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[VIDEO] The Third Jihad: Homeland and Global Terror

In episode 11 of The Third Jihad, Clarion Project looks at the rise of homeland and global terror in the wake of 9/11 and the growing threat, seemingly ignored at home and overseas.

A member of jihadist group Al-Nusra Front stands in a street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on January 11, 2014. Fighting pitting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against other rebel groups -- including Al-Nusra Front, which is also linked to Al-Qaeda but is seen as more moderate -- broke out in Syria last week. AFP PHOTO / BARAA AL-HALABI

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[VIDEO] Should a Creative Professional Have the Freedom to Decline Work that Conflicts with their Conscience or Beliefs?

Everyone agreed that a creative professional should have the foundational freedom to decline work that conflicts with their conscience or beliefs. But, when faced with a situation that goes against current cultural expectations, like a Christian photographer declining to promote a same-sex wedding, the gears start grinding. If a law that forces someone to promote something against their beliefs is so laughable, so unimaginable…then why is it so difficult to extend the same freedom to a Christian creative professional?

Via Mollie Z. Hemingway, Twitter

 

 

 


Florist Who Declined Gay Wedding Request Loses Her Case, Promises Appeal to the Supreme Court

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‘This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist’ 

Kelsey Harkness reports: An appellate court unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs.

“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”

— Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

Lawyers for Stutzman told The Daily Signal they plan to appeal the Washington state Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At National Review, David French writes:

…But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”

“That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm.”

What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.

But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”

That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm. There is no need to prove lack of access to alternative artistic expressions. There is only the need to show that the business owner won’t use her unique talents to help celebrate the sexual revolution.

Finally, if you doubt the court’s malice, look only to its last ruling — that Stutzman can be held personally liable for her allegedly discriminatory act. In other words, the court is willing to pierce the corporate veil to impose individual liability even in the absence of the traditional justifications for that drastic step. Stutzman didn’t commit fraud. She didn’t commingle her personal and corporate funds. She kept her private and professional affairs separate. But she still faces personal financial ruin.

Social-justice warriors will no doubt celebrate the breaking of another egg for their cultural omelet. … (read more)

[Read the full text of David French’s essay here: ‘Washington’s Supreme Court Imposes Its Progressive Faith on a Christian Florist‘]

The ruling, issued on Thursday by Washington’s nine Supreme Court justices, stated that in refusing to provide services for the same-sex couple’s wedding, Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

[Read the full story here, at dailysignal.com]

“The state of Washington bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the ruling reads.

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Prior to the incident, Stutzman enjoyed a close relationship with Ingersoll, serving him for many years.

“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case—refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to [Robert] Ingersoll and [Curt] Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding—constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination].” Read the rest of this entry »


Iraqi Christians Celebrate First Christmas in Lands Liberated from ISIS 

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Thousands of Assyrian Christians fled their homes in northern Iraq when ISIS militants took control in August 2014.

 reports: Several hundred Iraqi Christians flocked on Saturday to a northern town recently retaken from the Islamic State group, celebrating Christmas for the first time since 2013, their joy tainted with sadness over the desecration of their church.

“This is a dark cloud over Iraq. But we will stay here in our land no matter what happens. God is with us.”

— Bishop Shemani, Christmas Eve sermon in Bartella.

Once home to thousands of Assyrian Christians, Bartella emptied in August 2014 when it fell to ISIS’ blitz across large parts of Iraq and neighboring Syria. Iraqi forces took it back in the first few days of the U.S.-backed offensive that started in October.

Women holding candles ululated as they went into the town’s Mar Shimoni church, expressing their joy at returning to the place where many of them said they had been baptized.

“This is the best day of my life. Sometimes I thought it would never come,” said Shurook Tawfiq, a 32-year-old housewife displaced to the nearby Kurdish city of Erbil.

The church was badly damaged during ISIS’ time in control of the town, with crosses taken down, statues of saints defaced and the chancel burnt.

A new cross has been affixed on top of the chapel, while a decorated plastic Christmas tree now stands near the massive gate. Soldiers stood guard nearby and others were posted on rooftops.

A peal of festive bells rang out over the town, which is still largely empty, with many houses reduced to rubble by the fighting that raged two months ago.

“It is a mix of sadness and happiness,” Bishop Mussa Shemani told Reuters before celebrating the Christmas Eve Mass.

“We are sad to see what has been done to our holiest places by our own countrymen, but at the same time we are happy to celebrate the first Mass after two years.”

The region of Nineveh is one of the most ancient settlements of Christianity, going back nearly 2,000 years.

