Archive for Christians

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Singling Out Islam: Newt Gingrich’s Pandering Attacks

The former House speaker regularly calls for treating Muslims differently — and his discriminatory remarks are mostly forgiven. 

It’s interesting to observe what qualifies as beyond the pale in American politics. For bigoted newsletters written two decades ago, Ron Paul is deemed by many to be disqualified from the presidency. I don’t fault anyone for criticizing those newsletters. I’ve done so myselfThey’re terrible. So is the way he’s handled the controversy. But isn’t it interesting that Paul has been more discredited by years-old, ghostwritten remarks than has Newt Gingrich for bigotry that he’s uttered himself, on camera, during the present campaign? It’s gone largely ignored both in the mainstream press and the movement-conservative organs that were most vocal condemning Paul.

That’s because Muslims are the target. And despite the fact that George W. Bush was admirably careful to avoid demonizing a whole religious faith for the actions of a small minority of its adherents — despite the fact that Barack Obama too has been beyond reproach in this respect — anti-Muslim bigotry in America is treated differently than every other kind, often by the very same people who allege without irony that there is a war in this country against Christians.

In the clip at the top of this post, Gingrich says, “Now, I think we need to have a government that respects our religions. I’m a little bit tired about respecting every religion on the planet. I’d like them to respect our religion.” Of course, the U.S. government is compelled by the Constitution to afford protection to religion generally, and “our” religion includes Islam, a faith many Americans practice. That’s just the beginning of what Gingrich has said about this minority group. In this clip, he likens Muslim Americans seeking to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan to Nazis building next to the Holocaust Museum. He once suggested that the right of Muslims to build mosques should be infringed upon by the U.S. government until Christians are permitted to build churches in Saudi Arabia, a straightforward suggestion that we violate the Constitution in order to mimic authoritarians. He favors a federal law that would pre-empt sharia law — though not the religious law of any other faith — from being used in American courts, which would be the solution to a total non-problem.

And no surprise, for he regularly engages in the most absurd kind of fear-mongering. To cite one example:

I think that we have to really, from my perspective you don’t have an issue of religious tolerance you have an elite which favors radical Islam over Christianity and Judaism. You have constant pressure by secular judges and by religious bigots to drive Christianity out of public life and to establish a secular state except when it comes to radical Islam, where all of the sudden they start making excuses for Sharia, they start making excuses that we really shouldn’t use certain language. Remember, the Organization of Islamic Countries is dedicated to preventing anyone, anywhere in the world from commenting negatively about Islam, so they would literally eliminate our free speech and there were clearly conversations held that implied that the U.S. Justice Department would begin to enforce censorship against American citizens to protect radical Islam, I think that’s just an amazing concept frankly.

If Gingrich believed all of this it would be damning. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether it is more or less damning that his tone, and much of his substance, is in fact a calculated pander. Justin Elliott at Salon demonstrated as much when he delved into how Gingrich used to talk about these issues:

Gingrich’s recent rhetoric represents a little-noticed shift from an earlier period in his career when he had a strikingly warm relationship with the American Muslim community. As speaker of the House in the 1990s, for example, Gingrich played a key role in setting aside space on Capitol Hill for Muslim congressional staffers to pray each Friday; he was involved with a Republican Islamic group that promoted Shariah-compliant finance, which critics — including Gingrich — now deride as a freedom-destroying abomination; and he maintained close ties with another Muslim conservative group that even urged Gingrich to run for president in 2007.

The article goes on to note:

Gingrich’s warm relations with the Muslim community continued well into the mid-2000s. Around 2004, for example, he participated in a planning meeting of the Islamic Free Market Institute, according to an activist who also attended the meeting. “His tone was nothing like what you hear today,” recalls the activist. “He was very positive, very supportive. His whole attitude was that Muslims are part of the American fabric and that Muslim Americans should be Republicans.” By the standards of the Gingrich we know today, the Islamic Free Market Institute was essentially engaged in “stealth jihad.” The now defunct group, founded by conservative activist Grover Norquist in 1998 to woo Muslim Americans to the GOP, was involved in educating the public and policymakers about Islamic or Shariah-compliant finance. Its 2004 IRS filing reported the group spent tens of thousands of dollars to “educate the public about Islam[ic] finances, insurance, banking and investments.” To most people, there’s nothing nefarious about Islamic finance — there is a large international banking business centering on special financial instruments that are compliant with Islamic strictures against interest, and so on.

