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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 »

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[VIDEO] Cheers! Over 100 Million Guns Sold in US Since Obama Became President 

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

William La Jeunesse reported today on FOX News that 100 million guns have been sold in the US since Obama became president. Today’s increase in sales is nationwide not just in California. La Jeunesse said:

“Americans are not just putting them in their closet and waiting for a burglary. They’re taking classes on how to protect themselves. Background checks on Black Friday topped 185,000 that’s 8,000 guns sold every hour. 2,000,000 in November and and almost 20 million this year.”

Source: The Gateway Pundit

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Terrorism Isn’t Scaring Americans; Obama Is 

News Flash for Barack Obama: Americans are not afraid of terrorism. We’re afraid of you.

Andrew Malcolm writes: Your chronic diffidence, dismissal and downplaying terrorism — especially from radical jihadi extremists, in both word and deed — is scaring the hell out of your countrymen.

“Obama seems so dim, so unwilling and/or unable to grasp the international reality of terror beyond rhetoric that there’s now more fear about his military myopia. We expect arrogance from Harvard grads. But not stupidity.”

Get over it! It’s not cool. Nor is it presidentially-composed to disregard the palpable fear that permeates America today. Even if we’re all so ignorant, naive and unworldly as to elect you twice.

Leading from behind does not work as United States commander-in-chief.

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Sunday night was only Obama’s third Oval Office address. (Scroll down for the C-SPAN video.) The first was also overdue, about the Gulf oil spill. The second was a victory lap about withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq, which created the inviting power vacuum for the current ISIS problem.

It’s one measure of the detached president’s willful public cluelessness about terrorism that the big news from Sunday evening’s 1,970 words was his admission that last week’s San Bernardino attack killing 14 was terrorism. Is there any sentient American who hadn’t figured that out? The clues were as abundant as empty shell casings. And a garage pipe-bomb factory did not speak of global warming.

In fact, such Obama condescension fuels our fears, that he feels the need to share with us the obvious, belatedly, from within his towering intellect and fortified residence.

“The threat from terrorism is real,” added President Sherlock Holmes. Imagine President Roosevelt informing the nation that Japan’s Pearl Harbor bombing 74 years ago this morning was an attack. And waiting four days to do so.

That’s the country’s core concern right now. Obama keeps saying accurately the top priority of any U.S. president is protecting the people. No sensible person wants war. All presidents should be reluctant warriors, never committing — or withdrawing — American volunteers for mere political purposes. Read the rest of this entry »


Hamtramck, Michigan: In 1st Majority-Muslim U.S. City, Residents Tense About its Future

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HAMTRAMCK, MICH. — Sarah Pullman Bailey reports: Karen Majewski was in such high demand in her vintage shop on a recent Saturday afternoon that a store employee threw up her hands when yet another visitor came in to chat. Everyone wanted to talk to the mayor about the big political news.

“In many ways, Hamtramck is a microcosm of the fears gripping parts of the country since the Islamic State’s attacks on Paris: The influx of Muslims here has profoundly unsettled some residents of the town long known for its love of dancing, beer, paczki pastries and the pope.”

Earlier this month, the blue-collar city that has been home to Polish Catholic immigrants and their descendents for more than a century became what demographers think is the first jurisdiction in the nation to elect amajority-Muslim council.

A statue of Pope John Paul II in Hamtramck’s Pope Park is a nod to the city’s Polish American beginnings. (Salwan Georges/For The Washington Post)

It’s the second tipping for Hamtramck (pronounced Ham-tram-ik), which in 2013 earned the distinction becoming of what appears to be the first majority-Muslim city in the United States following the arrival of thousands of immigrants from Yemen, Bangladesh and Bosnia over a decade.

“There’s definitely a strong feeling that Muslims are the other. It’s about culture, what kind of place Hamtramck will become. There’s definitely a fear, and to some degree, I share it.”

— Majewski, whose family emigrated from Poland in the early 20th century

In many ways, Hamtramck is a microcosm of the fears gripping parts of the country since the Islamic State’s attacks on Paris: The influx of Muslims here has profoundly unsettled some residents of the town long known for its love of dancing, beer, paczki pastries and the pope.

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski adjusts hats inside her store, Tekla Vintage. (Salwan Georges/For The Washington Post)

“It’s traumatic for them,” said Majewski, a dignified-looking woman in a brown velvet dress, her long, silvery hair wound in a loose bun.

“Business owners within 500 feet of one of Hamtramck’s four mosques can’t obtain a liquor license, she complained, a notable development in a place that flouted Prohibition-era laws by openly operating bars. The restrictions could thwart efforts to create an entertainment hub downtown.”

Around her at the Tekla Vintage store, mannequins showcased dresses, hats and jewelry from the mid-20th century, and customers fingered handbags and gawked at the antique dolls that line the store, which sits across the street from Srodek’s Quality Sausage and the Polish Art Center on Joseph Campau Avenue, the town’s main drag.

“I don’t know why people keep putting religion into politics. When we asked for votes, we didn’t ask what their religion was.”

