Archive for Christianity

‘Christian Warrior’ Accused of Firebombing Mosque is Released on Bail

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2012 by loonwatch

Court documents show that three weeks after the mosque firebombing, in unrelated encounters with police, Crawford ranted about Muslims, said Christians are capable of jihad and told an officer he resembled President Barack Obama.

The documents said Crawford told officers “only Christians could understand him, that he was a Christian warrior that they were persecuting,” and that “you will never know the truth about the mosque.” (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

What if he were Muslim?:

‘Christian warrior’ accused of firebombing mosque is released on bail

A federal judge on Tuesday allowed a man accused of firebombing a mosque in Corvallis to be released to home detention.

After two days of arguments and testimony in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ordered Cody Crawford released under the supervision of his mother. His trial was set for September.

Crawford has been held since August in the 2010 firebombing that burned an office in the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, where Somali-born student Mohamed Osman Mohamud sometimes worshipped.

The fire came two days after Mohamud’s arrest in an FBI sting at a Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Mohamud is charged with using a loaned cellphone to dial a phone number that he thought would detonate explosives in a van near the tree.

Police said someone broke a window at the mosque two days later and threw in a container with a flammable liquid.

Crawford was indicted on charges of damaging religious property for racial reasons, which is a hate crime, and using fire to commit a felony.

Court documents show that three weeks after the mosque firebombing, in unrelated encounters with police, Crawford ranted about Muslims, said Christians are capable of jihad and told an officer he resembled President Barack Obama.

The documents said Crawford told officers “only Christians could understand him, that he was a Christian warrior that they were persecuting,” and that “you will never know the truth about the mosque.”

Associated Press, 5 June 2012

Egyptian Elections: Islamophobes Will Be Unable to Explain this Picture

Posted in Anti-Loons, Feature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch

Of course anti-Islam bigots like “John C. Drew, Ph.D” will be unable to explain the picture below. According to them, Muslims are all persecuting Christians in Egypt, who are supposedly in the same position as Jews on the eve of the Kristalnacht (h/t: Amir):

The picture is taken from the Facebook group, The Official Page for the Coalition of Coptic Egyptians.

They wrote this as a caption for the picture:
دى بقى من أجمل صور المصراوية فى الإنتخابات الرئاسية لمصوّر جريدة الأهرام “بسّام الزغبى” .. سأختارها حتما ضمن أفضل صور العام.
انشرها وعرف غيرك اننا هنفضل مسلم ومسيحى مش كلام لكن حقيقة

Translation: “One of the most beautiful photos of Egyptians during the presidential elections from photographer for Al-Ahram newspaper, “Bustaam Al-Zoghbi.” We choose it amongst the best pictures of the year. Spread it. And let others besides yourself know that verily we remain Muslims and Christians, not just “talk” but “reality.”

But who wants to hear the voice of Copts themselves, when “John C. Drew, PhD” can speak for them?

Pat Robertson Says the Christian Thing to do is, “Destroy Your Friend’s Buddha Statue”

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by loonwatch

Everyone knows the Taliban are just the Afghan version of the Pat Robertson’s of the world, right? Pat Robertson was asked on air by a concerned Christian named “Jenny” about a moral quandary she had relating to her roommate’s “Buddha statue.”

Jenny: My friend who is a Christian has a Buddha statue next to her Christian ones. Is this ok?

Pat Robertson, who always speaks Biblically gave a pretty unequivocal answer, “Destroy it.”

Pat Robertson: No its not. Take it away and break it. Break it! Destroy it.

So the message is Christian statues are OK but not Buddhist ones, oh and don’t respect the property of other peoples!

Pat Robertson: Destroy Your Friends Buddha Statue

(WhatIfTheyWereMuslim.com)

Here at WITWM, we frown upon all acts of religious desecration. When the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in March of 2001 it was not only unIslamic but immoral on many levels. Now Pat Robertson is calling for similar measures, can one imagine if a Muslim Imam had said something similar? As of now there is barely a peep about this. (h/t Critical Dragon)

Members of Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party Took Part in Srebrenica Genocide

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by loonwatch

Golden_Dawn_Neo-Nazi

Golden Dawn

The Greek neo-Nazi party, The Golden Dawn has won 7% of the vote in Greece. According to Neni Panourgia, members of the Golden Dawn were also a part of the massacres in Srebrenica, Bosnia (h.t: HSMoghul),

Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

Neni describes the Golden Dawn as a “European problem”:

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn is a European problem

by Neni Panourgia (AlJazeera English)

New York, New York – By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.

After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.

But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.

So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos. And so do their self-representation, language and tactics. The official publication of Golden Dawn runs articles praising the Nazis and often places photographs of Hitler, Himmler, and Nazi gatherings on its front cover. The members of the organisation have the same uneducated, invented, and highly idiosyncratic understanding of ancient Greece as the Nazis did.

And their tactics are virtually indistinguishable from Nazi terrorist tactics: they terrorise immigrants, leftists, and journalists; they beat and maul teachers and students; they have infiltrated athletic clubs and have introduced hooliganism to the Greek landscape; and they have assumed the role of vigilantes and protectors of the general public. Some of those attacks have been documented, and the Golden Dawn-affiliated perpetrators have gone on trial and been imprisoned.

The history of the organisation is inextricably connected to the history of Michaloliakos, whose first public intervention in 1976 was an attack on journalists who were covering the funeral of the junta torturer Evangelos Mallios, who had been executed by the urban guerrilla organisation 17 November. Arrested and briefly detained, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the military junta in jail. Two years after his release he engaged in a series of bombings of public places in Athens, for which he was indicted. Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

It is doubtful, however, whether the 21 Golden Dawn deputies will ever enter the Greek parliament (legally, that is). We now know that no coalition government can be formed (without a gross violation of the Constitution), which means that new elections will be held, probably on June 17. Yesterday’s polls showed that 76 per cent of the Greek electorate expects Golden Dawn to lose most of its vote, with a large number of those polled expressing doubts that it would even win the 3 per cent needed to enter parliament.

Two questions remain, however, regardless of whether Golden Dawn ever enters parliament. The first one is a question of democracy: namely, what sorts of legitimate steps are available to democratic polities when they face the development of a totalitarian, racist, exclusionary formulation that actively engages in violent acts that severely restrict the civil and human rights of others? I argue that when a state is faced not simply with ideas but with themateriality of actions, then the state is obligated to outlaw them and the media are obligated to report on them. In Greece this is a multiply complex issue, since what I suggest was used from the beginning of the 20th century as the groundwork upon which the elimination of the left took place, based on fabricated accusations.

A second question remains: Why would Greeks, who fought against totalitarianism in massive numbers and paid one of the heaviest tolls in Europe for their participation in the resistance against Nazi Germany, vote for this despicable, emetic, and deeply anti-political formation, even as a protest?

What we need to keep in mind is that this tolerance of violence in the public sphere, especially violence that is directed towards the unarmed and the unprotected, is the result of the state’s long-term suppression of dissent and the collaboration of the police forces with right-wing extremists whose violent tactics the police have used. This tolerance is evident even in mundane instances, such as when, in 1999, the ludicrous Gerasimos Yakoumatos, a deputy and member of the centre-right New Democracy party, wanting to show the Minister of Public Order that he “meant business”, walked into Parliament brandishing his (legally obtained) revolver as protest for his house having been burglarised by immigrants the previous evening. Not only was this tolerated, but he was not arrested and was not in any way reprimanded.