At Mar Shimoni, the congregation sang and prayed in Syriac, a language close to the one spoken by Jesus.

“It’s the church where I was baptized, where I was educated, where I was taught the faith,” said Bahnam Shamanny, the editor of Bartelli al-Syriann, a monthly local newspaper. Read the rest of this entry »


Betsy McCaughey: Hillary’s Blindness to Muslim Extremists is Dangerous

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton answers a question during a town hall event at Old Brick Church and Community Center in Iowa City, Iowa, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

Betsy McCaughey writes: Hillary Clinton chose Minneapolis — with its growing enclave of fundamentalist Muslim refugees — to announce her plan to combat terrorism on Tuesday. That’s like choosing Baskin-Robbins to announce your weight-loss plans.

Clinton offered little more than platitudes like: “We have to do more to address the challenge of radicalization.” Meanwhile, that challenge was right under her nose.

“Clinton saved her scorn for Americans, saying they should be ashamed for demonizing Muslims here. She called for ’empowering Muslim-American communities.’ But which Muslim-Americans is she talking about? Some Muslims are our friends, but others want to kill us. That’s true here — and worldwide.”

The city’s huge Somali refugee population makes it a symbol of the problem, not the solution. Some 30,000 have been placed there by the federal government. Many of them say they would rather live under Islamic religious law — Sharia — than American law, and resist adapting to American ways. Their ideology makes them ripe for jihadization.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley take the stage during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley take the stage during a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

“Moderate Muslims here are not a problem. But fundamentalist Muslims pose a high risk. Hillary cheerfully overlooked this distinction.”

Indeed, dozens of young men from this Muslim enclave have left to fight with radical Islamists in Somalia and Syria. “We have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota,” reports Andy Luger, a federal prosecutor there.

The key to Hillary’s anti-terrorism plan is the empty hope that Muslims in America will self-police. “They are the best positioned to block anything going forward.” Don’t count on it. As the ongoing San Bernardino shooting investigation shows, even Muslims who aren’t stockpiling AK-47s can’t be counted on to report what their family members or acquaintances are doing.

[Read the full story here, at New York Post]

Clinton saved her scorn for Americans, saying they should be ashamed for demonizing Muslims here. She called for “empowering Muslim-American communities.” But which Muslim-Americans is she talking about? Some Muslims are our friends, but others want to kill us. That’s true here — and worldwide.

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“A Pew Research report tells us where the danger spots are. A shocking 99 percent of Afghanistan’s Muslims, 91 percent of Iraqi Muslims and 84 percent of Pakistani Muslims identify themselves as fundamentalists who favor Sharia law.”

Clinton took aim at Donald Trump’s proposal to suspend all Muslims from coming to the United States. But Trump’s idea is not as dangerous as Hillary’s insistence that anti-Muslim rhetoric is what incites Muslims to terrorism. That’s delusional.

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“Equally jaw-dropping, 39 percent of Afghanistan’s Muslims say they consider violent acts such as suicide bombings always or sometimes justified ‘in defense of Islam.'”

Moderate Muslims here are not a problem. But fundamentalist Muslims pose a high risk. Hillary cheerfully overlooked this distinction. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REASON TV: Do College Students Hate Free Speech? Let’s Ask Them

The faculty council at Occidental College is considering instituting a system for students to report microaggressions perpetrated against them by faculty members or other students.

Reason TV visited Occidental’s campus to find out what exactly constitutes a microaggression. One Columbia psychology professor defined the term this way: Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

After exploring the limitations of a microaggression reporting system, we discussed broader free speech issues with the students in the wake of a month of campus protests that resulted in the resignations of several faculty members and a university president.

Most of the students defended free speech in principle, if not always in practice. This is consistent with a recent Pew Research Center survey, which found that although 95 percent of Americans agree that people should be allowed to publicly criticize government policies, support erodes when the question turns to offensive speech. While a majority of millennials still believe that the government should protect speech offensive to minorities, a whopping 40 percent believe the government should restric such speech. Read the rest of this entry »


Russell Moore: Why Christians Must Speak Out Against Donald Trump’s Muslim Remarks

Trump calls for ‘total and complete’ shutdown of Muslims entering U.S.

Donald Trump is at it again. This time, the Republican presidential front-runner suggested that the United States close the border to all Muslims — including Muslim Americans traveling abroad. Anyone who cares an iota about religious liberty should denounce this reckless, demagogic rhetoric.