— Almasmari, who received the highest percentage of votes(22 percent) of any candidate

Majewski, whose family emigrated from Poland in the early 20th century, admitted to a few concerns of her own. Business owners within 500 feet of one of Hamtramck’s four mosques can’t obtain a liquor license, she complained, a notable development in a place that flouted Prohibition-era laws by openly operating bars. The restrictions could thwart efforts to create an entertainment hub downtown, said the pro-commerce mayor.

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

And while Majewski advocated to allow mosques to issue calls to prayer, she understands why some longtime residents are struggling to adjust to the sound that echos through the city’s streets five times each day. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Candidate Reaction’: Rubio Says U.S. Must Lead Coalition to ‘Humiliate’ ISIS

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Rubio said that the safe havens of ISIS must be targeted, namely in Syria.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio said the terror attacks in Paris are part of “a civilizational conflict,” and that Islamic terror needs to be confronted as that.

“I believe we need to subject ISIS to high profile humiliating defeat, meaning Special Operations attacks that are filmed, basically, so we can show the world that these are not invincible people.”

The Florida senator said Islamic terrorists think that “the entire world needs to believe in what they believe in, or you die.”

“This president has chosen not to pursue that because he thinks politically for him it’s admitting that we’re re-engaged in another hostility in the Middle East. So he’s trying to do the bare minimum he can without losing the political narrative that he he got us out of the Middle East and out of conflict.”

“Because of these attacks in Paris, they will add recruits, and they will raise money off of this.” Read the rest of this entry »


Pope Benedict XVI: The West’s Pathological Self-Hatred

Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 28, 2006. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)

“There is a self-hatred in the West that can be considered only as something pathological. The West attempts in a praiseworthy manner to open itself completely to the comprehension of external values, but it no longer loves itself; it now only sees what is despicable and destructive in its own history, while it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure there.”  

— Pope Benedict XVI


Is America is Due for a Revolution?

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American TelevisionMay 1, 2015 – September 20, 2015 The Jewish Museum, New York

Here’s the good news: The chaos and upheaval we see all around us have historical precedents and yet America survived. The bad news: Everything likely will get worse before it gets better again.

Michael Goodwin writes: That’s my chief takeaway from “Shattered Consensus,” a meticulously argued analysis of the growing disorder. Author James Piereson persuasively makes the case there is an inevitable “revolution” coming because our politics, culture, education, economics and even philanthropy are so polarized that the country can no longer resolve its differences.

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“How, Piereson wonders, was it possible that Fidel Castro and Che Guevara became heroes to the American left when it was a committed communist who killed the left’s beloved Kennedy?”

To my knowledge, no current book makes more sense about the great unraveling we see in each day’s headlines. Piereson captures and explains the alienation arising from the sense that something important in American life is ending, but that nothing better has emerged to replace it.shattered consensus

The impact is not restricted by our borders. Growing global conflict is related to America’s failure to agree on how we should govern ourselves and relate to the world.

[Order James Piereson’s bookShattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order” from Amazon.com]

Piereson describes the endgame this way: “The problems will mount to a point of crisis where either they will be addressed through a ‘fourth revolution’ or the polity will begin to disintegrate for lack of fundamental agreement.”

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

He identifies two previous eras where a general consensus prevailed, and collapsed. Each lasted about as long as an individual’s lifetime, was dominated by a single political party and ended dramatically.

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“Piereson also deftly demolishes the myth of Camelot by recounting how a grieving first lady created the legend on a single weekend after the president’s funeral…White and his editors resisted the grandiose and sentimental story line, but finally relented to the grieving widow. White later expressed regret for helping to create the Camelot myth.”

First came the era that stretched from 1800 until slavery and sectionalism led to the Civil War. The second consensus, which he calls the capitalist-industrial era, lasted from the end of the Civil War until the Great Depression.

Author James Piereson

Author James Piereson

“That’s not to say he’s pessimistic — he thinks a new era could usher in dynamic growth, as happened after the previous eras finally reached general agreement on national norms. But first we must weather a crisis that may involve an economic and stock-market collapse, a terror attack, or simply a prolonged and bitter stalemate.”

It is the third consensus, which grew out of the depression and World War II, which is now shattering. Because the nation is unable to solve economic stagnation, political dysfunction and the resulting public discontent, Piereson thinks the consensus “cannot be resurrected.”

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“The problems will mount to a point of crisis where either they will be addressed through a ‘fourth revolution’ or the polity will begin to disintegrate for lack of fundamental agreement.”

That’s not to say he’s pessimistic — he thinks a new era could usher in dynamic growth, as happened after the previous eras finally reached general agreement on national norms. But first we must weather a crisis that may involve an economic and stock-market collapse, a terror attack, or simply a prolonged and bitter stalemate. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Is Capitalism Moral? 

Is capitalism moral or greedy? If it’s based on greed and selfishness, what’s the best alternative economic system? Perhaps socialism? And if capitalism is moral, what makes it so? Walter Williams, a renowned economist at George Mason University, answers these questions and more.