The Greek polity has always found itself in a tug-of-war. On one end, there is a wide, democratic, proceduralist, but largely powerless (and ultimately apathetic) body politic. On the other end, there is a small but powerful authoritarian class that constitutes the core of state structures. Decades of brutal suppression of dissent has relied upon various para-state and paramilitary organisations. Police brutality, hooliganism, and the deep-seated intimacy between fragments of the police force and Golden Dawn have made the organisation’s temporary surge possible.

There is no right, centre, or left distinction in this, if by left one means the nominally socialist PASOK party. All post-junta Greek governments have availed themselves of this intimate relationship, as all Greek governments, at least from the early years of the 20th century, have invested more energy and resources into producing a polity that relies on snitches and turncoats than in producing responsible, accountable, and democratically minded citizens. For example, in the summer of 2002, as the dismantling of 17 November was taking place, the Greek prime minister – clearly at the behest of the British and the American antiterrorist secret services – asked the citizens to report anyone who appeared to be suspicious and dangerous.

A month ago I wrote in the Anthropology Newsletter about the claim that under the current circumstances in Europe, in which the social welfare state is being eviscerated and the destitute are pitted against the poor, the distinction between right and left is no longer useful. I argue, however, that it is precisely now that the elision of such a distinction is pregnant with dangers that the world has faced before.

The neo-cons, the neo-fascists, and the neo-Nazis have been selectively appropriating leftist discourses and practices in order to obscure and obfuscate the distinctions between left and right. Michaloliakos, the coddled child of the junta, uses the term “junta” pejoratively (to indicate the totally inept but democratically elected Greek government, the press, and the memorandum), calls the actions of Golden Dawn “national resistance” when he instigates violence against immigrants and politicians, and has warned about an “uprising of the masses”.

Europe stands on the head of a needle, steeped in a crisis that threatens the foundational premises of democracy, self-determination, and autonomy. Golden Dawn is a European problem, not a limited and containable Greek one. It is a European problem because its ideology developed and flourished in Germany and Italy of the early 20th century. It is not a “natural”, essential, ontological property of Greece, and it is intractably connected to the moralistic and punitive positions that have organised the actions of the troika that put the bailout packages together.

When people are pushed to the brink, ugly things happen, and the troika (and particularly Merkel) ought never to forget the warning of George Santayana: “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.

What Radical Anti-Islam Christians Teach Their Flock: Islam “Does Not Teach” Charity

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by loonwatch

tim-wildmon

This is supposed to be a positive picture of Tim Wildmon

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon says, “Islam does not teach charity.”

It is a blatant lie, since one of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat, or mandatory charitable giving. The Qur’an, if these right-wingers would ever read it is also filled with exhortations on nearly every page extolling the virtues of Sadaqah or voluntary charity.

Tim Wildmon Says Islam ‘Does Not Teach’ Charity

(Right-Wing Watch)

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon today used his column praising the admirable works of Christian charitable organizations to criticize Muslims.

If there ever was a contrast in worldviews, it is with Christianity and Islam. One of the most striking differences is that Christianity teaches, practices, and encourages charity. Islam does not. It is the Christians from America who are doing the majority of the private charity and humanitarian work around the world. Just these past couple of weeks alone, I was reminded by several examples of this.

American Family Association/American Family Radio has been participating in this project with Gospel for Asia for several years. Why do we care about the outcast people of India? Because in the Bible, Jesus instructs us to do so.

There is no such comparable work being done around the world by Islamic groups or organizations — because the Koran does not teach such charity.

Religion, more than anything else, affects the values and morals of a culture, a society, a country.

In fact, charitable giving is one of the five pillars of Islam. Wildmon could have done a simple Google search to find the names of major Muslim charitable organizations like Islamic ReliefRed Crescent Societies and Muslim Aid, but seeing that the American Family Association is one of the most malicious purveyors of misinformation and bigotry in this country, it should come as no surprise that its leader can twist an article about the importance of charitable work into an attack on the Muslim people.

Nachum Shifren: Racist Rabbi Still Trying to Run For Senate Seat

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by loonwatch

Nachum Shifren is still trying to run for senate. He thinks “White Americans” like “him” are under assault by everyone else. In the past we exposed Shifren for being the racist and hate-monger he is in our article, Rabbi Nachum Shifren: Rides the Wave of Islamophobia and Rabbi Nachum Shifren: EDL is the Salvation of the West from the “Muslim Dogs”.

I am not even sure if Shifren is still a Jew, how can he say this and remain a Jew, perhaps he is a “self-hating” Jew?:

… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.

Clearly he didn’t mean to say that he is a “Christian,” maybe he forgot to add the “Judeo” part?

Also see Richard Silverstein’s take: California Tea Party “White Christian” Settler Rabbi for US Senate

California: EDL-supporting Senate candidate claims to defend ‘white Americans’ against threat of Islam

San Mateo, CA — In the US Senate primary in California on June 5th, where 23 candidates vie to challenge Senator Dianne Feinstein in November, conservative candidates were recorded on videoverbally attacking teachers, Muslims, and minority groups to excite their base at GOP and Tea Party venues.

The video was recorded at a “Get to Know Your Candidates” event hosted by the San Mateo GOP at the American Legion Hall here. Dr. David Levitt, the candidate who recorded the event, reports unmasked homophobia, Islamophobia, and racism in the Republicans’ speeches.

In the video Republican candidate Rabbi Shifren cries, “… I AM an Islamophobe, and everything we need to know about Islam, we learned on 9-11! I believe in peace and justice for everybody – but that’s not why they’re here…. We’re getting sucker-punched because we as white – yes I said it! – as white, Christian Americans are being taught that somehow WE are to blame for all the problems.”

PRWeb, 14 May 2012

In October 2010 Nachum Shifren visited the UK to express his solidarity with the English Defence League, joining them for ademonstration in support of Israel and against “Islamic fascism” at which he was the main speaker. Fired up by Shifren’s Islamophobic rhetoric – he described Muslims as “dogs” who were trying to “take over our countries” – three EDL members attacked an Islamic literature stall and were later convicted of public order offences, with one of them receiving a seven-day prison sentence and a five-year CRASBO.

Jailed Iranian Pastor Decries “Insulting Words” Against Islam

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by loonwatch

Pastor Youcef Naderkhani

Unfortunately, Pastor Youcef Naderkhani remains jailed in Iran, despite international pressure to secure his release. In March, we published the story of his plight, Message to Iran: Free Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani:

Youcef Nadarkhani should be released from Iranian jail immediately. In fact, he should have never been jailed in the first place.

Nadarkhani faces possible execution in Iran for the “crime” of apostasy and Christian evangelism. In the face of mounting international pressure, the Iranian regime has said Nadarkhani was actually charged with more serious crimes unrelated to religion, but barring new evidence to the contrary, this appears to be a face-saving lie.

The regime in the so-called “Islamic” Republic of Iran urgently needs to reread the Qur’an, including Chapter 109, Surat Al-Kafirun -The Disbelievers, and (among others) verses 2:625:69, and 2:256.

