Questions for Socialists (4)

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It’s gotten so bad in the Socialist paradise of Venezuela that even the Socialist-friendly New York Times has to take notice in order to protect its last shred of journalistic credibility.

Q: Why do you constantly condemn the monetary greed of Capitalism but never condemn the brutal, murderous political greed of Socialism?

A: Because brutalizing and murdering a population under their control is the only way to lift them up to their Socialist moral perfection!

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Two of my favorite sanctimonious Progressive scolds

I’ve had more than enough of these sanctimonious Progressive scolds who condemn the monetary greed associated with Capitalism but remain silent about the far worse political (and monetary) greed associated with Socialism.  Make no mistake, both are sinful, but the human consequences of the former pale in comparison with those of the latter.  If you doubt this statement I suggest that you review the previous posts from this series (see the first, second and third).

And yet those of us who know better have generally allowed this scandalous hypocrisy to go on unopposed.  The reasons why vary from lack of confidence in knowledge to conflict avoidance to fear of the social and personal consequences.  The fear exists because within this self-proclaimed morally superior movement is a cohort that will resort to almost any vile tactic to destroy visible opposition including: cowardly whispering campaigns that impugn our morals and motives, open vicious verbal abuse and in extreme but highly visible cases public destruction of our character and livelihood through social media mob action.

The existence of this power to demean and destroy human beings holding opposing opinions has led to a situation in which not only do most people remain silent, but many choose to parrot whatever Progressive talking points are currently in vogue in order to protect themselves.  This dynamic was brilliantly summed up by the French author Charles Péguy* (see the note at the end of this post):

“It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”

The idea that these people — who purposefully ignore the impoverishment, murder and enslavement of whole populations in order to advance their own narcissistic, misanthropic desire for political power over their fellow citizens — should be above criticism has become untenable.

Yes, the sins of Capitalism must be identified and dealt with.  In fact many of them have been though a myriad of laws and regulations.  Do we pay anywhere near the attention to the sins of governmental bureaucrats who use their powers to silence and destroy citizens and businesses with whom they disagree (see the IRS, Justice Department, FBI, Intelligence Agencies, EPA, etc.)?  Do we call it “greed” when Progressive politicians grow incredibly wealthy while “serving” in public office while constantly preaching against greed in the private sector?

At least people and businesses in a liberal capitalist democracy who grow wealthy generally do so by providing goods and services that other free people choose to buy.  And, when these companies cease to provide useful products (or can no longer do so as efficiently as their competition) they generally go out of business.  Thus there is a powerful incentive to identify and provide what their customers want.  Yes, they want things with which others disagree.  But at least they tend to not want to be impoverished and brutalized.

But the “product” of Socialism is impoverishment and brutalization of a country’s population in pursuit of an elite’s self-serving vision of utopia.  In the process the Socialist leaders and bureaucrats prosper while the general population descends into a hellish state of hunger, fear, poverty and hopelessness.

Make no mistake, with release and support of the “Green New Deal” the Progressive movement has shown that they are contemplating a totalitarian path.  The fact that it is idiotic (e.g., a tiny sampling: ban air travel and cow farts) will not deter them any more than did the idiocy of the “Great Leap Forward” in Communist China, the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union or the the creation of a “New Man” in Cambodia.  The point isn’t the wisdom (or lack thereof) of their policy proposals.  The real point is the pretext for narcissistic, ideology-blinded, highly-credentialed know-nothings to seize ever more power over our lives.

Yes, I understand that the chances of something like this happening in the United States is currently near zero.  However, it is also true that the younger generations have been so propagandized and miseducated that they are flirting with the desirability of a Socialist future.  There are armies of educators, journalists, governmental bureaucrats, professional organizations, church leaders, non-profits and NGOs who are selling this vile product.

Here’s how the  New York Times (!) article cited above concluded (emphasis added).

Baby portraits of the children, one of their few cherished belongings, hang prominently on the wall. The only food in the entire house is half a bag of salt, and one lime.

“This is a nightmare,” said Ms. Merchán’s sister, Andreína del Valle Merchán, 25, describing how the children start to vomit, sweat and become sluggish after days of not eating. Her own 5-year-old daughter had lost 11 pounds this year and now weighed only 17 pounds, she said.

The suffering of Venezuelan families is expected to worsen next year. Beyond the I.M.F.’s warning that inflation could surpass 2,300 percent, observers worry that the leftist government will continue to refuse international aid for political reasons.