“The U.S. government should fight, and fight hard, against radical Islamic jihadism. The government should close the borders to anyone suspected of even a passing involvement with any radical cell or terrorist network. But the government should not penalize law-abiding people, especially those who are U.S. citizens, for holding their religious convictions.”

Trump, of course, is a master of knowing and seizing a moment. The country is reeling from a terrorist attack by two Islamic radicals. Moreover, the president seems to many to have little plan to eradicate the threat of the Islamic State from building a massive caliphate in the Middle East and exporting terror all over the world.

“Muslims are an unpopular group these days. And I would argue that nonviolent Muslim leaders have a responsibility to call out terror and violence and jihad.”

Enter the Man in the Trump Tower with a plan to “get tough” by closing the borders to Muslims, all Muslims, simply because they are Muslim.

“At the same time, those of us who are Christians ought to stand up for religious liberty not just when our rights are violated but on behalf of others, too.”

As an evangelical Christian, I could not disagree more strongly with Islam. I believe that salvation comes only through union with Jesus Christ, received through faith. As part of the church’s mission, we believe we should seek to persuade our Muslim neighbors of the goodness and truth of the gospel.

“It is not in spite of our gospel conviction, but precisely because of it, that we should stand for religious liberty for everyone.”

The Revolutionary-era Baptist preacher John Leland repeatedly included “the Turks” in his list of religious freedoms he was demanding from the politicians of his time (including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison). Leland wanted to make it clear that his concept of religious freedom was not dependent on a group’s political power. He chose the most despised religious minority of the time, with no political collateral in his context, to make the point that religious freedom is a natural right bestowed by God, not a grant given by the government.

[Read the full story here, at the Washington Post]

The governing authorities have a responsibility, given by God, to protect the population from violence and to punish the evildoers who perpetrate such violence (Romans 13:1-7). The governing powers, as with every earthly power, have a limited authority. The government cannot exalt itself as a lord over the conscience, a god over the soul. Read the rest of this entry »


Chris Harper Mercer, Terrorist? Umpqua Gunman Fan of the Irish Republican Army

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The Daily Beast reports:

…Mercer reportedly demanded to know victims’ religions before opening killing them, according to witnesses and authorities.

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A MySpace account belonging to Christopher Harper-Mercer is registered to Torrance, California. Harper-Mercer and his mother previously lived in Torrance before moving to an apartment in Winchester, Oregon, where neighbors tell The Daily Beast there is a heavy police presence currently.

ira_quote_by_ookami_no_getsuei

The MySpace page features a photo of Harper-Mercer holding a gun and smiling into the camera. The profile includes images of pro-Irish Republican Army propaganda….(read more)

Source: The Daily Beast


Dr. Krauthammer: Obama’s ‘100 Percent Knee Jerk Reaction’ Came ‘When Bodies Still Warm’ 

“I don’t doubt that the president’s statement was 100 percent sincere and 100 percent knee-jerk. He has no idea what the gun is, how it was obtained, who the person is, and what the person’s motive is.”

Krauthammer said on Thursday’s Special Report.

[See the VIDEO here, at National Review Online]

“What does he do if it turns out he was a terrorist? We don’t know whether it is or not and to make a pronouncement at this time when – I hate to say it, the bodies are still warm and the wound reasonable doubt now in surgery — I think is at least premature.”

Source: National Review Online


Rogier van der Weyden: ‘The Last Judgment’, 1446-1452, Oil on Wood 


Media Reminder: ‘Obama-Is-A-Muslim’ Campaign Begun by Hillary Clinton in 2008

Hillary Clinton Awarded The 2013 Lantos Human Rights Prize

John Nolte writes: While our corrupt media frenzies over the fact that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump did not defend Barack Obama at a campaign event last night, there is one teensy-weensy detail the media is choosing to hide from everyone: It was Hillary Clinton who started the Obama-Is-A-Muslim rumors.PANTSUIT-REPORT

The reason this is pertinent is due to the fact that our feckless media is (again) trying to crucify Trump, his time for not vouching for Obama’s Christian faith after a questioner at a campaign event accused Obama of being a Muslim.

This is more bubbled overreach from our stupid media. Nobody cares that Trump didn’t defend Obama. It’s a stupid headline: Trump Doesn’t Defend Most Powerful Man In The World – a tempest in The Acela  Teapot.

obama-brietbart

But the media is telling a huge lie of omission.hillary-tall

And they know it.

The root of the Birther/Obama-Is-A-Muslim movement can be found in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign.

That’s a fact.

That’s science.

Hillary Clinton is the grandmother of  the Birther movement.