Since that time, the Iranian regime has made the situation worse by arresting his defense attorney. Yet despite the hardship he has faced at the hands of the regime in Iran, Pastor Naderkhani does not blame Islam or Muslims for his ordeal. In a letter he wrote from prison, he thanked his many supporters and spoke out against those who use his cause to bash Islam.

Jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani writes thank you letter to supporters from prison

By , Fox News

The Christian pastor on death row in Iran has reportedly written a letter thanking his supporters and blasting those who he said use “insulting words” against Islam in what he considers a misguided effort to help his cause.

Washington-based human rights group American Center for Law and Justice released what it says is a letter written by Youcef Nadarkhani earlier this week from a prison in the Lakan Province of Iran, where he is currently being held  for charges of practicing Christianity and renouncing Islam. If the letter is real, it is the first time Nadarkhani has been heard from in a year.

“First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit,” begins the letter, which is addressed to “All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.”

“From time to time I am informed about the news, which is spreading in the media, about my current situation…or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me.” Another passage from the pastor’s letter reads, “I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting the human rights in a right way can bring forth great results in this.”

Nadarkhani also mentions those who have used his cause to attack Islam, saying “burning and insulting” is not “reverent” behavior. He did not specifically mention controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who claims to have burned Korans in April to show solidarity with Nadarkhani.

The letter was obtained by evangelic ministry Present Truth, which operates missions in Iran. The group also had the letter translated into English from the pastor’s native language of Farsi.

“Present Truth Ministries received the letter from its sources inside Iran. We believe the sources providing this letter have proven to be credible throughout this case and, therefore, we believe that Pastor Youcef is the author,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, told FoxNews.com.

Nadarkhani has been jailed since being arrested in 2009 after he went to his son’s school to complain about them starting mandatory Koran classes.

He was then charged with apostasy from Islam. He was found guilty by the Iranian Supreme Court and sentenced to death and has been imprisoned ever since.

His attorney in Iran was recently arrested and sentenced to nine years in prison. He has also been barred from practicing or teaching law for ten years.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson: “Wherever Women are Taking Over, Evil Reigns”

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Rev.Jesse_Lee_Peterson_Women_evil

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

by Emperor

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is a regular guest on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and is usually brought in to be the token Black man who comes on to legitimate and provide cover for Hannity’s “criticism” (i.e. thinly-veiled racism) of the Black community. Hannity also happens to sit on the board of Rev. Peterson’s organization, BOND. (h/t: Ali)

Rev. Peterson is quite the kook, and of course every religion has ‘em, but here he is bemoaning the progress women have made in the US, saying all of the social ills we have today are due to women:


So I guess Conservatives don’t just believe in the “Islamization” of society, but also the “womenization” of society?

As you can see he wants women to be stripped of the right to vote, taken out of positions of power and essentially returned to being obedient, child producing, housewives who obey and submit to men. He even ridicules his grandmother!

Can one imagine the reaction if an Imam had said something similar to what Rev. Peterson said? Wouldn’t Islam once again be cast as the uniquely and inherently “misogynistic” faith that is irreconcilable with modernity?

Will we hear similar attributions of misogyny and anti-women positions to Christianity now?

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, along with Robert Spencer also happen to be on the list of the Young America’s Foundation‘s (YAF) “Conservative speakers.”

Spencer has appeared as a guest on Rev. Peterson’s radio show, directly after Peterson’s anti-women screed. There goes Spencer and Geller’s so-called concern for the ‘human rights’ of women! They have no problem schmoozing with clerics who want to role back the right of women to vote but will gladly try to smear Muslims as honor-killing-pro-pedophilia-misogynists:

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Sexist Sermon: ‘Greatest Mistake America Made Was Allowing Women To Vote’ [VIDEO]

by Jacob Kleinman (ibitimes)

Frequent Fox News guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson drew sharp criticism for arguing that women should not have the right to vote in a sermon that was posted on YouTube in March. The minister argued that women are destroying American society and wield too much political power.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has invited Peterson to speak on his show several times, even after the offensive sermon was posted online.

Even News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, corporate master of Fox, disagreed with Peterson’s sexist rant according to theDaily Mail. He tweeted in response, “When? Women voting is best thing in a hundred years.”

“I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” Peterson said in the sermon.

Peterson even went so far as to associate woman in politics with evil.

“We should’ve never turned this over to women,” he said. “It was a big mistake. … And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees (sic) with them who’re going to take us down this pathway of destruction.”

“And this probably was the reason that they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men,” he continued. “Because men, in the good old days, understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it and they understood that if they let them take over, this is what would happen.”

This is not Peterson’s first controversial and offensive statement. He previously said “thank God for slavery” because it brought African people to the United States.

Peterson has also stated, “Barack Obama hates white people, especially white men.” He argued that men should be legally permitted to hit their wives and expressed a desire to take “all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working.”

During his most recent offensive statement, the sermon titled “How most women are building a shameless society,” he said women are incapable of making good decisions because they get too emotional.

“You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away,” he said. “They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love.”

Peterson appeared on Fox News last week after being invited again by Sean Hannity, and was confronted by Democratic commentator Kirsten Power, who called the sermon “misogynistic.”

“I have a responsibility to tell the truth,” replied Peterson. “You’re on the side of lies. Why shouldn’t I be on the side of truth? And it’s the truth that’s going to make us free. Somebody gotta tell the truth, so I’m going to tell the truth.”

Peterson is the president and founder of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, a group pushing a conservative agenda among African Americans where Hannity sits on the board, and its allied BOND Action Inc. In the past he has hosted a radio talk show and a cable TV program. He is well known for fighting against affirmative action and is a member of Choose Black American, a black group fighting illegal immigration.

Originally posted on What if they were Muslim?

What If They Were Muslim?: Pipe Bomb Found At North Belfast Church

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by loonwatch

The uptick in attempted bombings in Northern Ireland is causing concern that there will be a return to heightened sectarian conflict.

Another bomb has been discovered, this time in the grounds of a Presbyterian Church in North Belfast. (H/T: JD)

Can one imagine if Muslims had been behind this? It would be all over international media, and you can bet the anti-Islam haters would lump it in as one more attempted “Islamic terrorist” attack, but they would never call it “Christian terrorism”:

(u.TV News)

A suspect object discovered at a church in north Belfast has been declared a viable device, police have confirmed.

The pipe bomb was found in the grounds of the Ballysillan Presbyterian Church on the Crumlin Road area on Wednesday morning.

Evacuated residents have been allowed to return to their homes and the road has re-opened to traffic.

Chief Inspector Andrew Freeburn, North Belfast Area Commander, said the device was capable of causing injury or death to anyone in the vicinity.

“The people who carried this out have shown a callous disregard for everyone in our community, not least those local residents who have been inconvenienced through being evacuated.

“This incident will be fully investigated with view to bringing criminal charges against those responsible.”

SDLP Oldpark Councillor Nichola Mallon said the object was discovered during the cutting of grass on the grounds of the church.

She continued: “The people of North Belfast have seriously suffered through the years as a result of the brutality of the Troubles. They don’t want or need to live under the renewed threat and fear of disruption and attack as they have been increasingly forced to do in recent days.”

The Drone and the Cross

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Drones for Jesus

“What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD?) is a phrase popularized in the US during the 1990s, serving as a reminder to Christians to demonstrate the moral example of Jesus Christ.