[VIDEO] China’s ‘Golden Week’ Traffic Jam 

This aerial footage captured by a drone shows a 50-lane traffic jam on a Beijing highway as people returned from the Golden Week holiday. Photo/Video: Newsflare/Associated Press


‘The President is Not Welcome Here’: Roseburg Residents Angry that Obama is Traveling to Visit the Victims of the UCC Shooting

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President Barack Obama will travel to Oregon this week to visit privately with families of the victims of last week’s shooting at a community college.

However the trip has angered locals in Roseburg who say Obama is ‘not welcome’ in the town because the visit will be nothing but a ‘grandstand for political purposes’.

Leading the chorus is David Jaques, the publisher of conservative newspaper the Roseburg Beacon.

‘I think that’s very inappropriate, and I think it’s disrespectful to the families,’ Jaques told Breitbart News.

Angry: David Jaques, the publisher of conservative newspaper the Roseburg Beacon, claims that Obama is only visiting the town as a 'grandstand for political purposes' in a news interview posted to YouTube 

Angry: David Jaques, the publisher of conservative newspaper the Roseburg Beacon, claims that Obama is only visiting the town as a ‘grandstand for political purposes’ in a news interview posted to YouTube 

Jaques believes Obama held a press conference straight after the shooting, in which nine people were killed, with another nine injures.

In Jaques’ opinion, the press conference was too soon.

‘We haven’t even identified bodies, we’ve still got incident command trying to contain the scene, and he’s holding a press conference 3,000 miles away from here, telling — almost implying that he could have single-handedly prevented this if the Congress would have listened to him.’

‘I think he admitted it himself.

Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the Umpqua Community College campus was open to staff and students Monday for the first time since the shooting Thursday

‘His visit here isn’t a re-election campaign stop, but it is a campaign stop for an agenda that he and his associates believe is important.

‘And that is to take away Americans right to own firearms.’

‘It shows not only a total disdain, a disregard for Constitution, but our very citizens, especially those of us right here in Douglas County. Read the rest of this entry »


‘The Ecstasy of St Catherine of Siena’, 1743

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BATONI, Pompeo
The Ecstasy of St Catherine of Siena
1743
Oil on canvas
Museo di Villa Guinigi, Lucca


[VIDEO] Standing Ovation: Values Voters Summit Attendees Respond to John Boehner’s Resignation Announcement

Marco Rubio announced Speaker John Boehner‘s upcoming resignation at the Values Voter Summit, the crowd erupted into a standing ovation. Rubio, one of the many speakers invited to the 10th annual VVS in Washington, paused from discussing his paid family leave plan to mention Boehner’s resignation: “Just a few minutes ago, Speaker Boehner announced that he will be resigning.”

Needless to say, the audience’s reaction to the news was everything but silent. “With all due respect to people who serve in government,” Rubio continued, “it is important at this moment, with respect to him and the service he has provided to our country, it’s not about him, and I’m not here today to bash anyone, but the time has come to turn the page.” Initial reports described the VVS crowd’s response as a “standing ovation,” a choice of phrase that could be interpreted one of two ways. The audience was either (a) applauding Boehner’s service as speaker with a salutatory round of clapping and standing, or (b) expressing a wild excitement akin to “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead!” in The Wizard of Oz.

The New York Times broke the news Friday morning, citing aides in his office…Boehner has served as a Congressman from Ohio since 1991. He was elected House Majority Leader in 2006, and became House Minority Leader in 2007 after Republicans lost control of the House. He became Speaker of the House in 2011 after the Tea Party resurgence saw massive Republican sgains in the House and Senate. from mediaite…..Religious conservatives broke into a rowdy and prolonged cheer when they learned House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would resign from Congress. Read the rest of this entry »


Bret Stephens: A Letter to President Xi

America for One Day

Dear President Xi,

Welcome back! The last time you were stateside—at the Sunnylands estate in California a couple of years ago—you seemed to be at the top of your game. China’s GDP was about to overtake America’s. You were cracking down on corruption, liberalizing markets, setting the pace for what you called “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Upper East Siders competed to place their toddlers in Mandarin immersion programs. Newspaper columnists fantasized about the U.S. becoming “China for one day.”

Now your stock market has fizzled, your economy is sinking under the weight of unsustainable debts and zombie companies, your neighbors despise you, and every affluent Chinese is getting a second passport and snapping up a foreign home. Even in Beijing, word is out that behind that enigmatic smile you’re a man overmatched by your job. And out of your depth.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Maybe you’re even thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to be America for one day?

Yes, America, perhaps the only country on earth that can be serially led by second- or third-rate presidents—and somehow always manage to come up trumps (so to speak). America, where half of the college-age population can’t find New York state on a map—even as those same young Americans lead the world in innovation. America, where Cornel West is celebrated as an intellectual, Miley Cyrus as an artist, Jonathan Franzen as a novelist and Kim Kardashian as a beauty—and yet remains the cultural dynamo of the world.

