we rebel against divine truth, we ask God to remove Himself from our existence. This is, of course, impossible. God holds every created thing in existence all the time. If He really did remove Himself completely from our existence, we would cease to exist. This would create problems.

We each exist in order to be in communion with others. If He took even one of us out of existence, the rest of us would have less communion than we were created to have – He would be harming the good and cooperating with the evil intent of the man who wanted to disassociate himself from God. Since God is, by
definition, perfectly free, it is not the case that He has the weakness, the lack of power, which would cause Him to become a slave. In short, God is incapable of sin.

Though a man may have evil intent, his existence is a good thing - it is part of God's intended design for the communion of all mankind. He cannot allow the evil man to fall out of existence.

But, God also desires to respect the will of the man who wants no communion with Him. How to solve the dilemma? There is a way out. He can continue to hold the things in existence, but He could withdraw His power from the relationships between those things. That is, the power which coordinates the interactions of things, the power which was meant to help man achieve his purpose of using creation to glorify God, might be at least partially removed.

So, this is what God does. He holds such a man in existence, but withdraws as much as possible from the relationships the man is involved in: the relationship between intellect and will, between soul and body, between man and woman, between mankind and creation. He cannot wholly remove this relational
power, of course, or all would be lost, but He can greatly reduce His presence in each relationship. Once God’s coordinating power is reduced, things stop working well together. Creation stops working well. But that isn't God's fault. We are the ones who invited Him out.

We call this "the fallen world." Because we insisted and continue to insist that we don't need God, we got a world where things don’t work together as well as they should. In short, because we sin, because we ask God to see Himself to the door, we get tsunamis. God respects who we are. He won’t allow His own Will to be broken, but insofar as He can grant us what we desire, He will do it. If we desire Him to be gone, He’ll leave as best He can.

So, just as surely as I am responsible for the death of that young man by firing the bullet that destroyed his skull, so I am responsible for the deaths of those who died in the tsunami. The question is not how God could allow this. It is much closer to home. How could we allow this?