“If they accept the help, they accept that there is a humanitarian crisis here, and officially recognize that their population is vulnerable, and just how much their policies failed them,” said Susana Raffalli, a specialist on food emergencies who consults for Caritas in Venezuela.

The Venezuelan government has used food to keep the Socialists in power, critics say. Before recent elections, people living in government housing projects said they were visited by representatives of their local Socialist community councils — the government-aligned groups that organize the delivery of boxes of cheap food — and threatened with being cut off if they did not vote for the government.

Kenyerber’s relatives do not expect the economic crisis to improve anytime soon. They fear that another child in the family may die as well.

“I worry about it day and night,” said his aunt, Andreína.

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Rep. Omar (D.) supports the Socialist Venezuelan government.

So, things are so obviously terrible in Socialist Venezuela that the New York Times feels compelled to publish this story.   And yet the New York Times remains generally supportive of the Socialist political project!

How dare you Progressive Socialists proclaim that your’s is a superior morality!  You should be ashamed of yourselves.  But you have demonstrated that “the children” only matter as props for your virtue signaling protests.  Actual children dying from the ravages of actual Socialism are apparently just the price to be paid in pursuit of your ideological holy war.

The least that we can do is to speak up against this evil, bloody ideology whenever and wherever it dares to claim its morality and utility as a means of social organization.

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Another heart-rending photograph from the Socialist-friendly New York Times article.  The  caption is: “Kenyerber’s mother, María Carolina Merchán, right, weighs just 66 pounds. Her daughter follows her for hours, begging for food.”



*Note:

Ironically, Charles Péguy was a Christian, Socialist and French patriot (1873-1914).  Thus he died well before the genocidal consequences of the first practical application of Socialism in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the U.S.S.R., formed after the 1917 Russian Revolution) occurred.  Had he lived to see this tragedy, other of his famous quotes would have been put to the test.

Tyranny is always better organised than freedom

He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.

 

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The New York Times’ 1619 Project (3)

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American Capitalism and Slavery

There are times when an institution has been so hollowed out, so blinded by ideological hatred that it literally becomes idiotic.  This is one of those times.  There are so many layers of vile stupidity here that it’s difficult to know just where to start.

Slavery Predates Capitalism by at Least 3,300 Years

The Britannica web site’s article on Capitalism dates the start of this economic system to the 16th century A.D.  Therefore, once capitalism arrived on the scene in Europe the institution of slavery had already been in existence since at least the 18th century B.C. and surely far earlier than our historical record documents.  Therefore, it’s impossible for there to have been a complete separation of slavery and any economic system that started while slavery existed.

And yet, the NYT’s headline attempts to tie this evil institution uniquely to American capitalism.  For this attempted linkage to be deemed credible it would have to be shown that capitalism in America was based on slavery and that the more capitalist is a state / colony the more it supported slavery.

The exact opposite is true in both cases.

Slavery was Eradicated in the Capitalist Northern States Long Before the Civil War

Although the 13 British American Colonies (and eventually States) shared a common heritage their dominant economic systems differed between the Northern and Southern regions.  Here’s a good summary of the economic situation in the United States just prior to the Civil War.

While factories were built all over the North and South, the vast majority of industrial manufacturing was taking place in the North. The South had almost 25% of the country’s free population, but only 10% of the country’s capital in 1860. The North had five times the number of factories as the South, and over ten times the number of factory workers. In addition, 90% of the nation’s skilled workers were in the North.

Thus it is in the North that capitalism as enabled by the industrial revolution dominated.  While there certainly were outposts of industrial revolution capitalism in the South, it was dominated by a more primitive agrarian economy dependent on the plantation system which required slavery for its survival.

These economic differences led to entirely different outcomes with regard to the institution of slavery.  While the agrarian South was utterly committed to slavery’s continuance the industrial North progressively eradicated this evil system.  This excerpt from the Federalist summarizes this point.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 prohibited slavery in the territory that would become the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In 1794, Congress barred American ships from engaging in the slave trade. Additional legislation in 1780 banned Americans from employment or investment in the international slave trade. Finally, the U.S. Congress officially banned the importation of slaves beginning on January 1, 1808, the earliest date allowed under the deal made to ratify the Constitution.

Far from the bastion of racism, hate and pro-slavery sentiment that the 1619 Project portrays, much of the United States was ahead of the world in ending the horror of slavery. Shortly after the signing of the Declaration, northern states took the lead. By 1804, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had passed laws that immediately or gradually abolished slavery.