America, in short, which defies every ethic of excellence—all the discipline and cunning and delicacy and Confucian wisdom that are the ways by which status and power are gained in China—yet manages to produce excellence the way a salmon spawns eggs. Naturally. By way of a deeper form of knowing. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] Presidents and Popes

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Presidents and Popes

Pope Benedict XVI in the Popemobile outside the White House. 4/16/08

Lyndon B. Johnson introduces a member of his staff to Pope Paul VI. NY, 10/4/65.

Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II in conversation at Vizcaya Museum in Miami. 9/10/87

Richard and Pat Nixon at the Vatican with Pope Paul VI. 9/28/70.

Pope John Paul II with George Bush in the papal apartment, Vatican City. 11/8/91.

Dwight D. Eisenhower met with Pope John XXIII at the Vatican on 12/6/59. 


Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos 

“Only a truly exceptional and powerful economic system would be capable of producing so many limited-edition and holiday-themed flavors of a single cookie brand, such as these extraordinary Key Lime Pie Oreos and Candy Corn Oreos. This is not a force of global impoverishment at all, but one of endless enrichment.”

WASHINGTON—Admitting the startling discovery had compelled him to reexamine his long-held beliefs, His Holiness Pope Francis announced Tuesday that he had reversed his critical stance toward capitalism after seeing the immense variety of Oreos available in the United States.

[Read “Not Exactly Satire by Kevin D. Williamson]

“Oh, my goodness, look at all these! Golden Oreos, Cookie Dough Oreos, Mega Stuf Oreos, Birthday Cake Oreos—perhaps the system of free enterprise is not as terrible as I once feared,” said the visibly awed bishop of Rome while visiting a Washington, D.C. supermarket, adding that the sheer diversity of flavors, various colors and quantities of creme filling, and presence or absence of an outer fudge layer had led to a profound philosophical shift in his feelings toward the global economy and opened his eyes to the remarkable capabilities of the free market….(read more)

Source: The Onion – Commentary at The Corner


Michael R. Strain: Pope Francis Should Praise Free Markets More Often

Poverty is a serious obstacle to human potential. Free enterprise can help fight it.

Michael R. Strainimrs.php writes: Washington, D.C., where I live and work, is abuzz with talk of Pope Francis’s upcoming visit, commencing Tuesday. But what matters much more for the universal church will take place seven days after the pope departs the United States for the Vatican, when the Synod of Bishops on the Family begins.

Free enterprise dramatically reduces extreme poverty. In 1970, over one-quarter of the world lived on less than one dollar per day. By 2006, about one in 20 people lived in extreme poverty — an 80 percent reduction. We have the adoption of free markets across the developing world to thank for this massive reduction. That it happened in less than four decades is all the more impressive.

Due to a recent move by the pope, the upcoming synod may include a discussion of broader issues than did last year’s. I sure hope so. Hot-button issues related to divorce and homosexuality are obviously important and need to be discussed, but so do many other issues. The synod bishops and critics of the Church alike should spend more time on those issues. And I hope one such issue will be the relationship between economics and the family, the topic of a great panel I sat on at Georgetown University earlier this month. The Church’s understanding of this relationship — or, more accurately, this Catholic’s understanding of the Church’s understanding — may be instructive and edifying to our national conversation.

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“Poverty is obviously a serious obstacle to the flourishing life – it is hard to reach your full potential if you don’t have enough to eat, and it is hard to meet your obligations to your family, as well. By reducing poverty in the developing world, free markets help to strengthen families.”

We must begin with the human person — that is always the starting point. And we must begin with the understanding that each of us is called to love God and to love others. I do not refer here to sentimentality, but rather to a deep, abiding commitment, rooted in duty — to live for others, our families not the least. This is the central human calling, and the benchmark against which to judge the efficacy of social and economic systems.

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“If I’m reading him correctly, the Holy Father’s view is a shame, because dramatically rolling back free markets would weaken the greatest anti-poverty tool in human history. It would, of course, extract a large toll from families.”

The free enterprise system, then, is good insofar as it enables individuals to fulfill this central human vocation. It does this quite well.

First, free enterprise dramatically reduces extreme poverty. In 1970, over one-quarter of the world lived on less than one dollar per day. By 2006, about one in 20 people lived in extreme poverty — an 80 percent reduction. We have the adoption of free markets across the developing world to thank for this massive reduction. That it happened in less than four decades is all the more impressive.