Though it is difficult to imagine what Jesus might do in the modern world, it seems quite certain unleashing Hellfire missiles on helpless civilians would not be an option, which begs a question: Why are millions of contemporary Christians fervent cheerleaders for endless war in faraway lands?

This Holy Week, Brian Terrell considers Christ’s moral imperative in the context of current events.

The Drone and the Cross

by Brian Terrell, Counterpunch

A Good Friday Meditation

Over Holy Week, the days before celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on Easter, Christians are called to meditate on Jesus’ last days. On Good Friday, in churches and often in city streets, it is customary to retrace the “Way of the Cross,” symbolically following Jesus from his trial before the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate to his torture, crucifixion, death and burial. For American Christians in Holy Week, 2012, news headlines of wars in far-away places must not be seen as distractions from our meditations and liturgical observances but rather as a necessary means to realize the implications of Christ’s passion for us here and now.

The Roman Empire employed crucifixion as its preferred method of executing suspects deemed threatening to its imperial power and to the “Pax Romana” it imposed on the known world. The history of empires is banal and predicable even in its cruelty and the United States is more clearly than ever the successor of this imperial tradition. Empire will always be on the technological cutting edge, from bronze swords to nuclear missiles, with each advance extending the reach and the catastrophic potential of successive imperial powers, but the history of empires is really one single tragic story told over and over again with incidental variations.

Today those deemed threats to the U.S. Empire and its “Pax Americana” are increasingly targeted by Predator and Reaper drones armed with missiles and bombs. Just as Rome considered Jesus a “high value target” for execution, it is unlikely that today’s world empire would view Jesus’ life and teaching with any less suspicion. Were Jesus to preach today as he preached in Jerusalem two millennia ago, instead of a cross of wood the instrument of his passion might be a hellfire missile fired from a predator drone.

While the revolution Jesus preached was nonviolent, this did not matter to Rome and such distinctions are equally lost on the U.S. Empire, whose military, Homeland Security and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force are at least as zealous in persecuting unarmed advocates for economic and political justice as they are in pursuing terrorists. Jesus called for a jubilee abolition of debt, for redistribution of wealth and for freedom to those in prison. His nonviolent stance did not keep him from meeting in dialogue with the zealots who advocated violent revolution. This would be all the evidence the U.S. Empire needs to detain an “enemy combatant” indefinitely at Guantanamo or indeed, to put him on a CIA hit list.

Mouthpieces for the present empire defend assassination by drone citing the fact that arresting some suspected threats would be difficult to impossible- they travel the desolate reaches of the empire, passing in and out of porous borders. When they do enter populated areas, they are surrounded by crowds of supporters, which translates in U.S. parlance as despicably using civilians as human shields.

The military and law enforcement authorities of Rome and its colonial client states were likewise frustrated in their attempts to track and arrest Jesus. When things got hot in Judea, Jesus and his disciples were known to slip out of the Roman Province of Judea into Herod’s Tetrarchy of Galilee and from there, hop a boat to the jurisdiction of the Decapolis. The mightiest military force on the planet in the year 33 of the current era could not arrest Jesus in Jerusalem “for fear of the crowds,” the Gospels tell us.

In order to bring him to “justice,” Rome needed to recruit and bribe one of Jesus’ inner circle for inside information and then wait to find him alone in a dark garden. That empire required a sham trial before their governor could sentence Jesus to die. Today’s mightiest empire uses unmanned drones to find and kill threats to its power with no trial and from long distances. Victims are named by the military or the CIA on evidence that is kept secret from any court. Rather than being hounded by spies and dragged to a cross by mercenary boots on the ground, threats to the U.S. Empire are now hunted by drones high in the sky, scanning the cities and the wilderness, sending high-resolution video feed to their “pilots” thousands of miles away in Nevada, California or New York and it is from that safe distance that the trigger is pulled to launch the fatal missile.

While drones are touted as weapons of precision, their Hellfire missiles and 500 pound bombs are not surgical instruments. Weddings and funerals, when attended by “high value targets” are fair game and hundreds of celebrants and mourners have been killed by drone strikes on these events in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Villages and urban neighborhoods where such “targets” are suspected to be residing or visiting are devastated along with their inhabitants. War is hell, it is admitted in moments of candor and an empire cannot allow itself to be deterred by fear of “collateral damage” from pursuing its objectives.

With the flexibility that drones offer the present empire, Rome would not have needed to wait for Jesus to surface in Jerusalem at Passover, but could have killed him at its leisure along, incidentally, with anyone in his vicinity. If they had drones, the Romans might have taken out Jesus at Cana along with the other wedding guests. A hellfire missile might have found him welcoming the children or at the funeral of his friend, Lazarus. The hit might have come as a 500 pound bomb dropped on the upper room, interrupting the last supper.

U.S. drones, it is reported, hover over the aftermath of an attack and target rescue workers and those who attempt to give the dead dignified burial. Had Rome the technical capability and lack of compunction of the U.S., Joseph of Arimathaea might have paid with his life for his work of mercy, laying the tortured corpse of Jesus in his own tomb. Mary and the women who later brought ointments to bathe and anoint Jesus’ body might never had made it to the tomb; or they might have been burned beyond recognition themselves before they could deliver the good news that the tomb was empty.

Of course this meditation is the result of wild and perhaps irresponsible speculation. I wonder, though, if it is so far off as it seems even to me. More than this I wonder what it means for me as a privileged citizen of an empire, to venerate the holy cross and to worship the tortured messiah who died on it while my government unleashes hellish droves of machines into the sky to spy and to torture and kill in my name.

Brian Terrell lives in Maloy, Iowa and is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He spent Good Fridays of 2009 and 2011 in jails in Nevada and New York after protesting at U.S. Air Force drone operation centers.

Happy Passover and Easter Weekend

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by loonwatch

To all those celebrating and reflecting on Passover and Easter, may this be a blessed time for you all.

May it be a time free of hate and filled with peace, security and spiritual renewal.

Happy Passover:

Happy Easter:

Right-Wing Terrorism: String of Firebombs Against Planned Parenthood Under Reported in the Media

Posted in Feature, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2012 by loonwatch

abortion_protest_terrorism

The above protesters believe abortion is terrorism

It’s only terrorism when Muslims do it, right? Even though data from both the US and Europe shows otherwise, and you have more of a chance of being killed by peanuts or lightning than you do a “Muslamic terrorist!”

Is it safe to presume in this case that those individuals targeting Planned Parenthood are likely Right-Wing extremists and likely Christian? There are a couple of reasons for me to think this is the case: 1.) All or at least most previous attacks on abortion clinics and women health center’s, such as Planned Parenthood have been carried out by Right-wingers, 2.) There are many militant Christian organizations whose ideologies are violently opposed to abortion.

Muslims aren’t involved because a.) abortion is not a particularly too controversial issue within the Muslim community, and b.) Planned Parenthood is not occupying or invading Muslim countries.

Such events seem to be quite under reported in the media. You can bet that if a Muslim was suspected of such bombings the Islamophobesphere would be going buck-wild about our nation being under attack and the creeping “Islamization” of society, etc.

As of now they are mostly unconcerned and silent as the string of bombings continue:

Homemade bomb detonates at Wisconsin Planned Parenthood clinic

By Stephen C. Webster (RawStory)

A homemade explosive device detonated outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin on Sunday night.