Clearly it was the far more capitalist dominated Northern states that aggressively opposed and abolished slavery.  This historic fact demolishes the NYT’s narrative about “American capitalism.”  But there’s so much more.

The Capitalist United States is a Anti-Slavery World Leader

Do you know that slavery is still an ongoing institution in the 21st century?  It is.  So, since the NYT thinks that capitalism is the most supportive economic system for slavery it stands to reason that it would be most prevalent in “capitalist” countries.  And, since the United States is the epicenter of world capitalism it must be the worst here.  But, of course, you would be pathetically wrong.

The Walk Free foundation published a Global Slavery Index that has been used by Progressive media organizations such as the Washington Post.  Here are two key figures from the 2018 report.

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Note that it is the “capitalist” countries that have the lowest prevalence of slavery in 2018.

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Note that the United States is the second highest in the world with regard to legal protection against slavery.

Given these results, the question must be asked: Why is the NYT holding the United States up as a cesspit of slavery when it clearly is a world leader in opposing slavery?  The answer is obvious to anyone not blinded by Progressive ideology.

The NYT Hides True Economic Brutality

Finally, it must be noted that the NYT has been an enthusiastic supporter of the most truly brutal ideology in world history, and one that has enslaved and murdered at a level unheard of before its existence — that being Socialism.

The NYT lied to the world about the Ukrainian Famine in the 1930s Soviet Union (and still accepts a Pulitzer Prize for their lies). Walter Duranty was then the NYT’s reporter in the Soviet Union.

In the years 1932 and 1933, a catastrophic famine swept across the Soviet Union. It began in the chaos of collectivization, when millions of peasants were forced off their land and made to join state farms. … At least 5 million people perished of hunger all across the Soviet Union. Among them were nearly 4 million Ukrainians who died not because of neglect or crop failure, but because they had been deliberately deprived of food.

Duranty continued, using an expression that later became notorious: “To put it brutally—you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” He went on to explain that he had made “exhaustive inquiries” and concluded that “conditions are bad, but there is no famine.”

Indignant, Jones wrote a letter to the editor of the Times, patiently listing his sources—a huge range of interviewees, including more than 20 consuls and diplomats—and attacking the Moscow press corps:

Censorship has turned them into masters of euphemism and understatement.  Hence they give “famine” the polite name of “food shortage” and “starving to death” is softened down to read as “widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition…

“Russians Hungry But not Starving” became the accepted wisdom.

The NYT has never ceased being a cheerleader of and apologist for Socialism.

The nostalgia for Communism is never far beneath the surface in the Progressive Left, as was recently reemphasized in a New York Times oped (emphasis added).  There could be no better confirmation of my recent condemnation of the Progressive Left’s whitewash of Communist genocide (see below figure from this post) than the statements from this oped.  Here’s how the lie looks today.

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New York Times Oped:

We can get to this Finland Station only with the support of a majority; that’s one reason that socialists are such energetic advocates of democracy and pluralism. But we can’t ignore socialism’s loss of innocence over the past century. We may reject the version of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as crazed demons and choose to see them as well-intentioned people trying to build a better world out of a crisis, but we must work out how to avoid their failures…

The New York Times is the last place one should look for accurate historic information or moral instruction.

Human Free Will Within God’s Providential Control

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Joseph’s brothers sell him into captivity (1855, Konstantin Flavitsky)

Note: The following post is an excerpt from my third eBook — God’s Acts of Providence.  If you have an iOS device (i.e. an Apple device) then you can use this link to access.  If you do not use an iOS device, a PDF version can be found using this link.

Background

If God allows our wills freedom to operate then what happens when our corrupt wills collide with God’s eternal decrees?  It appears that God weaves His eternal purposes into the fabric of our willful acts.  That is, though we do indeed make decisions and take actions that are based upon our free wills, God is able to ensure that the accumulated result accomplishes His purposes.

The most notable Biblical story that reveals this dynamic is Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37-50).  Recall that Issac became the child of the fulfilled promise to Abraham and Sarah.  In turn Issac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.  Although the younger, it was through Jacob’s line that God chose for the keeping of His promise.  Jacob had twelve sons, the second youngest of whom was Joseph.

Joseph’s Story

To call Jacob’s family dysfunctional may be an understatement.  Jacob showed extreme favoritism towards Joseph, who responded by becoming conceited and boastful.  Not surprisingly this situation created great resentfulness in his ten older brothers.  They eventually became so furious that they decided to sell Joseph into slavery and tell their father that he had been killed by a beast.