So in 2004 Gingrich attended a planning meeting of a group devoted to promoting Shariah-compliant finance. Fast forward to 2010 and here’s what he said in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute: “[I]t’s why I think teaching about Sharia financing is dangerous, because it is the first step towards the normalization of Sharia and I believe Sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it.”

If an American politician suggested, of Christians or Jews, that they should be required to take a special loyalty oath before assuming office; that the government should restrict where they’re permitted to build houses of worship; that laws should be passed singling out their religious law as odious; that they don’t count when Americans talk about “our” religion; that their main lobbying group should be aggressively investigated: if any American politician said any of those things, they’d be regarded as an anti-religious bigot engaged in a war on Christianity.

Whereas the accusation that there’s something wrong with Gingrich’s rhetoric is met on the right with righteous indignation, as if he is the put-upon victim of political correctness or the elite media.

In the 1980s, the Ron Paul newsletters played on white anxiety about urban crime and racism toward blacks. It was awful. And apparently America didn’t learn its lesson, for Gingrich 2012, like Cain 2012 before it, is playing on majority anxieties about terrorism and xenophobia toward Muslims. This is particularly dangerous in the civil-liberties climate produced by Bush and Obama, where American citizens can be deprived of their liberty and even their life without charges or due process, a protection that is especially valuable to feared minorities.

Santorum: Equality ‘doesn’t come from Islam’ but from ‘God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2012 by loonwatch
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum

Santorum: Equality ‘doesn’t come from Islam’ but from ‘God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob’

by 

Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum provoked an angry response from the Council on American-Islamic Relations Saturday for saying equality “doesn’t come from Islam“ but ”from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

“I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, ‘Well, equality, we want equality.’ Where do you think this concept of equality comes from?” Santorum said during a South Carolina campaign stop Friday, ABC News reported. “It doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions, where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that’s where it comes from.”

The former Pennsylvania senator, a Catholic, has spoken openly about faith on the campaign trail.

“So don’t claim his rights, don’t claim equality as that gift from God and then go around and say, ‘Well, we don’t have to pay attention to what God wants us to do. We don’t have to pay attention to God’s moral laws.’ If your rights come from God, then you have an obligation to live responsibly in conforming with God’s laws, and our founders said so, right?” Santorum asked.

In a statement, CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper called Santorum’s remarks “inaccurate and offensive,“ and said the organization was sending the candidate a copy of the Quran so he could ”educate himself.”

“The Quran, Islam’s revealed text, is the best refutation of Mr. Santorum’s inaccurate and offensive remarks, which are unbecoming of anyone who hopes to hold our nation’s highest office. Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God and share religious traditions that promote justice and equality,” Hooper said. “We suggest that Mr. Santorum educate himself about Islam and the American Muslim community by reading the Quran that we will send to his campaign headquarters next week.”

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on December 25, 2011 by loonwatch

Happy Hannukah and Merry Christmas to the loonwatchers who are celebrating this holiday season.

UK Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others join Christians to wish Happy Christmas 4 All

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by loonwatch

Merry Christmas

UK Jews, Muslims, Sikhs and others join Christians to wish Happy Christmas 4 All

By Alexander Goldberg
(Reuters)

There are no Christmas trees in my home, not even a Chanukah bush, no sign of tinsel and no sound of children singing carols. If I was asked on Facebook to describe my relationship with Christmas, like most Jews I would opt for the  ‘it’s complicated’ or even the ‘separated’ status. The personage of Jesus, whose birthday it marks, is the main theological divide between Christianity and Judaism. So whilst a minority in my community do mark it in some way, it would be difficult for me as an observant Jew to do so. Perhaps therefore, it is surprising to some that I have joined the HappyChristmas4All campaign. So why?

