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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The sword

The beheading of the American journalist, James Foley, apparently by a British Muslim with a London accent, drew pledges by outraged Western governments to aid those 'battling the jihadists' among whom British extremists are thought to be among the "most vicious and vociferous fighters" (here). The British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, described the execution as an "appalling example of the brutality of this [Islamic State] organisation" (read here). But it is not simply the "shocking and depraved" action of a single organisation as Mr Cameron described it. It is part of a culture:

"In Islam, the prophet Muhammad is the greatest example for the faithful to follow. He is the model of dedication to God par excellence; in fact, he is deemed the perfect example of submission to Allah...

Sunni Islam is the largest Islamic sect, encompassing 85% of Muslims in the world. “Sunni” is based on the “sunna,” “the pathway of the prophet” Muhammad (to which all Muslims are committed, whether formally Sunnis or not). “Muslims have the duty of da’wa, calling, summoning people to submit to Allah and to follow the sunna, the pathway trodden first by Muhammad.” 

But what is the example, the way, the path of the prophet? He not only engaged in caravan raids early in his career as a prophet and in war later, but he himself was involved in the massacre of the Qurayza Jews wherein he “had trenches dug, and the men were led out in batches and beheaded.” Ibn Ishaq’s ancient, authoritative Life of Muhammad records this event: “There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.” How could the recent beheadings and dismemberments of a few “pagans” alarm the devout Muslim today? His “perfect” prophet beheaded upwards of 900 in one setting! We are alarmed because we are Christians." - See "Christ, Muhammad, and the Culture of Beheading" here.

Many Christians are not only alarmed but thoroughly confused that such actions can be justified as acts of faith in the name of God. Christians are taught to ''Love your neighbour as yourself', having moved on from Old Testament excesses. It is the reverse in Islam which after its peaceful period becomes increasingly violent, using the sword to threaten those wishing to convert from Islam and those who refuse to convert to Islam as is now witnessed intensely by minorities in Iraq.

Some Muslims protest that the violence is contrary to the teaching of Islam. Indeed an Imam was doing precisely that on BBC Breakfast time this morning despite evidence to the contrary from around the world. Muslims are themselves victims if their interpretation of Islam differs from fundamentalist hardliners. Saudi Arabia's top cleric says that extremism and the ideologies of groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida are Islam's No. 1 enemy and that Muslims have been their first victims (here). But watch this chilling video to see how "Taqiyya: Islamic doctrine of deception" (here) operates in the defence of Islam to the detriment of all other faiths and none making it difficult to know who is telling the truth and who is engaged in deception. The closing words in the report are "We will be paying for it [playing patsy] a vast amount in the years to come". Prophetic words indeed!

On that score, and no doubt in the spirit of brotherly love, Christian leaders have been moved to make extravagant gestures which appear to validate Islam at the expense of Christianity. In his Archbishop Cranmer blog in 2007 Cranmer reported that the Bishop of Liverpool had accepted the invitation of a Muslim friend to become patron of a mosque renovating project. More recently the Bishop of Portsmouth "along with numerous other clerics visited the Al Mahdi Center in Wessex where verses from 'the Noble Qur’an' were recited before Bishop Christopher blessed the community and the centre" (here). In Wales Archbishop Morgan has far more time for his Muslim friends than for faithful adherents of the Catholic faith - see 'Barry's blunder' here. Having been warned about false prophets and told by Jesus Christ that 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' such gestures appear ill-advised to say the least.

While Anglican leaders in this country water-down the Christian faith, questioning the legitimacy of basic beliefs such as the virgin birth and even the Resurrection, Muslims by contrast will not tolerate any perceived criticism or even discuss apparent Contradictions and Inaccuracies (here). Recall how, even though "beheading was practiced by the Prophet Muhammad himself during the 7th century period of Islam and by the most Islamic rulers thereafter" (here), Pope Benedict was obliged to apologise for a misunderstanding following a speech to university professors in Germany in 2006 after he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as “evil and inhuman”:

"Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was “deeply sorry” about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that didn’t reflect his personal opinion. “These (words) were in fact a quotation from a Medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought,” Benedict told pilgrims at his summer palace outside Rome." Full account here.

James Foley was a freelance photojournalist whose work highlighted the depths to which these jihadists will sink, even killing fellow Muslims in the name of Allah to achieve what they mistakenly believe to be their reward in heaven. Reports of James' own death have done far more to galvanise world opinion than any other report so far. May he now rest in peace.

The International Civil Liberties Alliance reported in May that that a new organisation, Sharia Watch UK, was launched in the House of Lords. See their special report: SHARIA LAW: Britain’s Blind Spot. Here is a taste:

 "We call on the UK government to recognise that the establishment of a sharia state, or campaigning for such, is itself an extremist position. We base this on the fact that a sharia state would involve profound mistreatment of women and girls (including forced marriage and unequal legal status), the implementation of barbaric punishments (including stonings and amputations) and the complete destruction of freedom of speech and democracy."