Joseph ended up in the Egyptian empire.  There he experienced great danger and suffering.  However, due to God’s gift of prophecy, Joseph miraculously ended up being the second most powerful man in Egypt, with only the Pharaoh above him.

Although the story centers on Joseph in Egypt for a long period of time, we are told that his brothers’ scheme crushed their father’s spirit.  One need no special gift of imagination to infer that their father’s grief coupled with the keeping of a shameful lie must have created gaping wounds in the family’s life.

None of the people in this story were originally attempting to cooperate with God’s providential purposes.  Quite the contrary, they were driven by pride, envy, greed, hatred and selfishness, among many other moral failings.  One would be hard pressed to create a family situation less supportive of God’s purposes.  In fact, their wills appear to have been aligned directly against God by tending to destroy the very family through which God sought to fulfill His promise!

And yet, in the end, it is God’s will that is done.  Not only does Jacob’s family survive, but it does so because of the sequence of sinful events willed by the human participants.  That is, because Joseph becomes powerful in Egypt he can offer his family salvation from a devastating famine.

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Joseph recognized by his brothers (1863, Leon Pierre Bourgeois).  Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him until long after they had been introduced to the second most powerful man in Egypt.

Far beyond mere physical survival, the experiences of Joseph and his brothers create in them softened hearts, humility and mercy that enable the family to reconcile.  This process only reaches completion upon the death of Jacob.  For, in spite of Joseph’s apparent kindness, his brothers yet fear that he is only waiting until Jacob’s death to take revenge.

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”  So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died:  ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.  His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”  But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?  As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Genesis 50:15-21

In Joseph’s astounding statement we find wondrous insight into God’s working of His providential purposes within context of human free will.  There is unambiguous clarity that Joseph’s brothers were willfully intending evil when they sold him into slavery.  However, there is also no doubt that God’s intentions were the exact opposite, and, were operating throughout.  How can these apparently contradictory statements be reconciled?

Meditation

Put another way, where in creation does God have the opportunity to inject His will so as to ensure a chosen outcome within context of human free will?  Here we enter the realm of conjecture.  However, it is conjecture illuminated by the entire Biblical story concerning God’s dealing with mankind.

One obvious place to look is the dimension of time.  We can easily recall numerous historical events when the difference of hours, or even minutes, had a controlling impact on the outcome.  For example, had the caravan to which Joseph was sold arrived hours later his brothers might have decided to kill him (Genesis 37:25-28).  Is it beyond God’s power to influence the sequence of events in time so as to cause a desired result?

Or consider the dimension of human character.  We all should be able to agree that each human being has a unique, multifaceted character that powerfully influences how they respond to ideas and events.  Is it beyond the power of God to imprint upon us character traits that will lead to our freely choosing one path over another?  Does not Scripture explicitly teach that this is indeed so?

For Scripture says of Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. Romans 9:17,18 (NIV)

Who are we to say just where and how this hardening of Pharaoh occurred?  Is it beyond God’s power to create particular character traits that will cause one person to freely respond in one way to a set of circumstances and another differently?  Can this not be an aspect of God’s action when we are being fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)?

These two possibilities are not intended to definitively explain how God’s acts of providence operate.  Rather, they are intended to expand the scope of our investigation to allow room for God’s acting within the simultaneous application of our free wills.

Perhaps a generalized statement of the above specific examples would be:

God, through various and sundry means that are independent of human will is able to ensure that the accumulated result of events will lead to the outcome that He has foreordained from eternity.

Of course, as we have seen in this work and throughout the Bible, none of this precludes God from directly intervening in creation as He deems fit.  However even on these occasions the dynamic is not that of a puppet master pulling strings, but rather of the infinite, eternal God engaging in relationship with frail flesh and blood.  That is, even within these direct invasions of the divine room is made for the operation of our wills.

Thus, the only issue excluded from influence of our wills is that of our salvation.  However, as we have seen, were God to here leave us to our own devices no one would be saved.  Thus our merciful God only overpowers our wills in the one place that they are utterly helpless.

The Silence of the Lambs (6)

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Image and caption of the BBC report quoted below.