Nevertheless, although they are well aware of this, hack reporters like NBC’s Andrea Mitchell aren’t asking Hillary about her clear responsibility here. Nope. Instead, today Mitchell chose to ignore this fact and instead ask Hillary three questions teeing up Trump as the villain.

It wasn’t Trump who sent the photo above to everyone.

All he did was blow off a loon. Read the rest of this entry »


Archaeology: Decapitation in Medieval Ireland

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katyFor Bones Don’t Lie writes: Beheading was a popular mode of execution throughout human history – it is dramatic, final and is often part of a public display of power by the victors over the soon to be deceased. Whenever I think about this type of execution, I think back to the famous paintings of Judith slaying Holofernes. When I was a high school student, I took a summer art course where we had to do a large oil painting as our final project. I did a version of Judith slaying Holofernes, complete with a triumphant female in purple robes holding a bloodied sword and a decapitated head.

“Decapitation comes from the Latin capitis- meaning head, and is the separation of the head from the body which results in death. Severing the head causes all other organs within the body to fail and deprives the brain of oxygen.”

Perhaps it isn’t surprising then that I’m a mortuary archaeologist… Moving on, decapitation and beheading actually have quite a long history, although it can be difficult to interpret this from the archaeological record. In addition to the execution style of head removal, we’ve seen certain cases where heads were removed after death as a form of ancestor veneration (see this article on Neolithic burials from the Near East and this one on gladiators), so the removal of the head cannot be assumed to mean something negative or violent- we need to look closely at the context and bioarchaeology.

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The double burial of two adult males CCLXXX and CCLXXXI dating from AD 656 to 765 from Mount Gamble, Dublin both displaying evidence of decapitation with both skulls in situ (O’Donovan and Geber 2009, 73).

Beheading in particular refers to an intentional decapitation, including murder or execution. These terms don’t refer to the method of decapitation, so it can be done with axe, sword, knife, wire, or guillotine. In beheadings, the act is carried out by a professional executioner known as a ‘headsman’.”

First, let’s quickly review some terms. Decapitation comes from the Latin capitis- meaning head, and is the separation of the head from the body which results in death. Severing the head causes all other organs within the body to fail and deprives the brain of oxygen. Beheading in particular refers to an intentional decapitation- including murder or execution. These terms don’t refer to the method of decapitation, so it can be done with axe, sword, knife, wire, or guillotine. In beheadings, the act is carried out by a professional executioner known as a ‘headsman’.

[Read the full text here, at Bones Don’t Lie]

A new article by Carty (2015) examines osteological evidence for decapitation from different skeletal assemblages from the Irish medieval period (6th to 16th century). Text from this period argues that decapitation was used primarily in warfare and as a form of punishment. Read the rest of this entry »


Rock Paper Scissors: Christian Who Asked Gay Rights Bakery to Bake Anti-Gay Marriage Cake May Face Legal Action

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Cake Fake Controversy Enters Twilight Zone

Donna Rachel Edmunds reports: A bakery that has refused to bake a cake with an anti-gay wedding message has found itself at the centre of controversy. But unlike mirror image cases in which Christian bakers have been taken to court for refusing to bake pro-gay marriage cakes, this time, it is the Christian to tried to place the order who may face legal action.

The latest skirmish in an ongoing battle between Christians and gay rights campaigners began when pastor Josh Feuerstein called Cut the Cake in Longwood, Florida to request a sheet cake with the slogan “We do not support gay marriage” written on it.

Sharon Haller, owner of Cut the Cake, who took the call, asked Feuerstein whether the request was a prank (it took place on April 1st), before refusing to bake the cake saying “We wouldn’t do that, sorry”. She then hung up without explaining her reasons.

The brief call was recorded by Feuerstein who then turned to the camera to give his views on the debate currently taking place.

“It obviously violates her principles, so she doesn’t feel like she should be forced to make the cake. And yet there is all of this hoopla because Christian bakeries think that they shouldn’t be forced,” he said. “We’re getting to the place in America now where Christians are not allowed any form of freedom of speech.

“Have we gotten to the point in America where the left is so ‘open minded’ that they’re close minded to anybody that doesn’t agree with them, or is America big enough for different points of view? Christian bakeries should never be forced to do something that violates their Christian principles. That’s not American.

“I love gay people. This is nothing against gay people. This is about religious freedom.”

Feuerstein posted the video to YouTube, but according to WND he removed the video when Haller started to receive harassing phone calls and messages on Facebook. However, Haller then posted the video herself to the Cut the Cake Facebook page, commenting “Yes the video has been deleted by Joshua Feuerstein but the damage is done! Our reviews have been marred and our business reviews are no longer the same. We thought this was a prank! Look for yourself.”