Police are still looking for whoever left the device, which exploded around 7:30 p.m. and caused little damage to the building. Nobody was injured.

The attack is one of a string across the U.S. in recent months.

Amid a heated debate over funding for Planned Parenthood last month, the Fort Worth offices of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) — a strong supporter of the female health program — were attacked with two firebombs. Another clinic in the Dallas area was attacked in a similar manner by a separate person last July.

This video is from NBC 26 in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, broadcast Sunday, April 1, 2012. (Click link to view video)

I wonder if these bombings will make it into the FBI’s compilation of terrorist attacks?

There is also a propensity for Right-wingers and their acolytes to shift blame, as this individual below does, calling liberals “Islamic jihad ass-kissers.” That’s essentially what Anders Breivik was calling the kids he mowed down in Utoya during his horrific terror splurge:

Fake Ex-Terrorist Fraudster Kamal Saleem: I Was a Terrorist…Seriously!

Posted in Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

We’ve done several pieces on the fake ex-terrorist con that Kamal Saleem and his buddy Walid Shoebat have been pulling for years now. No matter how much evidence or facts are shown, gullible folks who so desperately want to believe Kamal’s story continue to fall for it and send him money:

I Was a Terrorist…Seriously!

by Tim Jones (MotherJones)

As Michigan state legislators considered a plan to curb illegal immigration last fall, they heard dramatic testimony from a man namedKamal Saleem. He warned the lawmakers that Islamic extremists were sneaking into the country with nefarious plans. “If we don’t pass this bill,” the fiftysomething Lebanese American told them, “we will be legalizing terrorism to be part of our culture.”

Saleem’s testimony was rooted in an extraordinary backstory: He purports to have spent half a decade recruiting Islamists in America—before finding Christ and laying down arms. “I came to the United States of America not to love you all,” he declared at a rally on the Capitol steps after the hearing. “I came to…destroy this country as a terrorist.”

Over the last five years, Saleem’s tale of terror and redemption has made him a minor celebrity among Christian conservatives. Part national-security wonk, part evangelist, he is one of a handful of self-described “ex-terrorists” who have emerged in the post-9/11 era to share their experiences. He has spoken in state capitols, at the Air Force Academy, and at colleges and churches around the country. He has been a guest on Pat Robertson’s 700 Cluband started his own nonprofit, Koome Ministries, of which he was the only full-time employee in 2009. Tax records show Saleem earned $48,000 from the ministry that year—and had a $39,000 expense account—while Koome took in nearly $100,000 in donations and grants.

According to his memoir, The Blood of Lambs, Saleem, who grew up in Lebanon, broke into the terror biz at the age of seven by running weapons—strapped onto sheep—for Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat (who kissed his forehead at a public ceremony, “his breath bearing tales of garlic and onion”). As a teenager, he helped run a terrorist camp in the Libyan desert at the behest of Moammar Qaddafi. He visited Iraq, where he rubbed shoulders with Saddam Hussein. In the late 1970s, he traveled to Afghanistan, working alongside the mujahideen and CIA spooks to beat back the Soviets. A Kansas City Star columnist skeptically dubbed him the “Forrest Gump of the Middle East.

Saleem claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has put a $25 million bounty on his head, and that there have been attempts to earn it: After a 2007 event in Chino Hills, California, he writes in his book, he returned to his Holiday Inn to find his room ransacked and a band of dangerous Middle Easterners on his trail. Saleem describes calling the police to alert them to an assassination attempt. Local law enforcement, however, has no record of any such incident.

That’s just one of many of Saleem’s tales that don’t stand up to scrutiny. (Through a spokeswoman, Saleem refused to comment for this story.) Doug Howard, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Michigan’s Calvin College, first encountered Saleem in 2007, when he was invited to speak at the school. Howard quickly became suspicious: For starters, Saleem claimed to be a descendant of the “Grand Wazir of Islam,” a position that doesn’t exist. Howard dug deeper and discovered that Saleem’s original name was Khodor Shami—and that for more than a decade before outing himself as a former terrorist he had worked for Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. (CBN declined to comment. Focus on the Family confirmed Saleem was an employee but would not comment further.)

A former friend also sheds light on Saleem’s past. Wally Winter, a nurse in Albuquerque, New Mexico, first met him when they both worked at a hospital in Abu Dhabi in 1979. Two years later, he got a phone call from Saleem; he’d come to the United States and needed help. Winter says he welcomed Saleem into his spare bedroom, opened a bank account for him, taught him how to drive, and helped get him a job at the hospital where he worked near Oklahoma City. When Winter moved to the city, Saleem came along. “He had no money,” Winter says. “I had to drive him wherever he was going.” The two were close; Winter would bring Saleem to his parents’ home on holidays.

Winter recalls his former roommate as a devout Muslim whose yarns often lapsed into wild exaggeration. “He could sell swampland in Louisiana,” Winter says. “I really do not believe the story about the terrorism. I totally believe that he would make up something like that to either make money or become well known.”

A cloud of doubt also hangs over Saleem’s frequent speaking partner, Walid Shoebat, another converted ex-terrorist who runs a ministry and whose books include Why I Left Jihadand Why We Want to Kill You. Shoebat has offered contradicting statements on whether he uses an assumed name. An Israeli bank he claims to have bombed in the 1970s has said it has no record of the incident; a spokesman for Shoebat says that’s probably because the attack “caused no injury and minor damage.”

Wouldn’t authorities have some interest in someone who claims to have been involved in some of the biggest Middle Eastern militant movements of the 1970s and ’80s? Saleem claims that local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, have “reached out” to him to learn about “the Islamist mindset and tactics.” But Kathleen Wright, an FBI spokeswoman, says she has “no information that Kamal Saleem has spoken at an FBI-sponsored event.” She could not say definitively whether the bureau had ever been in contact with him. Winter, for his part, says he has never been questioned by authorities about his former roommate.

Ironically, this apparent lack of official scrutiny may be the strongest evidence against Saleem’s credibility. As Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, puts it, “The FBI or the Department of Homeland Security don’t let people who are terrorists into the country and not detain them just because they claim they got the Holy Ghost.”

Forward.com: Christians Called to Serve Jewish Settlers

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Christians helping Jewish settlers cultivate stolen land

Evangelical Christians are heeding the call to help Jewish settlers occupying Palestinian land harvest  crops. They are doing so because the “Bible” says so.

So the Bible legitimates the confiscation of other people’s land, driving them out and then aiding the occupiers and initiators of violence in reaping the harvest from land that they stole?:

Christians Called To Serve Jewish Settlers

(Forward.com)

PSAGOT, WEST BANK — It is a typical, even stereotypical, West Bank settlement scene: bearded young men pruning vines while enthusing about the Chosen People’s God-given right to this region. But in this case it is Jesus, and not Jewish identity, that animates these tillers.

For years, Westerners have flocked to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to help Palestinians with their olive harvest, as part of left-wing activist groups like the International Solidarity Movement. Among other things, the activists seek to resist efforts by settlers to disrupt the Palestinians’ reaping.

Now, the settlers have international harvest help of their own. The young Christians working in the Psagot Winery’s vineyards near Ramallah in mid-March were members of HaYovel. Last year, this Tennessee-based evangelical ministry started a large-scale operation to bring volunteers to tend and harvest settler grapes. They attach epic importance to their work.