A Timely and Tragic Confirmation

For anyone who suspected that I’ve been exaggerating or am being overly-dramatic about Christian persecution note that none other than the government of the United Kingdom has confirmed my position.  In fact, their commentary on this issue is significantly more extreme than has been mine thus far.  Here’t the BBC report titled: Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels‘ (emphasis added):

The review, led by the Bishop of Truro the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, estimated that one in three people suffer from religious persecution.
Christians were the most persecuted religious group, it found.  Mr Hunt said he felt that “political correctness” had played a part in the issue not being confronted.

The interim report said the main impact of “genocidal acts against Christians is exodus” and that Christianity faced being “wiped out” from parts of the Middle East.
It warned the religion “is at risk of disappearing” in some parts of the world, pointing to figures which claimed Christians in Palestine represent less than 1.5% of the population, while in Iraq they had fallen from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000.
“Evidence shows not only the geographic spread of anti-Christian persecution, but also its increasing severity,” the Bishop wrote.

The report itself has this to say about Christian persecution in the Middle East.

Regional Focus: Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

The persecution of Christians is perhaps at its most virulent in the region of the birthplace of Christianity – the Middle East & North Africa (MENA for short). As mentioned earlier, forms of persecution ranging from routine discrimination in education, employment and social life up to genocidal attacks against Christian communities have led to a significant exodus of Christian believers from this region since the turn of the century.

Regional Focus: South Asia

To the east of the MENA region lie countries with a diversity of majority religions. In nearly all of these there is routine discrimination against Christians which has crossed over into outright persecution in recent years.

Numerous other regional areas are covered, each with its own unique set of religious, cultural and ideological issues that lead to varying levels of Christian persecution.

christian-persecution-1Note that this report also supports my contention that “political correctness” is a key reason that Christians in the West have abandoned their brothers and sisters in Christ to their fates.    Let’s be clear: if true this means that Christians in the West value their own social standing far higher than the actual lives of Christians throughout the world.  I believe that this is at least in part true, and that it is a shameful consequence of our purposeful ignorance and selfish need for social affirmation by a godless secular culture.

The Silence of the Lambs (5)

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The ghastly aftermath of a radical Islamic suicide bomb attack against Christians worshiping at an Easter service in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Christian Massacre

The Easter mass massacre of Christians at their houses of worship by Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka is a barbarous atrocity.  The Federalist published an article that well summarizes this savage attack and places it in worldwide perspective (emphasis added).

… the coordinated bomb blasts aimed at Christian worshippers on Easter Sunday, which killed at least 290 people and injured hundreds more, demonstrates the kind of meticulous planning, funding, resources, and support that is still exclusively the domain of radical Islamic terrorism. It’s not merely that the act was planned to maximize the death toll, but that it is a continuation of long-standing efforts by Islamists to destroy the Christian communities left in Asia.

Those who kill in the name of Islam are part of a worldwide, historic, ideological, and political movement that includes, to various degrees and various reasons, radicalized men and women from both great factions of the faith. Then again, terrorist groups—as well as their recruitment and propaganda outfits—are often functioning in Islamic regimes, which either actively sustain terror, tolerate these groups, or pay them off to engage in terrorism elsewhere.

I predict that even in the face of this enormity the Western Church will at most make a few vague statements of sorrow and then move on.  The sad fact is that many Christians suffer from a sense of self-hatred, seeing Christianity itself as an oppressive force in the world.  Even Christians in Sri Lanka who are completely separate from Western Civilization apparently bear guilt for the sins of Christianity.  Therefore, while it is regrettable that they were attacked, it’s difficult for many Progressive Christians to be outraged at their fate.

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How many people in the West are willing to risk accusations of being “far-right” when that label is tightly associated with “white supremacist” by the dominant Progressive media?  But doesn’t this Progressive position imply that it is only the “far-right” that cares about Christians of other races and nationalities?  If your ideology leads to moronic contradictions then maybe its time to question your ideology.

There’s also the fact that the perpetrators of this atrocity happen to be members of an officially designated victim group.  Therefore, they bear little responsibility for their evil acts because they are just reacting to our acts of oppression.  It doesn’t matter that the attacked Christians are a minority community who live under actual oppression by the majority.

Even those Christians who are outraged find it difficult to break through the general disinterest of their fellows.  They are also often intimidated by the Progressive party line (secular and Christian) that to speak up about this issue is an incitement to hate and violence.  And thus if you speak up it must be because you are a white supremacist, even though you are seeking to protect people of races different than caucasian!  The same Federalist article also addresses this issue.

The idea that a similar threat exists in the West is risible. There’s not a single Western country that doesn’t afford Muslim citizens the same rights it does as all other citizens. No government on Earth supports white supremacy.