Haller told local media that she had received intimidating calls and even death threats from people all over the country who had seen the video. “People (are) telling us that we need to kill ourselves and all kinds of stuff, and we’re just afraid for our business and our safety,” she said. Local police stepped up patrols in her area. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama’s Clown-Car Diplomacy

In which our resident scholar on all things Middle-East – and circus related, Andrew Klavan, explains Barack Obama’s policy for that troubled region. Think of it as Smart Diplomacy for Dummies…


Resurrection of Christ, by Dürer

Resurrection

Print: Resurrection of Christ by Dürer – 


[VIDEO] Ben Shapiro: Why Jews Vote Leftist?

Ben Shapiro takes a clear-eyed look at why American Jews vote for the anti-Israel Left.


HOAX: ‘Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei Has Issued a Fatwa Against the Development of Nuclear Weapons’

mideast-iran-nuclear-phantom-fatwa

Why the Phantom Fatwa?

I wrote about President Obama’s March 19 statement on the Persian new yearin “Our Supreme Leader is a Supreme Fool.” In the statement Obama asserted: “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, and President Rouhani has said that Iran would never develop a nuclear weapon.”

It Doesn’t Exist

Obama’s assertion follows closely on Secretary of State Kerry’s assertion to the same effect. I quoted Kerry’s citation of the fatwa in “Of fatuity and fatwas.”

The fatwa, however, doesn’t exist. It has never been seen. As Andrew McCarthy explains, the fatwa is a patent hoax. Andy writes (emphasis in original): “The invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has done extensive research into compilations of Khamenei’s published fatwas…No such fatwa has ever been published.” Andy links to MEMRI’s two 2013 posts in search of the fatwa in the omitted sentence.

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In a post at the Weekly Standard, Tom Joscelyn now simply asks of these gentlemen to whom the protection of our national security has been entrusted: “Produce the fatwa.” This is a perfectly reasonable request.

We heard the incessant yammering of the left about President Bush’s scrupulously accurate “16 words” in the 2003 State of the Union Address. The deal the Obama administration is about to produce with the Islamic Republic is enormously consequential. Obama and Kerry would have us believe that the fatwa they cite carries some significant weight in their case, otherwise why the repeated references to it? Yet it doesn’t exist. Read the rest of this entry »


Hillary Email Scandal: TMZ Doing the Job the Media Won’t

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John Noltenolte writes: When it comes to the current scandal surrounding Democrat Hillary Clinton, the gossip/celebrity site TMZ is doing the job the mainstream media won’t. In the search for answers, TMZ was willing to send a staffer to the airport in the hopes that Ms. Clinton would answer questions about the scandal brewing around her decision to use only a private email hosted on her private server while serving as Secretary of State.

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Two questions:

  1. Why wasn’t the mainstream media camped out with TMZ in the hopes of getting some answers?
  2. Why isn’t this video of Hillary refusing to answer running every fifteen minutes on cable news? I haven’t seen it once.

[Also see – How pathetic is THIS? Hey, MSM, ‘TMZ just ate your lunch’ on Hillary emails]

The answer of course is simple: Democrats sure got it good. Read the rest of this entry »


Cartoon of the Day

ISIS-cartoon


Byron York: Why are Americans Confused About Obama’s Religion?

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In 1985, Barack Obama had just arrived in Chicago for his new job as a community organizer when he headed to Smitty’s Barbershop, a tiny storefront on the South Side. As Smitty cut his hair, Obama listened to the men in the shop talk politics and racial grievance. When the barber finished, he handed Obama a mirror and said, “Haircuts ten dollars. What’s your name, anyway?”

“Barack.”

“Barack, huh,” Smitty responded. “You a Muslim?”

“Grandfather was,” Obama said, according to his memoir Dreams From My Father.

Smitty’s question, which Obama didn’t exactly answer, prefigured a controversy that continues to this day…

airforceone-obama-india

Byron Yorkyork writes: Fresh from a controversy over his views on evolution, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker is now involved in a controversy over his views, or lack of them, on President Obama’s religion. On Saturday, two Washington Post reporters asked Walker, in the nation’s capital for a governor’s meeting, whether Obama is a Christian. Walker said he didn’t know.

Informed by the reporters that Obama is in fact a Christian, Walker replied, “I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” protesting that the president’s religion is not a topic of great interest to voters. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue,” Walker told the Post.