It also has something to say about the Muslim organisations including the Muslim Council of Britain which "has received several hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers’ money, despite evidence of its links with extremists and its own extremist beliefs". Full Report here. Church and State take note!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Head in the sand

"Multicultural education is a 'cult of tolerance' in which you demonstrate your
 sensitivity to other cultures by being almost totally insensitive to your own."

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter - Quran 5:33

Archbishop of Mosul: "I have lost my Diocese to Islam - You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims" (read here).

Coptic Bishop: Without Action, It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Islamic Fundamentalism “Infects the Entire World” (read here and here).

It is not as if the West had not been warned. See herehere, here, here, here, here and here. Need I go on? While the Islamic threat seemed to be someone else's problem it was much more convenient to be able to bury one's head in the sand in the mistaken belief that Islam is a religion of peace rather than confront the fact that cleansing of Christians and other minorities continues around the world where Islam dominates. In the current threat minorities are no longer simply displaced. - It is convert or die! Even young children are being groomed for jihad, recruited to kill Christians other minorities and Shiite Muslims (video here).

For too long apologists for 'the religion of peace' have dismissed Islamic extremists as not representative of Islam but on what evidence? Islam means 'submission' or 'surrender'. If lying is necessary for the sake of Allah, so be it - see understanding Taqiyya - it is part of the faith. Not all Muslims are bad any more than all Christians are good but that should not obscure the reality that when Islamists have the upper hand their attitude to others changes.

As soon as the Prime Minister arrived back from his Summer holiday he was belatedly identifying with the plight of the starving Yazidis who had at the same time been struggling to survive on Mount Sinjar after fleeing the terrors of Islamic State (IS) (here). Mercifully many found their way to relative safety while the rest of the world dithered (BBC pictures here).

Current events so alarmed the Bishop of Leeds that he was prompted to write to Mr Cameron in the following terms: "The focus by both politicians and media on the plight of the Yazidis has been notable and admirable. However, there has been increasing silence about the plight of tens of thousands of Christians who have been displaced, driven from cities and homelands, and who face a bleak future. Despite appalling persecution, they seem to have fallen from consciousness, and I wonder why. Does your government have a coherent response to the plight of these huge numbers of Christians whose plight appears to be less regarded than that of others? Or are we simply reacting to the loudest media voice at any particular time? Full text here.

Mr Cameron was on TV again this morning assuring voters that the current terrorist threat will not cause mayhem on our streets; his priority is to protect British citizens form the IS threat. But IS sympathisers are already here. They have been distributing leaflets in London's Oxford Street while around 500 are thought to have left these shores to fight with the jihadists in Iraq and Syria. In Tower Hamlets the Black flag linked to jihadists Isis has been flown as a sign of solidarity with their brother Muslims, once again demonstrating where loyalties lie.

If, as Mr Cameron says, he wants to keep families safe here in the United Kingdom he needs to address the real issue of the spread of Islam and investigate the contradiction between the so-called religion of peace and use of the sword. He could start here.

The name Muhammad with its variants is again the most popular boys name in Britain adding weight to the conclusion that Islam will be the dominant religion in Great Britain within a generation (here). Unlike Christianity there is no separation of Church and State. Islam is a way of life without borders based on a religious ideology governed by Sharia. It has already taken root here:

"There is not another religion in the world that consistently produces terrorism in the name of God as does Islam.  The most dangerous Muslims are nearly always those who interpret the Quran most transparently.  They are the fundamentalists or purists of the faith, and believe in Muhammad’s mandate to spread Islamic rule by the sword, putting to death those who will not submit.  In the absence of true infidels, they will even turn on each other."
- from The Myths of Islam (here).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Women bishops 2 : 0 Jesus Christ

In a previous entry (in May) I gave details of arrangements being made for the Rt Rev'd Geralyn Wolf to be the first woman bishop to celebrate the Eucharist in Llandaff Cathedral, one week before women bishops become legal in the Church in Wales on the 12 September 2014 and while the Code of Practice which is part of the Women bishops legislation remains a closely guarded secret among the Bench of Bishops until it is presented as a fait accompli to the next meeting of their Governing Body - see here.  

Unable to control their enthusiasm for seeing a woman bishop at the Altar in the Church in Wales the Bishop of St Asaph has upstaged the Llandaff event by arranging for the Rt Rev Gayle Harris to celebrate in St Asaph Cathedral on Sunday 31 August 2014 when she will become the first Anglican woman bishop to preside and preach at a Welsh cathedral. Story here.

Out-manouvered by St Asaph, apparently Swansea and Brecon could not find a one-legged a**e kicking transgendered Episcopalian woman bishop who was free and so trump the PC Jewish and black guests to make it 'Women bishops  3 : 0  Jesus Christ'.

But 'Crossing the threshold' has little to do with Jesus Christ, other than as a vehicle for political ambition. It is about equality of opportunity in the workplace. As the Rev'd Jan Gould, priest-in-charge of Glan Ely benefice in Cardiff puts it: "This conference is about how we ‘cross the threshold’ to a transformed leadership with the Church in Wales. Anglican women bishops in the USA have a huge amount to share and this is a unique opportunity to engage with their experience and to see together what that might mean for the future of the Church in Wales".  