There is no funding infrastructure for those who support white power. There is no Christian or Jewish denomination, or any notable political factions, in those nations that imbue white supremacy with any theological or ideological legitimacy. There is no white supremacist government trying to obtain nuclear weapons, and none sending their terrorists to other countries. In the world’s free nations, where any political party can participate in the process, the power of racist groups is minimal.

Yet the American left continues to downplay the danger, first by arguing that Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, then by lumping every white-skinned person who commits a terrorist act into one imaginary coherent political movement to contrast against it.

Let’s be clear, regardless of the reasons why our abandonment of Christians throughout the world to persecution is a scandal of epic proportions.

 

Fire is Destroying Notre Dame Cathedral

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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris France is burning.

One of the most ancient and important monuments to our Christian heritage appears to be burning to the ground.  The thought of this loss is stunning, and brings this Reformed Protestant to near tears.  My prayers go out to the firefighters, the citizens of Paris and France and to all my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ.

Update on 16 April

Apparently the destruction was less than feared yesterday, but tragic all the same.  Perhaps the cathedral can be rebuilt without total loss of that which had stood for over 800 years.

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The New York Post: “Photos show center of Notre Dame cathedral miraculously intact.”

The Silence of the Lambs (4)

Religious Hatred Here and There

How can we place the following statistics on worldwide Christian persecution into perspective?

  • 3,066 killed;
  • 1,252 abducted;
  • 1,020 raped or sexually harassed;
  • 793 churches attacked or destroyed.

After all, aren’t we in the United States bombarded with media reports claiming that, particularly in the “Age of Trump,” our society is saturated with religious hatred that manifests itself in hate crimes?  Were that claim found to be true then we would have no moral right to point our finger at others.

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2017 FBI Hate Crime Data

It turns out that, so concerned is our federal government about the occurrence of hate crimes that the FBI has been directed to collect and publish data in this area.  The FBI publishes this data on an annual basis, the most recent year being 2017.  Thus it is easy to find and assess the level of hate crimes across many years and for many groups including religious, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, etc.

The following figure shows the total number of murders, rapes and arsons identified as motivated by hate against Muslims in the United Stated between 2008 and 2017. Note that so unheard of is abduction motivated by hate that there is no category for this crime.

FBI-Hate-Muslims

The results are likely surprising to some readers.  Please keep in mind that these are results across our entire nation of 320 million inhabitants.  Some of my observations are:

  • The hate crime statistics against Muslims are identical between the year of Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” Presidential campaign and Trump’s 2016 “make America great again” campaign (i.e. 0 murders, 0 rapes and 5 arsons);
  • In the ten years covered not a single rape occurred against a Muslim due to hate in the entire United States;
  • In the ten years covered six murders occurred against a Muslim due to hate in the entire United States, which is well less than one per year on average;
  • In the first year of Trump’s Presidency there were zero murders, rapes and arsons against Muslims due to hate, a result that never occurred during Obama’s Presidency.

What can we conclude but that, in spite of massive Progressive propaganda to the contrary, the United States is an exceedingly tolerant country?  Yes, we are deluged with accusations of Islamophobia, but the actual hate crime data shows the opposite.  The reason for this falsehood’s persistence is that any criticism of the Muslim faith or of some Muslim individuals and organizations is attributed to Islamophobia.  In other words, the Progressives have placed Muslims outside the realm of criticism by designating any concern about their religion or behavior as a kind of mental illness.

And yet Progressives criticize, mock, condemn and yes, hate Christians on a massive scale without being accused of “Christaphobia.”  I must ask, from the Progressive multicultural perspective are only Western Civilization, Christianity and Judaism capable of sin?  Were we to examine the history of Islam, Hinduism, etc. would we find only sweetness and light in their past and present?  Are the past and present for all countries and ethnic groups outside of Western Civilization beyond reproach, beyond criticism?  The apparent Progressive multiculturalist answer is YES!

So, when we note that thousands of Christians are murdered, abducted and raped throughout the world because of their faith we in the United Stated do have moral standing to care and criticize.  For, if the religious tolerance that exists in the United States were replicated throughout the world the number of hate crimes against all people for all reasons would be massively reduced.

Yes, we are far from perfect.  Yes, we sin in a many ways.  Yes there are many and deep reasons to criticize our nation.  But for goodness sake, why can’t we acknowledge and celebrate that a level of tolerance has been achieved here that enables human flourishing at a remarkable level?