For me, it comes down to good neighborliness. It gives me no satisfaction to see others denigrate another person’s religious festival or stop my neighbours from practising their beliefs. That’s why I joined the HappyChristmas4All campaign that has attracted over a thousand supporters on Facebook and captured the attention of the broadcast media in Britain. People have signed up for their own reasons, but in essence Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs and secularists have joined together to say Christmas in Britain must be respected. Some from other communities have gone further and I have learnt this week from both Muslim and Buddhist friends the meaning that the birth of Jesus has in their traditions.

The ‘War on Christmas’ myth needs to be debunked. I share similar concerns to my closest Christian neighbours that the festival risks becoming on one hand a secular consumerist feast or on the other a time when the majority of the population wrongly believes it has to play down celebrations so as not to offend others.

Consumerism is dangerous. The current global economic crisis has shown what happens when we borrow beyond our means. Christmas is a time of great debt for many families who face huge pressures to get those close to them expensive and highly marketed gifts. I share the concerns of those that see this consumerist festival is slowly usurping the religious one that promotes ‘Peace on Earth’ and encourages family gatherings. A religious Christmas is a tonic to this excess and a national consumerist festival is of no interest to any of us.

Playing down Christmas celebrations is not the answer either. We should not make it into some inert ‘Winterval’ or generic ‘Holidays’ which is increasingly popular in the United States. There is a tendency to roll the Jewish holiday of Chanukah into Christmas and celebrate the Holiday period along with Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year and Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate it if someone offers me Happy Chanukah greetings or wants to play ‘spin the dreidel.’ But let’s face it — Chanukah is a minor Jewish festival whilst Christmas is one of the most important days of the Christian calendar. So why ‘big up’ Chanukah or have our neighbours downplay Christmas? Indeed, critics of the term ‘Happy Holidays’ deem it to be either consumerist in its origins or an attack on the centrality of Christmas for the majority of the population in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The ‘War on Christmas’ seems to take away enjoyment for the majority of people and only a few bitter secularists and some ideological extremists, who want to be on the fringe of society, want to see that happen. Surely a Christmas tree or lights on the Main Street or at City Hall can’t possibly offend anyone. The notion is simply ridiculous. I used to get phoned up by public sector workers two weeks before Christmas when I was the Senior Race Equality Officer at the UK Government’s Commission for Racial Equality. They were concerned that placing a Christmas tree in the town hall would offend non-Christians. In the main, the same authorities were marking Eid, Diwali and Chanukah where there were sizeable relevant populations. So I asked them, why not Christmas? I told them that I would be offended if 85% of the population could not celebrate their festival. Point taken, my advice was often met with relief and I am probably responsible for saving a dozen or so Christmas trees in town halls across Britain.

Journalists have been fascinated by the numbers of religious leaders from Jewish, Muslim and Sikh backgrounds joining in with this call to respect Christmas. Even the orthodox Chief Rabbi of Britain, Lord Sacks, joined in. On a recent visit to the Scottish Parliament, he stated that “Jewish and other faith communities love the fact that Christians celebrate ChristmasWhen I go to Trafalgar Square and hear carols being sung, I feel uplifted.”

When they ask me what I am doing this Christmas, I tell them that I have a role. The country still needs people to work or volunteer. At Christmas time, members of my family offer to take colleagues shifts at work or volunteer in understaffed charities in order to help others take the time off to celebrate their festival, or else look in on those that may be lonely over this period. And when asked, I urge members of my community to do likewise. In other words, to show respect for Christmas and their neighbours. Happy Christmas for all…

ADL Urges Chief Rabbis to Denounce Spitting at Christians

Posted in Loon Rabbis with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2011 by loonwatch

If Muslims were committing this disgusting practice you can be sure that the hatemongers would be up in arms declaring Islam a “vile and intolerant” religion. They would also claim that this is the “pure Islam, etc.”

ADL urges chief rabbis to denounce spitting at Christians

The Anti-Defamation league (ADL) called on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to publicly denounce “the repulsive decades-old practice by ultra-Orthodox Jews of spitting at Christian clergymen they encounter in the street.”

“This repulsive practice is a hateful act of persecution against another faith group and a desecration of God’s name according to Jewish law,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This display of hate and bigotry has no place in Israel and is inimical to Jewish values of treating all people with respect and kindness.”