God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

NATHAN JEFFAY
God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

“When you see prophecy taking place, you have the option to do nothing or become a vessel to it,” said volunteer pruner Blake Smith, a 20-year-old farmer from Virginia.

HaYovel preaches the old-school ideology of Religious Zionist settlers with one innovation: a sacred role for Christians.

The group’s members believe that the establishment of the State of Israel, its subsequent conquering of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and specifically the flourishing of agriculture in the occupied areas are fulfillments of biblical prophecies. Like many settlers, HaYovel cites a prophecy by Jeremiah that refers to the Samaria region of the West Bank: “Again you shall plant vines on the mountains of Samaria.” And like them, HaYovel believes that the settlement movement will help to bring the Messiah to Jerusalem — the only difference being that the volunteers anticipate a second coming.

But these Christians also focus on a prophecy rarely cited by settlers, who tend to place ideological value on using only avoda ivrit, or “Hebrew labor,” whenever possible. “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers,” Isaiah prophesized to the Israelites.

Basing itself on this verse, HaYovel — which takes its name from the Bible’s twice-a-century agricultural jubilee — has made reverence of settlers into a central religious virtue.

“Being here, we just want to serve — and to bless the Jewish people in building up the land,” said Joshua Waller, a HaYovel ministry leader and one of the 11 children of Tommy Waller, the group’s founder and spiritual head. During a lunch break, a settler with yarmulke and sidelocks came to address volunteers. They keenly asked him to explain why the international community is wrong and the West Bank is not really occupied, and seemed prepared to accept what they were told. “We are not here to teach anything, just to learn,” Joshua Waller said shortly before the talk began.

To some of the volunteers, becoming settler laborers is a way of righting a historical Christian wrong. “This is a crazy time,” said Joe Trad Jr., a 23-year-old college dropout from Missouri. Over 2,000 years of contention, he said, “we saw Constantine and the Holocaust. Yet today, in this spot of the world, you have Christians and Jews for the first time with the same goal.”

The volunteers are a mix of people who, like Smith, had a mainstream Christian upbringing and were drawn to HaYovel out of curiosity; people from families that gave up the organized church to develop their own brand of religion, one they see as closer to Judaism, and some people who are emerging from personal crises.

Trad, a former alcoholic and cocaine addict, went through rehab and became a Christian two years ago. He described his volunteering as a way of giving thanks “for what the Lord has done for me in my life by freeing me from these addictions.”

Aaron Hood, a 21-year-old HaYovel staff employee, comes from a Tennessee family of 14 children that gave up on any organized church and started observing the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible according to its own understanding. The family observes Saturday, not Sunday, as a rest day.

Israel Really Isn’t All That Friendly to Its Christians

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2012 by loonwatch

The shameless Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, attempted to manipulate Christian reality to score points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some well informed commenters responded to Oren with facts:

Israel Really Isn’t All That Friendly to Its Christians

(Wall Street Journal)

Regarding Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s “Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians” (op-ed, March 9): No doubt, his piece will be compelling for many readers. Christians in North America are generally sympathetic to Christians who suffer elsewhere. More negatively, many respond well when blame for that suffering is placed on Muslims. The biggest problem with Mr. Oren’s analysis, however, is that it stands in sharp disagreement with the perspectives shared by those he presumably wants to protect. Mr. Oren seeks to speak for Palestinian Christians before he has spoken with them.

Palestinian Christians have produced major studies of Palestinian Christian demographic trends. Difficulties created by Israeli occupation policies far outweigh pressure from Muslim neighbors as reasons for Christian migration from the West Bank. According to a study by the Bethlehem-based Diyar Consortium, “most of those who choose to emigrate” are “aggravated by the lack of freedom and security.” At “the bottom of the scale,” they found, “are family reunification, fleeing religious extremism and finding a spouse.”

It is irresponsible for Amb. Oren to make political points among some segments of the U.S. population by intentionally disregarding factors contributing to Palestinian Christian migration away from their homeland. By blaming their condition on Muslims alone, while ignoring the negative effects of Israeli occupation policies, including the debilitating economic effects of the separation barrier, Mr. Oren is using anti-Muslim sentiments among some Americans to hide the effects of Israeli policy. This cynical political rhetoric fuels extremism and does not promote peace.

The Rev. Robert O. Smith

Chicago

 

I am a Palestinian Christian, and the numbers and facts given by Mr. Oren are erroneous and misleading. With the creation of the state of Israel, 80% of Palestinian Christians were forced into exile. The number of Christians in Jerusalem dropped dramatically since the occupation of the city in 1967, and Palestinian Christians are denied access to Jerusalem. To pretend that their numbers greatly increased contradicts all statistics, including Israeli statistics. Allowing “holiday access to Jerusalem’s churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza” is denying free access, and those permits are given selectively, in small numbers and revoked often with the “closure” of the occupied territories. Pretending to defend the interests of the Christians contradicts facts on the ground, where Christians suffer the same consequences of military occupation as all Palestinians. Most of the land belonging to Christians in Bethlehem is being confiscated with the building of the separation wall. Is that the “respect and appreciation” the Christian community receives from the Jewish state?

Fr. Jamal Khader, D.D.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts

Bethlehem University

Bethlehem

 

I am one of those Palestinian Christians that Mr. Oren refers to, who live inside Israel. At no time in my life have I ever felt the “respect and appreciation” by the Jewish state which Mr. Oren so glowingly refers to in his last paragraph. Israel’s Christian minority is marginalized in much the same manner as its Muslim one, or at best, quietly tolerated. We suffer the same discrimination when we try to find a job, when we go to hospitals, when we apply for bank loans and when we get on the bus. In my daily dealings with the state, all I have felt is rudeness and overt contempt.

Fida Jiryis

Fassuta, Israel

 

Amb. Michael Oren presents a distorted and inaccurate account of Christians in Palestine. He conveniently omits gross Israeli violations against the Palestinian Christian community, such as Israel’s revocation of residency rights to many whose birthplace was Jerusalem, or the fact that it restricts their right to worship in their holy sites by imposing an onerous permit system to access the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem or the baptism site on the River Jordan. Even family visitations between Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem are heavily restricted.

It doesn’t stop at that. Recently there has been a spate of attacks by Jewish extremists vandalizing Christian properties and spray-painting slogans denouncing Jesus and Mary and attacking Christianity.

Finally, Palestinian Christians are a vibrant component of Palestine’s social, cultural and religious fabric. Many of our most prominent figures in politics, academia and the arts are Christian. This is the case precisely because of a long history and deeply rooted culture of tolerance and integration in Palestine.

Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat

General Delegation
of the PLO to the U.S.

Washington

European “Counterjihad Activists” Making Links with Christian Right

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by loonwatch

Hate groups solidifying their links:

European “Counterjihad Activists” Making Links with Christian Right

by Richard Bartholomew (Barth’s Notes)

The British Freedom Party reports:

On Friday March 9 a media team from the Christian Action Network came to London to conduct interviews with various Counterjihad activists about the spread of sharia and the Islamization of Europe. Below is their interview with Paul Weston, the Chairman of the British Freedom Party.

The CAN interview with Tommy Robinson was posted yesterday at Gates of ViennaElisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff will be up next.