“In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.”

Nevertheless, the story created at least a minor explosion in the political press, and Democrats quickly used it to attack a Republican who has recently risen to the top tier of the GOP 2016 presidential field.

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But when it comes to confusion, or wrong information, about Obama’s religion, Scott Walker is far from alone. Polls have long shown many Americans know little about the president’s faith.

“One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian.”

In June, 2012, Gallup asked, “Do you happen to know the religious faith of Barack Obama?” Forty-four percent said they did not know, while 36 percent said he is a Christian, 11 percent said he is a Muslim, and eight percent said he has no religion. The “don’t know” group included 36 percent of Democrats. (A larger number of Republicans, 47 percent, said they didn’t know Obama’s religion, as did 46 percent of independents.)

“By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well.”

In August, 2010, a Pew poll made news when it found that 18 percent of those surveyed believed Obama is a Muslim. But just as notably, 43 percent of respondents in that survey told Pew they didn’t know Obama’s religion. Among those who said they didn’t know were 41 percent of Democrats.

obama-religion

One notable suggestion in the Pew survey was that in Obama’s first couple of years in office, as Americans became more familiar with him as president, they became less sure of his religious faith. In March 2009, shortly after Obama entered the White House, 34 percent said they did not know his religion, while 48 percent identified him as a Christian. By August 2010, the number of Americans who said they did not know Obama’s religion had grown to 43 percent, while the number who identified him as Christian fell to 34 percent. The trend was true not just of the president’s political opponents but of his supporters as well. “Even among Democrats, fewer than half (46 percent) now identify his religion as Christian, down from 55 percent last year,” Pew wrote in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


Kevin D. Williamson: Rudy is Right

Barack Obama

Barack Obama Doesn’t Even Like America

Kevin D. Williamsonkevin-williamson writes: Rudy Giuliani is in the stocks for saying that he does not believe that President Barack Obama “loves America.” He said this at a small, private dinner for Scott Walker, who probably will not be inviting Giuliani to very many events in the near future.

Giuliani went on to say that he wasn’t questioning the president’s patriotism — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — only noting that the president’s rhetoric is decidedly low-cal on the American exceptionalism but full-fat when it comes to criticism.rev-wright-obama

“For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States…”

It may be the case that the president is a practitioner of the Smokey Robinson school of patriotism: “I don’t like you, but I love you.” Something’s really got a hold on this guy, and it is not an excessive fervor for the American order.

“…Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy…”

[Read the full text here, at National Review Online]

Questions about patriotism and love of country are, according to our self-appointed referees, out of bounds, déclassé, boob bait for bubbas, etc. Those are questions that we are not allowed to ask in polite society. Why? holden_caulfield__finished_by_westwolf270Because polite society does not want to hear the answers.

“There is a personality type common among the Left’s partisans, and it has a name: Holden Caulfield. He is adolescent, perpetually disappointed, and ever on the lookout for phoniness and hypocrisy.”

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign a-kornacki-rudyevents — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc. A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it.

[Also see – Lunatic,’ ‘Repugnant’ Rudy Giuliani says Obama doesn’t ‘love America’; Media hits the ‘fainting couches’ – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dr. Krauthammer: Obama Doesn’t Have a Strategy for Islamic Radicalism Because He Doesn’t Think It Exists

“We complain he doesn’t have a strategy in the war on radical Islam — the reason he doesn’t have a strategy is because he thinks there is no need for a strategy because it is random violence.”

Obama basically thinks the issue of Islamic terrorism would go away if the press would just stop hyping the danger it presents, Krauthammer said, which is all the more terrifying….(read more)

“He thinks, and he says it openly, this is like the fighting of crime in the city. There is no unifying ideology of the criminals of a city. You go after one after another.”

National Review Online


[VIDEO] Dr. K: ‘Mr. President, the Crusades Were 800 Years Ago!’

“Everything he does is to minimize what’s happening, to hold us back and to essentially deny the gravity of what’s happening.”

Charles Krauthammer, pointing to the president’s “astonishing” comments at today’s National Prayer Breakfast.

“That’s why today he had to compare it to the Crusades and to the Inquisition, which is simply astonishing. Mr. President, the Crusades were 800 years ago, and the Inquisition 500 years ago. What’s happening right now is not Christians on the march. It is radical Islam.”