The ADL sent Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger a letter, urging them to meet with Haredi leaders to put a stop to this practice and to cooperate to educate their community about respect for other faiths and coexistence.

Spitting Jews Ultraorthodox

Are evangelicals a national security threat?

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by loonwatch

(cross-posted from Salon)

A new poll suggests that American Christians (unlike Muslims) are likely to put their faith before their country

By David Sirota

If you have the stomach to listen to enough right-wing talk radio, or troll enough right-wing websites, you inevitably come upon fear-mongering about the Unassimilated Muslim. Essentially, this caricature suggests that Muslims in America are more loyal to their religion than to the United States, that such allegedly traitorous loyalties prove that Muslims refuse to assimilate into our nation and that Muslims are therefore a national security threat.

Earlier this year, a Gallup poll illustrated just how apocryphal this story really is. It found that Muslim Americans are one of the most — if not the single most — loyal religious group to the United States. Now, comes the flip side from the Pew Research Center’s stunning findings about other religious groups in America (emphasis mine):

American Christians are more likely than their Western European counterparts to think of themselves first in terms of their religion rather than their nationality; 46 percent of Christians in the U.S. see themselves primarily as Christians and the same number consider themselves Americans first. In contrast, majorities of Christians in France (90 percent), Germany (70 percent), Britain (63 percent) and Spain (53 percent) identify primarily with their nationality rather than their religion. Among Christians in the U.S., white evangelicals are especially inclined to identify first with their faith; 70 percent in this group see themselves first as Christians rather than as Americans, while 22 percent say they are primarily American.

If, as Islamophobes argue, refusing to assimilate is defined as expressing loyalty to a religion before loyalty to country, then this data suggests it is evangelical Christians who are very resistant to assimilation. And yet, few would cite these findings to argue that Christians pose a serious threat to America’s national security. Why the double standard?

Because Christianity is seen as the dominant culture in America — indeed, Christianity and America are often portrayed as being nearly synonymous, meaning expressing loyalty to the former is seen as the equivalent to expressing loyalty to the latter. In this view, there is no such thing as separation between the Christian church and the American state — and every other culture and religion is expected to assimilate to Christianity. To do otherwise is to be accused of waging a “War on Christmas” — or worse, to be accused of being disloyal to America and therefore a national security threat.

Of course, a genuinely pluralistic America is one where — regardless of the religion in question — we see no conflict between loyalties to a religion and loyalties to country. In this ideal America, those who identify as Muslims first are no more or less “un-American” than Christians who do the same (personally, this is the way I see things).

But if our politics and culture are going to continue to make extrapolative judgments about citizens’ patriotic loyalties based on their religious affiliations, then such judgments should at least be universal — and not so obviously selective or brazenly xenophobic.

Fake Nigerian Christians Burnt Alive Photo Resurfaces on Facebook

Posted in Feature, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by loonwatch

It looks like the myth that Geller was pushing some months ago about Muslim hordes incinerating Nigerian Christians is resurfacing once again, this time on Facebook.

A blog by the name of Waffles at Noon covers the re-emergence of the photo:

A horrifying photo has surfaced on Facebook, one that claims the dead, charred bodies in the photo are Christians burnt alive by Muslims in Nigera. A common caption reads reads:

Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims in NIGERIA…(Posted by Jillian Becker in Africa, Arab States, Christianity, Christians burnt alive by Sunni Muslims, Islam, Muslims, jihad)…..PLEASE SHARE IT OR JUST UPLOAD YOUR OWN…BUT SOMEHOW SPREAD IT IF YOU’RE EVEN 1% CHRISTIAN — It is still not over yet! —

Waffles goes on to cite our piece from April that points out the fact that the picture is a fake.

Below is our post exposing the absurd falsity of attempting to pass the Congo gas tanker explosion as an example of Nigerian sectarianism.

******************

Pamela Geller Watch: Ties Gas Tanker Explosion in Congo to Electoral Violence in Nigeria

Pamela is claiming in a blog titled, Nigeria: Muslim Hordes Mass Slaughter Christians that a gruesome picture is evidence of Muslim violence against Christians in Nigeria (be warned the picture is gruesome):

A terrible and horrifying picture indeed.