True, the leadership of the Church in Wales needs to be transformed but the Episcopal Church in the United States where 'Integrity' is the current driving force is far from a model of Christian orthodoxy. The Church in Wales, and indeed the Church of England, need to be informed by the tradition of the Holy Catholic Church, not adapt the Catholic faith to reflect the whims of society. That path has done wonders for feminism but at the expense of the Anglican Church as explained by Alice C. Linsley, a former woman priest in the Episcopal Church, in "The Feminization of Anglican Orders"(here).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heaven and hell

My late mother-in-law had a saying about hell: "Hell is here, on earth!" 

It certainly must feel like that for the thousands of minority Yazidis, Christians, Turkmen and Shabak Shias in Iraq, driven from lands they have lived in for several thousand years by Islamic State jihadists who, in addition to their regular atrocities of beheadings and crucifixion, are reported to have buried alive women and children in mass graves in the name of Allah! Read here and here.  

Undeterred by the threat of foreign intervention because of a belief that "Allah is with us and our promise is heaven" the speedy death of these jihadists must be a blessing for all, not least for themselves. God's speed!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To be a girl

From Water Aid

“I want to live in a world where girls are free from the burden of walking for water, where they and their families have the dignity of somewhere safe and private to go the toilet – a world where everyone, everywhere has taps and toilets by 2030. 

I believe world leaders meeting at the UN should prioritise water, sanitation and hygiene for a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world.”

This September, world leaders are meeting in New York to discuss a set of international development priorities for the next 15 years.

The last time they did this, in the year 2000, they failed to prioritise water and sanitation. That’s partly why today millions of people still don’t have taps or toilets, and millions of girls still spend hours that they could be in school making long walks to collect water for their families.

This year, we need to make sure that water and sanitation make their shortlist.

Taps and toilets can be key to a future where girls like Ze are educated equally and are free to fulfil their potential.

If you agree, sign the petition here and help get to 100,000 before September.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Into war

Today, August 4th, marks the beginning 100 years ago of the 'war to end all wars'. There is a list of ongoing conflicts here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Church in Wales Code of Practice. FiF Update

From Credo Cymru (FiF Wales):

 Saturday 20th September 
All Saints, Shrewsbury 

Preacher: The Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, SSC
 Bishop of Ebbsfleet 
A sung Eucharist for the Holy Cross
 Bring a picnic, tea & coffee provided

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I had hoped to write to you around this time with considered reaction to the Code of Practice which the Bench of Bishops has been instructed to produce to accompany the Bill which allows women to become bishops. But the code has not yet been published so we are still in the limbo of waiting.

The likely scenario for the Code now is that it will be published immediately after the presidential address at the September meeting of the Governing Body and that address itself will be in part about the Code.

It is tempting at this time of not knowing to do one of two things:

1 To say with Elijah 'It is enough' and just to
give up the hope and give up the struggle.

2 To become totally negative and to reject
everything that is going on around us; pulling
up the drawbridge and ignoring our brothers
and sisters in the church.

Neither of these approaches will do. After all these years of struggling to maintain Catholic Faith and Apostolic Order we cannot give in to despair or defeat. We owe it to those who have gone before us in the fight: and even more to those who will follow us. There has to be a future for our children and our children's children and such a future will not be there if we give up, or give in to negativity and despair.

It is possible for a church to go forward with a 'mixed economy' of belief and practice. We have done it already with women priests and the Church of England has shown us how it can be done with women bishops.

So keep praying. Praying that what comes from the Bench will be offered in a spirit of generosity and love: praying that it will be received by the whole of the Church in Wales as a way of living with one another in love and respect and diverting the time and energy that has been used in these discussions and debates to proclaiming the Gospel to the people of Wales and offering them the gift of Life that Jesus alone can give.

As the Archbishop of Canterbury said in the recent debates in York:
"You don't chuck out family. You make them
feel at home even when you disagree."
We will have the opportunity to meet in prayer and worship following the GB meeting when we go to Shrewsbury for our annual Festival of Faith. As you see, Bishop Jonathan of Ebbsfleet will preside and preach - and after hearing him at the Chrism Mass and at Glastonbury we know we will be well fed with the authentic word of God. The Bishop has juggled with his diary in order to be able to come that day and I hope you will all respond with an equal enthusiasm both out of respect for him and as a sign of your continuing commitment to our cause.

With my continuing prayers for you all I am yours in the love of Christ

Alan Rabjohns

The above information has been circulated by Credo Cymru, the Welsh arm of Forward in Faith. From paragraph 2 it appears that the Code of Practice required under the Bill to allow women to be bishops in the Church in Wales will be presented to those for whom it is intended as a fait accompli.

Also, I see from the Church in Wales web site (here) that the Church in Wales has joined the 'Keep me Posted' campaign emphasising the importance of choice. As the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan rightly says, "Whatever the reason, far too many people are being penalised or disadvantaged". Pray that his own Church members are not penalised or disadvantaged by the Bench when the Code of Practice is published. - Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love - hopefully!