We can and must.  For to do otherwise is to become complicit in the Progressive multiculturalist lie that only the West, Christianity and Judaism are capable of sin.  All other religious, ethnic and country peoples are presumed to be either incapable of or justified in their sinful acts.  We Christians have doubly no excuse for supporting this lie.

as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Romans 3:10-12 (ESV)

Am I saying that because Western Civilization is more tolerant then it must be more righteous than all others?  Not at all.  For the righteousness of which the Apostle Paul speaks is the perfect righteousness demanded by God.  As is well said by R.C. Sproul:

Good is a relative term. It is defined against some standard. If we establish what that standard is, we can congratulate ourselves and take comfort in our attainment of it. But if God establishes the standard, and His standard includes outward behavior (that our actions conform perfectly to His law) and internal motivation (that all our acts proceed from a heart that loves Him perfectly), then we quickly see that our pretended “goodness” is no goodness at all. We then understand what Augustine was getting at when he said that man’s best works are nothing more than “splendid vices.”

There are aspects of Western Civilization in which we are far worse than others, with abortion being a particularly shameful and stark example.  But there are other areas, such as religious tolerance, where we have achieved far better results.  We must not denigrate our successes because in other areas we have failed.

Thus we should in clear conscience and loud voice speak up for out brothers and sisters in Christ who are experiencing brutal persecution.  While so doing we must also look at ourselves and recognize that there is great sin at work in the West as well.  But it is inherently unjust and unsustainable to apply one standard to ourselves and another to anyone else.

The Silence of the Lambs (3)

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 5.13.25 AMThe Horrible, Heart-Breaking Details

Unless you read the details behind the (likely conservative) statistics on Christian persecution you can’t begin to appreciate the magnitude and depth of this situation.  Although they are on the whole ignored, there are organizations who pay attention, collect information and seek to educate the West about this issue.  One such group is the Gatestone Institute, who published a monthly report on worldwide Christian persecution.  These stories rarely appear in the mainstream media and are rarely discussed, let alone responded to, in the Western Christian Church.  Here is a tiny fraction from two monthly reports.

January 2019

The Slaughter of Christians

Central African Republic: A militant Islamic group raided a Catholic church compound and massacred dozens of Christians, including two priests, in the small town of Alindao, on November 15. According to the report, the group, which consists of “mainly Muslim and Fulani militia, stormed the cathedral and the nearby refugee camp hosting more than 26,000 people displaced following previous attacks in the town and its surrounding villages.” Pictures and testimonials “revealed the scale of the devastation as dozens of bodies littered the ground, mixed with the burned debris of tents … Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition, while others had been shot or dismembered with machetes. Bishop Juan Jose Aguirre Muños provided more details: “The men of Ali Darassa assaulted, looted and set fire to the displaced camp and killed women and children; they burned down the cathedral where they killed the two priests.” Immediately afterwards, the terrorists “allowed groups of young Muslims of the western part to enter the eastern part of Alindao and looted the bishop’s residence and burned the presbytery and the centre of Caritas.” The same Christian town suffered from a similar attack on May 8, 2017; then, between 130 and several hundred “Christian townspeople and villagers” were butchered. Due to these ongoing attacks, on November 16 the Central African Episcopal Conference issued a statement, saying that the Catholic Church “has become the target of armed groups in Central Africa.” In 2018, five Catholic priests were killed by the Muslim militants in various attacks.

February 2017

The Slaughter of Christians in Egypt

As in January, when five different Christians were killed in four separate hate crimes around the country, another murderous wave took non-Muslim minorities by storm, this time in al-Arish, Sinai. The murders may have resulted from a video released in February by the “Islamic State in Egypt.” In the video, masked militants promise more attacks on the “worshipers of the cross” — a reference to the Coptic Christians of Egypt, of whom they also refer to as their “favorite prey” and “infidels who are empowering the West against Muslim nations.” One of the militants, carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, added, “God gave orders to kill every infidel.”

Muslim Abduction, Rape, Murder and Mutilation of Christian Women

Pakistan: Hours after being dropped off at the Convent of Jesus and Mary school in Punjab by her brother, Tania Mariyam, a 12-year-old Christian girl, was found dead in a canal. Despite all the evidence to the contrary — including her clothes being ripped off and signs of drugging — police investigations concluded that she had committed suicide. After three weeks of pressure from Mariyam’s family and human rights groups, who insisted that the girl had been raped and murdered — as so many Christian girls (and boys) in Pakistan have been before her — police finally conceded that she had not killed herself. Even so, “the severe delays,” says the British Pakistani Christian Association, “mean that much of the evidence has been lost.”