CAN previously interviewed English Defence League members in 2009, during a visit to the UK with Robert Spencer. CAN used the opportunity to invite EDL activists to a private dinner with Spencer and Douglas Murray, to the embarrassment of the two men; Murray’s Centre for Social Cohesion sent me a message asking me to clarify that “CAN asked Douglas to do an interview with them – upon seeing the presence of the EDL at the CAN discussion he refused to deal with them and left the venue.”

CAN was primarily known for anti-gay activism prior to taking an interest in Islam; CAN’s president, Martin Mawyer, has a history of virulent statements on the subject (in particular, in 1997 he denounced Ellen DeGeneres’ “FILTHY LESBIAN LIFESTYLE”), which Spencer initially dismissed in 2009 as “not jihad-related”. However, in 2010 Mawyer’s views were reported in Dutch media, prompting Geert Wilders to withdraw from the Los Angeles premiere of a CAN documentary entitled Islam Rising: Geert Wilders’ Warning to the West. The premiere, which had been organised by Pamela Geller and Spencer, was quickly cancelled, and Spencer affected to be shocked at the discovery of Mawyer’s “ugly, vitriolic… hysterical, self-righteous, abusive rhetoric”.

The British Freedom Party and the EDL now have several links with Christian Right activists. Weston and Stephen Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) are regular guests on Michael Coren’s Arena TV show; Coren is a member of the more intellectual end of the Catholic right, and, like Mawyer, he is particularly known for his objections to homosexuality. Weston and Lennon are also friendly with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition’s Andy Miller (the TFC was in the news recently after arranging for local police to be trained in Islam at an evangelical church in Murfreesboro; the group alsohas links with the British organisation Christian Concern).

Sabaditsch-Wolff, meanwhile, was recently invested as a Dame of “the Knights of Malta — The Ecumenical Order”, by Nicholas Papanicolaou and none  other than Gen William “Jerry” Boykin; the two men are, respectively, the Order’s “Grand Master” and “Grand Chancellor”. Both men are close to the evangelist Rick Joyner, who is a “Deputy Member of the Supreme Council”. Joyner, who receives messages from God about how an earthquake will soon destroy the west coast of the USA, claims that he was introduced to the Order by an “Austrian baron”, and that his books were responsible for a “spiritual renewal” in the Order.

(Hat tip: EDL News)

CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck Mixes ‘Terrorism Analysis’ with Biblical Prophecy

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Erick Stakelbeck’s Biblical worldview muddies his so-called “terrorism-analysis.”

CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck Mixes ‘Terrorism Analysis’ with Biblical Prophecy

Submitted by Brian Tashman on Mon, 03/12/2012 – 5:15pm (RightWingWatch)

It has been almost-comical to see how the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Erick Stakelbeck went from working as a sports reporter to a “terrorism analyst” heralded by Religious Right and anti-Muslim groups, which never seem to question his complete lack of credentials and expertise. But Stakelbeck knows how to please a crowd with his vehement diatribes against Muslims and progressives, warning that they are both have a “shared hatred for this country.”

Stakelbeck’s “expert analysis” even includes biblical prophecy, as he recently told Marcus and Joni Lamb on Celebration that he knows the Syrian civil war will end with the destruction of Damascus because the Bible tells him so in Isaiah 17:1. “I believe right now we are seeing the seeds laid for the eventual destruction of Damascus,” Stakelbeck says. “The Bible says it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen.”

Stakelbeck went on to claim that Islamic terrorists had infiltrated cities all over the United States, including Dearborn, Michigan, which he referred to as a “radical Islamic enclave” and “Dearbornistan.” This may come as a surprise to Dearborn’s Catholic mayor, John O’Reilly, Jr., who called claims that Dearborn is beheld to Sharia law “absurd” and notes that only a minority of Dearborn’s population are Muslims, who have been in Dearborn for ninety years. Earlier this year, a 63 year old man was caught traveling with explosives with the intention of blowing up a mosque in Dearborn.

He later said that while he was in Israel God spoke to him and told him to defend Israel, saying, “I know why I’m here on this earth.”

Watch:

British Government Says Christians Don’t Have Right To Wear Cross Or Crucifix At Work

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by loonwatch

After facing consequences for refusing to cover or remove their crosses at work, two Christian women are taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights. A group of ministers is set to back employer regulations banning religious regalia in the workplace, arguing that wearing crosses aren't a "requirement" of the Christian faith.

After facing consequences for refusing to cover or remove their crosses at work, two Christian women are taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights. A group of ministers is set to back employer regulations banning religious regalia in the workplace, arguing that wearing crosses aren’t a “requirement” of the Christian faith.

So let me get this straight, the state religion of England is the Church of England yet wearing a Cross or Crucifix to work is not allowed? While it may not be a “requirement” as hijab is seen to be by many Muslim women, how can this not be a needless infringement and violation of one’s freedom of religion?

British Government Says Christians Don’t Have Right To Wear Cross Or Crucifix At Work

(HuffingtonPost)

Two British women are headed to court to argue for the right to wear Christian crosses at their workplaces, but a group of Christian ministers is reportedly set to back employers’ rights to ban the regalia.

At the heart of the issue is whether or not the crosses are a “requirement” of the Christian faith.

According to a document leaked to the Telegraph that allegedly contains their arguments, the ministers are set to tell the court that crosses are not required by religious doctrine, thus supporting the government’s case that employers cannot be forced to allow such symbols.

Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin were both told by their employers to cover or remove the Christian symbol hanging around their necks. When they refused, they each faced consequences.

Eweida, a British Airways employee, was placed on unpaid leave in 2006 when she refused to remove the symbol, according to CNS News. She argued that coworkers of other affiliations were allowed to showcase symbols of their faiths. Eweida took the airline before a British employment tribunal alleging religious discrimination but lost the case.

The company eventually changed its uniform policy and rehired Eweida, but did not compensate her for the suspension period.

In Chaplin’s case, the longtime nurse was reprimanded for refusing to cover up a cross around her neck, RT reports. She was subsequently assigned to desk work instead of her usual rounds.

Now, it will be up to the European Court of Human Rights to decide if wearing a cross or crucifix is a right under Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Article 9, “Freedom of thought, conscience and religion,” states the following:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. 2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Lawyers for the women allegedly plan to argue that right to wear a cross is covered under Article 9 as a “manifestation” of religious expression, CNS News reports.

But the British Foreign Office has already prepared the following statement, which was published in the Telegraph:

In neither case is there any suggestion that the wearing of a visible cross or crucifix was a generally [recognized] form of [practicing] the Christian faith, still less one that is regarded (including by the applicants themselves) as a requirement of the faith.

The case has been criticized by Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who was unhappy officials were “meddling” in the matter.

Sentamu expressed his feelings on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, the Telegraphreports.

“My view is that this is not the business of government, actually,” he said. “I think that is a matter really for people and that we should allow it.The government should not raise the bar so high that in the end they are now being unjust.”

Andrew Brown, a blogger for the Guardian, questions what exactly qualifies as a “requirement” of the faith:

Does Christianity demand that its adherents wear a cross? The courts here have decided that it doesn’t, but I’m not sure the question is well framed. You might as well ask “does Christianity demand that you go to church on Sundays?” or “does it demand pacifism?” There are just too many Christianities for such a question to make sense.