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Poverty is obviously a serious obstacle to the flourishing life – it is hard to reach your full potential if you don’t have enough to eat, and it is hard to meet your obligations to your family, as well. By reducing poverty in the developing world, free markets help to strengthen families.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

The effect of liberalizing markets on extreme poverty and the good this does for families is a fact I wish the Holy Father discussed more often, and that I hope will be part of the upcoming synod. Reading His Holiness’s encyclical on the environment, I was left with the impression that the pope’s primary socio-environmental concern is not pollution per se, but rather mankind’s ability to generate pollution — an ability which is the consequence of industrialization and market economies. If I’m reading him correctly, the Holy Father’s view is a shame, because dramatically rolling back free markets would weaken the greatest anti-poverty tool in human history. It would, of course, extract a large toll from families. Hopefully the Holy Father sees that markets generate solutions to intractable problems, in addition to causing problems of their own. Read the rest of this entry »


Matt Drudge: ‘A Prayer for Those Locked Up in Cruel Cuba This Morning for Dissent, as Pope Basks in Glow of Adulation from Masses’

Stephen K. Bannon & Ezra Dulis write: Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report sent a message Sunday morning excoriating Pope Francis during his trip to Cuba, depicting the head of the Catholic Church alongside Raul Castro and suggesting Francis would rather ignore the plight of political dissidents than endanger his warm welcome from the Castro regime.

Activists have criticized the Pope for failing to plan any meetings with Cuban political dissidents during his visit to the Communist Caribbean nation–while the government flagrantly and contemporaneously persecutes its Catholics. Just last week, the government violently arrested more than 50 protesters, mostly women, after attending Sunday mass….(read more)

Source: Breitbart


Reality Check: A Reminder About Life in Communist Cuba Under the Castro Regime, from a Former Political Prisoner of 22 Years 

The horrors of the Cuban system are perhaps best illustrated in Armando Valladares‘ “Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag,” which was published in 1986.

“While today’s Cuba may be less totalitarian, judging by the grim depiction of life in the island’s largest city, Havana, from this 2014 City Journal article, one imagines that tragically, things are not altogether different from the Cuba Valladares left behind.”

First, a note of warning: For those made squeamish by the contents of the recently released so-called “torture report” from the Senate Intelligence Committee, you will likely not be able to make it through this book, describing Valladares’ experiences as a political prisoner, or “enemy of the regime,” for 22 years from 1960 to 1982.

Here is the conclusion of “Against All Hope,” describing Valladares’ thoughts the day he was set free:

The hour of my departure arrived. The procession of several cars headed down Rancho Boyeros Avenue toward José Martí International Airport. The plane was scheduled for seven in the evening. The setting sun dyed the afternoon pomegranate-red. My heart sent up a hymn of thanks to God, and I prayed for my family, who hadn’t been allowed to come to say goodbye, and for my friends remaining behind in the eternal night of the Cuban political prisons.

As the cars sped along, a flood of memories rushed over me. Twenty-two years in jail. I recalled the two sergeants, Porfirio and Matanzas, plunging their bayonets into Ernesto Díaz Madruga’s body; Roberto López Chávez dying in a cell, calling for water, the guards urinating over his face and in his gasping mouth; Boitel, denied water too, after more than fifty days on hunger strike, because Castro wanted him dead; Clara, Boitel’s poor mother, beaten by Lieutenant Abad in a Political Police station just because she wanted to find out where her son was buried. I remembered Carrión, shot in the leg, telling Jagüey not to shoot, and Jagüey mercilessly, heartlessly, shooting him in the back; the officers who threatened family members if they cried at a funeral.

I remembered Estebita and Piri dying in blackout cells, the victims of biological experimentation; Diosdado Aquit, Chino Tan, Eddy Molina, and so many others murdered in the forced-labor fields, quarries, and camps. A legion of specters, naked, crippled, hobbling and crawling through my mind, and the hundreds of men wounded and mutilated in the horrifying searches. Dynamite. Drawer cells. Eduardo Capote’s fingers chopped off by a machete. Concentration camps, tortures, women beaten, soldiers pushing prisoners’ heads into a lake of shi#, the beatings of Eloy and Izaguirre. Martín Pérez with his testicles destroyed by bullets. Robertico weeping for his mother. Read the rest of this entry »


Puccio Capanna: St. Stanislas Raises a Body from the Dead, Fresco c. 1338

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CAPANNA, Puccio
St Stanislas Raises a Body from the Dead
c. 1338
Fresco
Lower Church, San Francesco, Assisi


Rick Lowry: The Pope’s Climate Bull Ignores a Secular Miracle

Nov. 15, 2014 - Vaticano - 1099818 : (Donatella Giagnori / EIDON),  2014-11-15 Vaticano - Pope Francis holds an audience with members of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors - Pope Francis greets members of the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors at Paul VI Hall on November 15, 2014 at Vatican (Credit Image: © Donatella Giagnori/Eidon Press/ZUMA Wire)

A quasi-religious movement now has a genuinely religious leader

Rick LowryRich-Lowry writes: The pope’s encyclical on the environment is being hailed for its embrace of science, although it is about as scientific as the Catholic hymnal.

Pope Francis writes that Sister Earth “now cries out because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” Really? Is that what the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says?

“The average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than the average person of 100,000 B.C. …Life expectancy was no higher in 1800 than for hunter-gatherers: 30 to 35 years. Stature, a measure both of the quality of diet and of children’s exposure to disease, was higher in the Stone Age than in 1800.”