[Also see – Obama: You know, Christians were just as bad as ISIS a few centuries ago – Noah Rothman, Hot Air]

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It is unclear, said Krauthammer, whether the president makes these comparisons “because he thinks we will overreact, or because he genuinely believes this is not the threat that Jordan thinks it is, that Americans think it is…(read more)

National Review Online


‘That’s A Tempting Offer, But I Think I’ll Pass’

(c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The Temptation of Christ

by Ary Scheffer

Date painted: 1854

Oil on canvas, 222.5 x 151.6 cm

Collection: National Museums Liverpool


Who Celebrated the Sept. 11 Attacks?

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The politically correct version of the September 11 attacks holds that the Muslim world rejected such violence as un-Islamic and condemned the attacks.  This is not true.  The Muslim world celebrated the attacks.

Palestinians dance in the street at the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon, Sept. 11, 2001. Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps celebrated the attacks in the United States by firing into the air. (AP Photo/Mohamed Zatari) Copyright 2001 The Herald-Dispatch

Palestinians dance in the street at the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern port city of Sidon, Sept. 11, 2001. Palestinians in Lebanon’s refugee camps celebrated the attacks in the United States by firing into the air. (AP Photo/Mohamed Zatari)  Copyright 2001 The Herald-Dispatch

I took a trip to Egypt a few years ago to do the usual tourist lap around the pyramids and up the Nile.  Our guide was a Copticpali2 Christian.  During a quiet moment in Cairo, I asked him what the Egyptian reaction was to Sep 11.  He said they celebrated.  They marvelled at the cleverness of the attackers and considered it quite a victory.  After a month, the government decided that such public celebrations of American deaths were not in its best interests and prohibited them.  That stopped them cold, though they continued behind closed doors.

Here are some anecdotes of those celebrations, anecdotes that never seemed to have been picked up by the liberal media.

“In Germany, Muslims grow apart”; Peter Schneider; New York Times; December 4, 2005 …(read more)

In Germany, Muslims celebrated with rockets… 

But tolerance of Muslim immigrants began to change in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. Parallel to the declarations of “unconditional solidarity” with Americans by the German majority, rallies of another sort were taking place in Neukölln and Kreuzberg. Bottle rockets were set off from building courtyards, a poor man’s fireworks: two rockets here, three rockets there. Altogether, hundreds of rockets were shooting skyward in celebration, just as most Berliners were searching for words to express their horror. For many German residents in Neukölln and Kreuzberg, Vogelsang recalls, that was the first time they stopped to wonder who their neighbors really were…(more)

Whooping It Up: In Beirut, even Christians celebrated the atrocity

Wall Street Journal; Saturday, September 22, 2001 12:01 a.m. EDTBEIRUT–Where were you on Sept. 11, when terrorists changed the world? I was at the National Museum here, enjoying the wonders of the ancient Phoenicians with my husband. This tour of past splendor only magnified the shock I received later when I heard the news and saw the reactions all around me. Read the rest of this entry »


Archaeological News: Ancient Last Supper charm found in John Rylands Library

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The 1,500-year-old papyrus charm discovered in the vaults 

The fragment was found at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library by researcher Dr Roberta Mazza.

“The first ever found to refer to the Last Supper and use magic in the Christian context.”

Dr Mazza said it was an “incredibly rare example of the Bible becoming meaningful to ordinary people”.

She said it would have been put in a locket to protect wearers from danger. Read the rest of this entry »


Kirsten Powers on Iraqi Christian Nightmare: ‘Thanks to ISIS Persecution, Mosul is Without Christians for the First Time in 2,000 Years’

Photo: Ahmad al-Rubaye, AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq’s Christians are begging the world for help. Is anybody listening?

For USA TodayKirsten Powers writes: Since capturing the country’s second largest city of Mosul in early June, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered Christians to convert to Islam, pay jizyataxes levied on non-Muslims, or die. The extremist Sunni group is also persecuting and murdering Turkmen and Shabaks, both Muslim religious minorities.

 “This is a crime against humanity.”

Human rights lawyer Nina Shea described the horror in Mosul to me: “(ISIS) took the Christians’ houses, took the cars they were driving to leave. They took all their money. One old woman had her life savings of $40,000, and she said, ‘Can I please have 100 dollars?’, and they said no. They took wedding rings off fingers, chopping off fingers if they couldn’t get the ring off.”

“There is nothing to go back to even if ISIS left

“We now have 5,000 destitute, homeless people with no future,” Shea said. “This is a crime against humanity.”

For the first time in 2,000 years, Mosul is devoid of Christians. Read the rest of this entry »


CHILL: The Veiled Mannequins of Mosul


He is Risen! What Christians Believe About Easter, and Why

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“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”

—Luke 24:5–6 (ESV)

For Breitbart.com writes:  “He is risen!” For centuries, it was proclaimed in the streets on Easter morning. It was a way that Christians identified each other on this day, as another Christian hearing it would respond, “He is risen indeed!”

