Category Archives: Religion

JV Team

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Back when President Obama was bragging that core Al Qaeda had been destroyed, he dismissed ISIS as a terror JV team. Now the JV team is rich and armed with American military hardware. It controls territory in Iraq and Syria. And it’s as comfortable with social networking as it is with beheading.

Last week Defense Secretary Hagel had this to say about the JV team“This is beyond anything that we’ve seen” … “The sophistication of terrorism and ideology married with resources presents a whole new dynamic and paradigm of threats to this country.”

Joint Chiefs Chairman General Dempsey added, ““This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated.” He also said ISIS would have to be attacked in Syria to be destroyed.

JV

By Monday it wasn’t clear that the White House was on board with Dempsey’s assessment.

Apocalyptic though it may be, Dempsey now says ISIS is not a “direct threat” to the U.S. and he won’t propose bombing in Syria until it is.

The president is evolving.

Religious Freedom

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Religious freedom has been taking a beating.

A National Review editorial last week made the point that during the Clinton administration Democrats in Congress felt the Supreme Court had too narrow a view of religious liberty. As a result the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Clinton. 

Along comes the Affordable Care Act (ACA), …which empowered the Obama administration to issue regulations that burdened a religious liberty..

This leaves Democrats in a political pickle. They passed a law to protect religious freedom, but they do not desire to protect religious freedom when doing so interrupts their risible war-on-women soap opera.

Senator Udall, in his rhetoric, has been particularly dishonest about this, characterizing the Hobby Lobby decision as mandating that women “have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control.” In fact, the decision does no such thing: Hobby Lobby has nothing to do with the right to do anything, but rather with the right to not do something.

Elsewhere on the religious freedom front, the Islamic State of Iraq has ordered Christians to either  pay jizya (a religious tax), convert to Islam, or die.

Hamas and the Iron Dome

140718-Hamas-Iron-DomeHamas has fired over 1200 rockets claiming “every Israeli is a legitimate target”. So far only one “legitimate target” has been killed. That’s because of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense.

Israel doesn’t consider individual Palestinians “legitimate targets”. Before striking back at Hamas it warned civilians with pamphlets and phone calls. Hamas responded by telling them to stay in place as human shields.

Charles Krauthammer writes in the Washington Post, “Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity”:

“Here’s the difference between us,” explains the Israeli prime minister. “We’re using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they’re using their civilians to protect their missiles.”

Hamas and the Iron Dome

William Saletan in Slate says there’s plenty to argue about in Gaza, “But one thing should be clear to everyone: Hamas is insane. It’s destroying Gaza.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, is perplexed:

What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?” he asked rhetorically in a TV interview. In another appearance, he pleaded: “We are the losing side, and every minute there are more and more unnecessary deaths. … I don’t like trading in Palestinian blood.”

The Guardian disagrees. Seumas Milne says, “The idea of Israel defending itself from unprovoked attacks is absurd.”

Campus Speech

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Well, at least the Harvard Black Mass didn’t happen Monday night.

The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club invited the devil himself to campus. Lucifer’s speaking gig was arranged in conjunction with the New York Satanic Temple. The event was to take place in the form of a Satanic Black Mass. Joining the Prince of Darkness at the lectern was to be Harvard professor Christopher Robichaud. According to USA Today Robichaud planned to remark on religious liberty.

Not surprisingly, Catholics were outraged and the thing was  moved off campus under a storm of protest. At the last moment it was cancelled altogether.

In April Brandeis University cancelled altogether its offer of an honorary doctorate for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She writes and speaks about real religious liberty and the real war on women in Muslim countries. She’s also a critic of Islam itself. Condoleeza Rice was driven away from her Rutgers University speech by unhinged faculty members and their poorly informed students accusing her of war crimes. IMF boss Christine Legarde was also disinvited from her speaking engagement at Smith University.

I’m not equating disinviting Legarde, Rice, or Ali to disinviting Satan. I’m equating academics to nuts.

In a column about the lack of due process in college, Thomas Sowell discusses “free speech” zones on campus:

The track record of academics in other kinds of cases is not the least bit encouraging as regards the likelihood of impartial justice. Even on many of our most prestigious college campuses, who gets punished for saying the wrong thing and who gets away with mob actions depends on which groups are in vogue and which are not.

This is carried to the point where some colleges have established what they call “free speech zones” — as if they are granting a special favor by not imposing their vague and arbitrary “speech codes” everywhere on campus.

The irony in this is that the Constitution already established a free speech zone. It covers the entire United States.

Waiving the Individual Mandate for Sainthood

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 Four popes, two living and two not so much, gathered at the Vatican on Sunday for a papal Hall of Fame induction. The wildly popular and beloved Pope Francis canonized the wildly popular and beloved Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII. It was a two for one not seen since the middle ages. The brains of the operation, emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, assisted. Daily Beast called it a Pope-a-polooza.

John Paul II ended communism. John XXIII ended meatless Fridays. They’ve been called bookends of the Second Vatican Council

Individual Mandate for Sainthood Waivers

John Paul II took the High Speed Escalator to Heaven when Benedict XVI waived the 5 year saintly waiting period. Francis greased the skids for John XXIII by granting a waiver of the two miracle mandate for sainthood.

Here’s Peggy Noonan capturing the sweeping grandeur of the event. And here is Maureen Dowd capturing the sweeping under the rug of the priest sex abuse scandals.