“There was a disgusting police cover up,” the murdered girl’s father said, “and I fear that they have colluded with the murderer and know more than they are letting on. They do not care about Christians.”

How can it be that we in the Western Church are so unaware of this terrible persecution or are aware but so unwilling to provide help?  It’s not because the Bible teaches us to ignore the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Rather quite the opposite.

I do not need to write to you about helping those who belong to Christ.  I know you want to do it. (2 Corinthians 9:1, 2a)

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 2:28)

The Silence of the Lambs (2)

christian-persecution-map

Open Doors estimates that North Korea is the worst persecutor of Christians in the world.  The next eight worst countries are all in the Middle East or Africa.

The Geography of Christian Persecution

There are approximately 2.3 billion Christians in the world today making it the largest religion (the Muslim faith is second at an estimated 1.8 billion adherents).  A recent Gatestone Institute article summarized the situation.

“215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution” around the world, according to Open Doors, a human rights organization. On its recently released World Watch List 2018, which ranks the world’s 50 worst nations wherein to be Christian, 3,066 Christians were killed, 1,252 abducted, and 1,020 raped or sexually harassed on account of their faith; and 793 churches were attacked or destroyed.

By this assessment almost 10% of the world’s Christians live in countries where persecution ranges from “High” to “Extreme.”  Of the nine countries identified as “Extreme,” eight are located in the Middle East or Africa.  The following figure shows the Open Doors map for the Middle East and North East Africa regions.  Names have been added for the eight “Extreme” persecution countries located in these regions.  North Korea was designated as the worst persecutor of Christians in the world.

middle-east-christian-persecution

Open Doors map detail: Middle East and North-Eastern Africa

All eight of these “Extreme” persecution countries are Muslim majority.  However, it should shock the Western Christian conscience that of these eight countries two (Afghanistan at #3 and Iraq at #7) have been occupied by NATO forces for all or most of this century.  Yes, I understand (and support) that NATO is not in these countries as  a colonizer.  However, it speaks volumes that in the two Muslim countries where Western countries have the greatest influence both ended up in the “Extreme” Christian persecution category.  Thus it appears that improving the lot of Christians and other minorities (and women, and children) either wasn’t a priority or the cultural power of persecution is so intractable that even an occupying power is helpless to improve the situation (or a combination of the two).

But the reader may complain that I’m unfairly singling out Muslim countries by focusing primarily on Christian persecution.  For example, aren’t we bombarded with news stories that claim massive increases in hate crimes against Muslims in the United States due to the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency?  Surely in the United States it is now at least as bad for Muslims as it is for Christians in Muslim majority countries.

The Silence of the Lambs (1)

christian-persecution-1

Muslim destruction of Joseph Colony, a Christian region, in Pakistan, 2013

Introduction

One of the primary failures of contemporary Western Christianity is its silence on persecution of Christian communities throughout the world.  This situation was recently highlighted during the absolutely legitimate outrage over the massacre of innocent Muslims as they worshiped at two Mosques in Christchurch New Zealand.  Without a doubt these vile acts of murderous terrorism must be powerfully denounced.  And they were.

However, contemporaneously to this terrible event was another that would seem to be of similar weight, that being the massacre of over one-hundred Christians in central Nigeria.

The mosque attacks were indeed a horrific affair and worthy of universal condemnation. Presidents, prime ministers, royalty, and religious leaders rushed to extend their condolences to victims and their families — as well they should — while decrying the hate that purportedly motivated the shootings.

Without exception, the mainstream media gave top billing to the shootings, with newspapers carrying the story on their front pages and television news channels leading off their broadcasts with the story.

The bizarre aspect of the coverage was not, in fact, the attention paid to a heinous crime committed in New Zealand, but the absolute silence surrounding the simultaneous massacre of scores of Christians by Muslim militants in Africa.

Bible-Microscope

Can only Christians and civilizations built on Christianity sin?

It appears that Western Christianity has become deeply uncomfortable with the idea of standing up for their brothers and sisters in Christ who live under persecution.  Simultaneously we have become obsessed by a sense of shame about the sins of our own civilization while minimizing or ignoring the sins of others.

In this series I will attempt to examine and discuss this strange blindness to evil acts perpetrated against Christians accompanied by our obsessive microscopic examination of our own failings, real or imagined.