Pamela brags that she wrote about it “first” back on April 19, and then wonders “why” is America fighting in Libya to restore a “universal Caliphate?”

Huh??

It turns out however that the above picture is not evidence of some “Muslim rampage” in Nigeria! The charred bodies are a tragic result of a tanker explosion in the CONGO!! A whole other country the last time I checked! Here is the evidence from Afrik.com (I give you the Google translation since it was originally in French):

The explosion, on July 3, a tanker in the town of Sange, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in 235 deaths.

Here is the original French language report where you will also find more pictures: RDC : les images atroces du drame de Sange au Sud-Kivu

You will also see an interesting picture of Muslim UN soldiers, possibly from Pakistan helping to respond to the tragedy.

Here is a report from Reuters with some more pictures:

(Reuters) – At least 230 people were killed when a fuel tanker overturned and exploded in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, unleashing a fire ball that tore through homes and cinemas packed with people watching World Cup soccer.

Officials said on Saturday the explosion late on Friday also injured 196 people, adding that the death toll could rise.

They described scenes of devastation in the town of Sange, where houses were burned and bodies littered the streets. Some people died while trying to steal fuel leaking from the tanker, but most were killed at home or watching World Cup soccer in cinemas.

Many of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.

United Nations helicopters began airlifting injured people to hospital, while Congo’s army, which lost a number of men in the blast, has sent soldiers in to help with the rescue.

“Our latest numbers are 230 dead and 196 injured,” Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the U.N. mission, said. Congo’s government also gave the same number of dead.

Marcellin Cisambo, governor of South Kivu province, where the incident took place, said the blast occurred when the fuel truck overturned, leaked fuel and then later exploded.

It was not immediately clear what caused the initial accident or later blast, but local people said the truck, which was part of a convoy, stopped when the road seemed to crumble, toppling the vehicle and spilling fuel. Fire then erupted.

“It’s a terrible scene. There are lots of dead bodies on the streets. The population is in terrible shock — no one is crying or speaking,” Jean-Claude Kibala, South Kivu’s vice governor, said from Sange, which is between the towns of Bukavu and Uvira.

“We are trying to see how we can coordinate with (the U.N.) to manage the situation and how to take the wounded to hospital,” he added.

TANKER ACCIDENTS

Roads in the area are notoriously bad after years of war and neglect in the vast central African nation.

“Some people were killed trying to steal the fuel, but most of the deaths were of people who were indoors watching the (World Cup) match,” Cisambo said.

There have been numerous similar accidents across Africa, where crowds gather around fuel tankers involved in crashes, only for the tanker to explode.

Millions of football fans across Africa were watching Ghana, the continent’s last team in the World Cup, play Uruguay in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday evening.

For many, who have no electricity at home, makeshift cinema halls are the only option for watching the football.

“My children were watching the football match in the cinema and then they ran out to see the petrol,” said Kiza Ruvinira, who lost three children and his sister-in-law in the blast.

“I went out to see what happened and I found my three children’s bodies myself. I don’t know how to go on.”

Mubaya Mumasura also lost three family members: “I don’t know what to do with myself I am so sad. I want the government to assist all the victims and help us.”

Congo’s weak government has difficulty providing even the most basic services, so U.N. peacekeepers began airlifting some of the wounded to nearby hospitals and aid workers were called in to help with medical treatment.

“The national Red Cross is working on collecting the bodies and taking them to the morgue, but the priority is obviously to take the wounded to the hospital,” International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) coordinator Inah Kaloga told Reuters.”

Kaloga said aid workers were trying to identify bodies before they were buried, but many were completely charred.

“It’s a catastrophe,” said Captain Olivier Hamuli,” spokesman for Congo’s military operation in South Kivu, adding that 13 soldiers had been injured and another 10 were missing.

The Kenyan driver of the truck is being held by the police.

Alain Ilunga, deputy CEO of Congo’s storage and distribution company, which is already investigating the incident, said the truck was carrying 49,000 liters of petrol at the time.

(Writing by David Lewis; editing by Ralph Boulton)