— Gregory Clark, author of A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World

The Catholic Church brings comfort and meaning to the lives of countless millions. That doesn’t mean that climate science, economic policy and cost-benefit analysis are its core competencies.

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“But at least when everyone died at a much earlier age, we weren’t engaging in the ravages of the planet that so exercise Francis.”

No one has ever said: Yes, but what did Gregory VII do to fight the onset of the Medieval Warm Period?41PJ8r7zYVL._SL250_

All that matters to the media, though, is that Pope Francis has taken an apocalyptic climate alarmism and given it the imprimatur of the Vatican.

[Check out Gregory Clark’s book “A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World” at Amazon.com]

The same people who dismiss the pope on more central moral matters, like the dignity of life, are now attributing to him an authority that might have made Pope Innocent III, who challenged kings, blush.

The document could have benefited from an editor cutting out the bizarre ramblings. The pope writes of “harmful habits of consumption,” including “the increasing use and power of air conditioning.” He argues that “an outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behavior.”

That’s assuming the outsider lives in a very cool climate, or doesn’t mind sweating. Anyone not so lucky probably thinks the inventor of air conditioning should be canonized.

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“This sinful assault on the Earth, by the way, largely consisted in taking otherwise completely useless glop from the ground and using it to power economic and technical advances that enriched average people beyond anyone’s imagining. This is obviously a secular miracle of the highest order.”

While the pope pays lip service to technological advances, he doesn’t truly appreciate their wonders. The Industrial Revolution was a great boon to humankind.

Consider the unrelieved misery — the disease, the poverty, the illiteracy — before around 1800, when if you weren’t an aristocrat, a general or a bishop, your life was probably nasty, brutish and short.

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

“The average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than the average person of 100,000 B.C.,” Gregory Clark writes in his book “A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World.” Read the rest of this entry »


Are Conservatives a Little Paranoid? The Obama Administration has ‘Richly Earned Citizens’ Distrust’, says David French

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

No, the Obama administration isn’t going to invade Texas 

David French writes:

…Let’s not forget that more than half of Democrat voters thought it was “very” or “somewhat” likely that the Bush       administration either “assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.” Let that sink in: panic-manFor all the elite’s disdain of allegedly gullible conservatives, a majority of the Left believed that an American president was complicit in mass murder.

[Disagreement as Mental Illness]

[Cultural Conservatives Have Barely Begun to Fight]

[The P.C. Thought Police Aren’t Fragile; They’re Vengeful and Malicious]

But extreme paranoia wasn’t limited to the Democratic rank and file. As National Review’s own Rich Lowry pointed out, Naomi Wolf (former campaign consultant to Bill Clinton and Al Gore) actually wrote a book explaining how the Bush administration was mirroring the early actions of dictatorships like those in Germany, Russia, and China. Harper’s Magazine published breathless stories about a barely averted Bush administration “coup” or “military dictatorship.” Even as recently as 2013, the National Journal published an article claiming that military officers were considering “staging a coup” against President Obama — the basis for the claim was a series of statements by a retired non-stop-panic-pearlsgeneral who specifically declared that no coup was being contemplated.

[Democrats Push to Criminalize Dissent]

[The War on the Private Mind]

[The Burdens of Thought Policing]

In this atmosphere of earned distrust, it is appropriate for elected officials to ask questions about even benign and well-meaning military exercises. No, the Obama administration isn’t going to invade Texas or Utah. Yes, there are some bottom-dwelling, opportunistic conspiracy-mongers who’ve done their best to whip up public concern. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] NBC’s Engel: U.S. Allies Fear Obama Administration Leaking Information to Iran

TIME-parody

Time Magazine Parody cover by punditfromanotherplanet

From Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey:

Just how badly has Barack Obama and his administration damaged relations with our allies in the Middle East? NBC’s Richard Engel reports that the Sunni nations in the region have begun to fear that the Obama administration leaks intel to Iran as part of its efforts at rapprochement with the mullahs, which is why the US got blindsided by the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen. The White House’s “incoherence” in policy, Engel reports, has most of them losing confidence in American leadership, according to Engel’s contacts. (via Free Beacon):

Initially, this looked like material for an update on my earlier post regarding the Saudi-GCC coalition and its decision to work around Obama, but it deserves its own thread for a couple of reasons. First, Engel reported this for NBC, and on MSNBC, the “Lean Forward” cable channel that usually acts as a clearinghouse for Barack Obama apologists (and the occasional slam on Middle America). Engel’s not among the apologists; he’s a first-class foreign correspondent whose reports follow no partisan agenda, and whose sources have usually provided him with highly accurate reporting.