Easter was the hope of an eternal existence, and one that has baffled scholars for centuries to explain. It’s hard to come up with a theory that explains it all away.

There was a sizeable group of men and women, whose leader claimed to be divine. They saw their leader arrested, tortured with a series of savage punishments that often proved deadly in their own right, nailed to a wooden cross through his hands and feet by professional executioners who crucified convicts on a regular basis, hung on that cross for hours until he was dead, then one soldier thrust a spear into his chest to confirm his demise before taking him down. The soldiers involved in this process would themselves be executed if a person handed over to them for termination was let go alive, so they tended to be thorough. After that point, his body was wrapped in burial clothes and he was put in a tomb under guard. His followers fled in fear and despair.

Then three days later they say they saw him, and spent time with him over a period of days. They said they spoke with him, ate food with him, and walked with him. Then they say he was taken up before their eyes into heaven. And for the rest of their lives, they would travel the known world heedless of any dangers, talking about Jesus Christ and writing the New Testament of the Bible. They were persecuted and executed one by one, yet still continued with unabated zeal for decades until their last breath. Read the rest of this entry »


An Atheists Case For Religious Liberty

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I’ve yet to see an atheist from the secular right emerge to make this case, it’s long overdue.

 writes:  I am an atheist, which puts me firmly on the secular right. There aren’t a whole lot of us, but we’re out here, in some surprising places.

Yet I consider the current campaign against religious liberty—the attempt to coerce Christians into providing service to gay weddings or to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees, against the dictates of their faith—to be a deep cultural crisis.

Why? Above all, because the sight of a bully using a club to force someone else to violate his conscience is inherently repugnant. As a humanist, what I regard as “sacred” is the power of the human mind to think and make judgments. To put this in terms borrowed from religion, when someone uses coercion to overrule the judgment of their victim’s mind, they are defiling my temple.

But there is another, more practical reason. History shows that the only way to fight for freedom of thought is to defend it early, when it comes under threat forothers—even people you strongly disagree with, even people you despise. So I’m willing to fight for it for people who are much worse, by my standards, than your average Christian.

Read the rest of this entry »


Conservative Professor Who Was Denied Promotion Wins First Amendment Lawsuit

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This is good news. Not surprising, I read about this when it the lawsuit first emerged, and was impressed by how solid Adams’ case is, his rights clearly violated, in a provable way. Which is not always very easy to demonstrate, and helps explain why there aren’t more cases like this.

The Daily Caller‘s Robby Soave reports:

First Amendment enthusiasts are thrilled that Mike Adams, a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, won his lawsuit against administrators who denied him a promotion because of his conservative, Christian views.

“To be able to speak freely without retaliation is a principle that should be a reality on campus and the jurors reassured that.”

— Travis Barham, attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom

Adams joined the university in 1993. He was an atheist at the time. By the year 2000, he had converted to Christianity and become an outspoken political conservative. He eventually wrote columns for Townhall.com.

In 2006, he was denied a promotion. Administrators were retaliating against him for his conservative views, he claimed.

The jury agreed.

Read the rest of this entry »


Syrian Jihadists Are Forcing Christians to Become Dhimmis Under Seventh-Century Rules

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Nina Shea, co-author of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, and director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom has an item in The Corner about religious persecution in Syria that caught my eye, go here for the full story. Here’s a preview:

Shea writes:

The religious persecution in Syria deepened this week, as evidenced by a written ultimatum purportedly distributed by the rebel jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to Christians in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa. Rejecting conversion to Islam or death, some 20 Christian leaders of that city held firm in their faith and submitted to the Islamists’ demands to live by as dhimmis.

Under this arrangement, in exchange for their lives and the ability to worship as Christians, they must abide by purported seventh-century rules of the Caliph Umar. According to the Raqqa ultimatum, these include bans on renovating and rebuilding churches and monasteries, many of which need repair because they’ve been shelled and blown up over the past three years, and bans against the public display of crosses and Christian symbols and the ringing of bells. They are forbidden from reading scripture indoors loud enough for Muslims outside to hear, and the practice of their faith must be confined within the walls of their remaining churches, not exercised publicly (at, for example, funeral or wedding processions).

They are prohibited from saying anything offensive about Muslims or Islam. The women must be enshrouded, and alcohol is banned.

Read the rest of this entry »