Message to Iran: Free Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Posted in Feature, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by loonwatch

Youcef

Youcef Nadarkhani should be released from Iranian jail immediately. In fact, he should have never been jailed in the first place.

Nadarkhani faces possible execution in Iran for the “crime” of apostasy and Christian evangelism. In the face of mounting international pressure, the Iranian regime has said Nadarkhani was actually charged with more serious crimes unrelated to religion, but barring new evidence to the contrary, this appears to be a face-saving lie.

The regime in the so-called “Islamic” Republic of Iran urgently needs to reread the Qur’an, including Chapter 109, Surat Al-Kafirun -The Disbelievers, and (among others) verses 2:62, 5:69, and 2:256:

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Qur’an 2:256)

Further reading should also include the excellent, in-depth article by Danios regarding apostasy in Islam: Fathima Bary Needs to Read Her Bible; Final Word on Islam and Apostasy.

No matter what excuses are offered by Iranian authorities, the persecution of religious minorities is un-Islamic and just plain wrong.

Pastor Nadarkhani, Islam and Punishment for Apostasy

by Harris Zafar, The Huffington Post

Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is currently on death row in Iran for the “crime” of converting to Christianity from Islam. The charges of his initial arrest in 2009 were for protesting, which were later changed to apostasy and evangelism. In Sept. 2010, an Iranian court verbally delivered a death sentence, which was then delivered in writing a month later by the 1st Court of the Revolutionary Tribunal. After submitting an appeal to the Supreme Court the very next month, the third chamber of the Supreme Court upheld his conviction and death sentence in June 2011 and the execution orders were given in Feb. 2012, which can be implemented at any time. Throughout the process, he was told his life would be spared if he recanted his belief in Christianity, which he refused to do.

This verdict clearly violates numerous human rights, which is why President Obama, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Amnesty International and the American Center for Law and Justice have all condemned this conviction and called for Nadarkhani’s release.

As a Muslim, however, I find this verdict’s religious violations equally troublesome. Far too many people — Muslim and non-Muslim — mistakenly believe Islam prohibits freedom of conscience and religion by prescribing punishments for matters like apostasy and blasphemy, whereas Islam’s Holy Scripture and Prophet do not support such punishments.

If Islam prescribed any earthly punishment for leaving the faith, it would mean that it compels one to be Muslim against their will. But chapter two of the Quran — Islam’s Holy Scripture –rejects this notion, stating, “there shall be no compulsion in religion.”

There are at least 10 direct verses in the Quran about those who leave Islam, none of which sanction death in response. Exemplifying the Quran’s principles, the Prophet Muhammad never ordered any person to be killed for apostasy. In his peace treaty with Meccans, he agreed that any Muslim recanting their faith would be allowed to return to Mecca unharmed. Muhammad’s acceptance of this condition demonstrates that no such punishment exists for apostasy, as he would never accept anything that went against the Shariah.

Yet some within the Muslim world argue these verses only apply to non-Muslims, whereas Muslims can be compelled in matters of religion. They cite examples during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad when Ibn Khatal, Musailmah and Maqees bin Sababah were put to death. These were not religious punishments for apostasy, however. They were political punishments for murders each individual had committed.

Death for apostasy had its birth several decades after the demise of Prophet Muhammad — in an age when use of force for spreading influence and ideology was common around the world. The Ummayyad dynasty (661-750) — the political rulers of the Muslim empire — were regarded as secular kings and did not have the religious position of the previous pious caliphs. To guard the Sharia, the kings appointed clergy to positions much like the clergy after Constantine’s conversion. Respected for their religious knowledge, their support was pursued to legitimize unpopular political regimes.

Political and social rebellions then became justified in religious expressions, and dynastic power struggles developed significant disagreements in religious doctrine. Thus began politically motivated punishments (including executions and crucifixions) aimed at abolishing any forms of objection.

While this view finds no credibility from Prophet Muhammad’s example, it has admittedly become more prevalent in the last century. For example, Abul Ala Maududi, influential cleric and founder of the Pakistani political party Jamaat Islami, advocated this erroneous view beginning in the 1930s. He wrote, “in our domain we neither allow any Muslim to change his religion nor allow any other religion to propagate its faith.”

Many believe Maududi’s view was reactionary and in response to the growing influence of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad — who claimed to be the second coming Jesus and Messiah for all people to remove misconceptions in religion, unite everyone under the banner of true Islam, and bring mankind back to God. Half a century before Maududi, Ahmad condemned any punishment for blasphemy or apostasy and any violence to spread faith. He wrote, “Religion is worth the name only so long as it is in consonance with reason. If it fails to satisfy that requisite, if it has to make up for its discomfiture in argument by handling the sword, it needs no other argument for its falsification. The sword it wields cuts its own throat before reaching others.”

Sadly, apostasy and other “crimes” like blasphemy are punishable offences in some Muslim-majority countries today, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, etc. In these countries, apostasy and blasphemy are not only leveled against non-Muslims but even people the country deems to be the wrong type of Muslims.

The good news, however, is that though certain regimes apply extremist penal codes under the guise of Islam, the majority of Muslims recognize that Islam condemns religious compulsion. For example, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community — Muslims who believe in that Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian — has advocated this position for over a century. In this continuing war of ideas, true success is through peace and logic — never violence.

Any attempt to compel Pastor Nadarkhani to recant his Christian faith is barbaric and against the teachings of the Quran. The government leaders in Iran who have sentenced Pastor Nadarkhani to death, do so of their own accord. Quran and Prophet Muhammad, however, are clear — Pastor Nadarkhani must be set free.

SPLC: Number of Anti-Muslim Groups ‘Tripled’ in 2011

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by loonwatch

My guess is there are even more anti-Muslim hate groups then reported:

SPLC reports growth of US hate groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center has published the Spring 2012 issue of its Intelligence Report, on “The Year in Hate and Extremism 2011″, which identifies a continued growth in the number of hate groups operating in the United States.

In “The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes” Mark Potok states: “The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years.” Potok writes:

The number of anti-Muslim groups tripled in 2011, jumping from 10 groups in 2010 to 30 last year. That rapid growth in Islamophobia, marked by the vilification of Muslims by opportunistic politicians and anti-Muslim activists, began in August 2010, when controversy over a planned Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan reached a fever pitch. Things got worse later in the year, when Oklahoma residents voted to amend the state constitution to forbid the use of Islamic Shariah law in state courts – a completely unnecessary change, given that the U.S. Constitution rules that out. The overheated atmosphere generated by these events also helped spur a 50% jump in the FBI’s count of anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2010. Then, in March 2011, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) held hearings on the radicalization of U.S. Muslims that seemed meant to demonize them. At the same time, there was a swelling of truly vicious propaganda like this remarkable Jan. 14, 2011, comment from columnist Debbie Schlussel: “They are animals, yes, but a lower form than the dog, as they won’t learn to change their behavior for a carrot or a reward.”

In connection with anti-gay groups Potok points out:

In another development, most of the religious right groups that started out opposing abortion but moved on to attacking LGBT people have recently begun to adopt anti-Muslim propaganda en masse. The gay-bashing Traditional Values Coalition, for instance, last year redesigned its website to emphasize a new section entitled “Islam vs. the Constitution,” published a report on Shariah law, and joined anti-Shariah conferences.