[Read more at Hot Air]

More importantly, Engel’s report advances this to an allegation of betrayal, not just incompetence. Clearly, Saudi Arabia has little confidence left in the Obama administration; that much is evident from their actions to cut the US out of the loop on this coalition. Read the rest of this entry »


New York Residents Talk Secession in Regards to Big Fracking Upset

A woman holds an anti-fracking sign as a group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty December 10, 2014 near the United Nations in New York. New Yorkers gathered to demand that world governments address the serious threat global warming poses to human rights. This event coincides with a UN meeting in Lima, Peru, a part of the 2014-15 negotiations for a global climate treaty. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT/Getty

A woman holds an anti-fracking sign as a group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty December 10, 2014 near the United Nations in New York. New Yorkers gathered to demand that world governments address the serious threat global warming poses to human rights. This event coincides with a UN meeting in Lima, Peru, a part of the 2014-15 negotiations for a global climate treaty. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT/Getty

TIME

One could argue America was conceived from intense frustration that ultimately led to separation. Fed up with what they perceived as excessive control by the Crown, colonists to the “New England,” in essence, seceded in 1776, and thus the United States was born.

Now, there is a renewed and growing secession conversation brewing in the New England region, this time fueled by a commodity: Natural gas. Infuriated by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s December decision to permanently instill a ban against hydraulic fracture stimulation, or fracking, residents in 15 communities in the Southern Tier of New York are discussing the possibility of redrawing the border between New York and Pennsylvania.

Most affected are communities that lie along the east-west line between the Empire and Keystone states. Dairy farms dot the landscape, and in Pennsylvania, where fracking is encouraged, farmers are building new barns, buying new equipment and communities are adding schools and…

View original post 444 more words


Pope Francis Blesses Golden Rice

Pope_Francis+Ingo_Potrykus

ASPB NEWS | VOLUME 41, NUMBER 1

aspbnewslogo

Tyrone Spady, ASPB’s Legislative and Public Affairs Director, writes:

On November 7, 2013, Pope Francis gave his personal blessing to Golden Rice (GR). Why is this significant? Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is responsible for 500,000 cases of irreversible blindness and up to 2 million deaths each year. Particularly susceptible are pregnant women and children. Across the globe, an estimated 19 million pregnant women and 190 million children suffer from the condition. The good news, however, is that dietary supplementation of vitamin A can eliminate VAD. One way that holds particular promise is the administration via GR, which had been engineered to produce large amounts of vitamin A. A 2012 study by Tang et al published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that 100-150 g of cooked GR provided 60% of the Chinese Recommended Intake of vitamin A. Estimates suggest that supplementing GR for 20% of the diet of children and 10% for pregnant women and mothers will be enough to combat the effects of VAD.

Orange

Unfortunately, public misconceptions about genetically modified (GM) organisms have prevented GR from being available to the countries most affected by VAD. One such country is the Philippines, where more than 80% of the population identifies as Roman Catholic and field trials of GR are nearing completion. An official blessing of the church, therefore, could do a great deal to build support, allowing the Philippines to serve as a model for many of its neighbors on the potential health impacts of widespread availability and consumption of the golden grain.

GR_contribution-2

Regrettably, the church did not provide an official endorsement. It turns out that there is quite a distinction between the pope’s personal blessing and an official statement of support from the Vatican. To understand the nature of that distinction, we turned to the person who elicited the blessing, GR coinventor and ASPB member Ingo Potrykus. At the time of the blessing, Ingo, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, had been attending a meeting at the Vatican on the interaction of nutrition and brain development.

how_GR2

At the end of the meeting, he was able to meet Pope Francis and took the opportunity to share a packet of GR. In response, the pope offered his personal blessing. (If an official blessing of the Holy See was given, it would come from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.) From Ingo’s perspective, the pope is concerned that genetic modification technology primarily benefits big business and not the poor. Read the rest of this entry »


New York Post, Feb 17, 2015: ‘POPE’S RAGE Assails Mass Murder of Christians’

nypost


Obama vs. Pope: ‘Of Course it was a Conflict Between Two Political Objectives…’

After Pope Francis met with President Obama, each leader had a different take on their conversation…

“On the one hand you’ve got the Bishop of Rome, the Holy See, of whom a billion co-religionists believe in his infallibility…”

According to The Hammer, it’s easy to choose who to believe.

“…On the other hand you’ve got a man who said, ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.’ So who are you going to choose?”

Read more….

NRO, The Corner


Pope Francis Drops the F-Bomb During Vatican blessing

pope-f-bomb-francis

Pope Francis may need to go to confession after inadvertently blurting out an Italian F-bomb during his weekly blessing from the Vatican.

“If each one of us does not amass riches only for oneself, but half for the service of others, in this f**k [pause], in this case the providence of God will become visible through this gesture of solidarity,” Francis said to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Italian media reported.

His Holiness meant to use the Italian word for “example,” which is “caso.” Instead, he used the word “cazzo,” which Italians use as a synonym for the four-letter obscenity. The papal slip-up immediately went viral on Italian websites and quickly made its way to YouTube.

But the 77-year-old pontiff kept his cool, and his defenders took to the Internet to say it was a common mistake for native Spanish speakers when they talk in Italian. Others said the literal translation of the word is a synonym for the male organ — but that it is also commonly used as the F-word.

A Vatican spokesman had no comment on the f**k-up.

 New York Post


Birds Attack Peace Doves Freed from Pope’s Window

 (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.

As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.

Read the rest of this entry »


The ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fiasco Says More About Our Bigotry Than Phil’s

philWhy is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them?

Last night, GQ released a story about Duck Dynasty which quotes Phil’s thoughts about homosexuality:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

As you can imagine, everyone had an opinion about this statement, including GLAAD and Phil’s check-signer, A&E, who suspended the star indefinitely.

One of the conservative tweeters I follow—one of those Christians convinced that Obama is going to have him killed for his faith—lives for stuff like this. He quickly took to the Twitterverse and posted a side-by-side image of Pope Francis and Phil, with the following caption: “Both preach truth on homosexual sin. One is TIME’s Person of the Year. The other JUST GOT FIRED.”

The point is worth considering. Even though Phil used crass, juvenile language to articulate his point, what he was getting at was his belief that homosexual “desire” is unnatural, and inherently disordered. This opinion isn’t unique to Phil. It’s actually shared by a majority of his fans.

It’s also shared, to some extent, by the Pope. Yes, that Pope—the one on the cover not just of TIME but also of The Advocate.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Person of the Year’ Pope Francis Defends Life in the Womb

Pope Francis, Time magazine's Person of the Year, 2013, says America should be a land prepared "to accept life at every stage, from the mother's womb to old age." (AP)

Pope Francis says America should be a land prepared “to accept life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age.” (AP)

(CNSNews.com) — Barbara Boland writes:   In a message sent to the Americas on Dec. 12, a day the Catholic Church celebrates in honor of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, Pope Francis, who was named Person of the Year this week by Timemagazine, said that America is called to be “a land prepared to accept life at every stage, from the mother’s womb to old age.”

The Pope made his remarks during the course of the weekly general audience on Wednesday, and the message for the Americas was subsequently broadcast on Vatican Radio.

Dec. 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe because the Church approves and millions of Catholics believe that the mother of Jesus appeared to a Mexican peasant, Juan Diego, in Guadalupe in 1531.

Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn, who is honored on Dec. 12 by the Catholic Church, and particularly in Mexico City, Mexico.

Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn

Commenting on the special day, Pope Francis said, “When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, her face was that of a woman of mixed blood, a mestiza, and her garments bore many symbols of the native culture. Like Jesus, Mary is close to all her sons and daughters; as a concerned mother, she accompanies them on their way through life.”

Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn, who is honored on Dec. 12 by the Catholic Church, and particularly in Mexico City, Mexico.

He continued, “She shares all the joys and hopes, the sorrows and troubles of God’s people, which is made up of men and women of every race and nation. When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma [woven poncho] of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary’s embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come.” Read the rest of this entry »


Is the NSA Spying on Obama?

Image source: Mad Magazine

Image source: Mad Magazine

Robert Costa reports:  In light of a recent report, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) fears the National Security Agency may be spying on President Barack Obama. “They could well be spying on the president, for all I know,” Paul says, in an interview with National Review Online. “He has a cell phone, and, in fact, my guess is that they have collected data on the president’s phone.”

Paul also believes the federal government may be tracking Pope Francis. “The most important question we need to ask the NSA is, ‘Are you telling us you’re collecting no data on the pope?’ And, ‘Did you collect any information on him when he was the archbishop, while staying in a certain residence in Rome at the time of the election?’ I don’t think they’re telling the truth.”

Read the rest of this entry »


GOOD NEWS: O.J. Simpson Wants to Host Religious TV Show After Leaving Prison

Yeah, I killed her. Got away with it, too. Want to join me in prayer? Open your bible to page...

Yeah, I killed her. Got away with it, too. Want to join me in prayer? The bible says…

William Bigelow reports: According to a promoter for O.J. Simpson, the former gridiron great has had a religious rebirth behind bars and is now ready to host a TV show.

The show, titled Holy Safari, would feature Simpson traveling the world and interviewing religious leaders, even the Pope. Simpson is awaiting a decision on the appeal of his convictions for armed robbery and kidnapping.

Norman Pardo, the promoter, who has known Simpson for 20 years, had some rather interesting things to say about his client: that he constantly reads the Bible as well as the Koran, that he converted a white supremacist to Christianity while in prison, and most importantly, that Simpson is the best person to impart the message of God.

Read the rest of this entry »


Obama: Wrong time, wrong place, wrong plan, wrong man

1209_ObamWrong_full_600WSJ’s  PEGGY NOONAN writes:  It is hard, if you’ve got a head and a heart, to come down against a strong U.S. response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its civilian population. This is especially so if you believe that humanity stands at a door that leads only to darkness. Those who say, “But Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons—the taboo was broken long ago,” are missing the point. When Saddam used gas against the Kurds it was not immediately known to all the world. It was not common knowledge. The world rued it in retrospect. Syria is different: It is the first obvious, undeniable, real-time, YouTubed use of chemical weapons. The whole world knew of it the morning after it happened, through horrified, first-person accounts, from videos of hospital workers and victims’ families. Read the rest of this entry »