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  1. #21
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    Surprise! Another Christian Terrorist

    Did you hear about the man who entered New Orleans’ airport with explosives and a machete? No? Well, you would have if he’d been Muslim.

    by Dean Obeidallah - 3/24/15

    A Muslim American man carrying a duffel bag that holds six homemade explosives, a machete, and poison spray travels to a major U.S. airport. The man enters the airport, approaches the TSA security checkpoint, and then sprays two TSA officers with the poison. He then grabs his machete and chases another TSA officer with it.

    This Muslim man is then shot and killed by the police. After the incident, a search of the attacker’s car by the police reveals it contained acetylene and oxygen tanks, two substances that, when mixed together, will yield a powerful explosive.

    If this scenario occurred, there’s zero doubt that this would be called a terrorist attack. Zero. It would make headlines across the country and world, and we would see wall-to-wall cable news coverage for days. And, of course, certain right-wing media outlets, many conservative politicians, and Bill Maher would use this event as another excuse to stoke the flames of hate toward Muslims.

    Well, last Friday night, this exact event took place at the New Orleans airport—that is, except for one factual difference: The attacker was not Muslim. Consequently, you might be reading about this brazen assault for the first time here, although this incident did receive a smattering of media coverage over the weekend.

    The man who committed this attack was Richard White, a 63-year-old former Army serviceman who has long been retired and living on Social Security and disability checks. He was reportedly a devout Jehovah’s Witness.

    Given the facts that a man armed with explosives and weapons traveled to an airport and only attacked federal officers, you would think that the word “terrorism” would at least come up as a possibility, right? But it’s not even mentioned.

    Instead, law enforcement was quick to chalk this incident up to the attacker’s alleged “mental health issues.” That was pretty amazing police work considering this conclusion came within hours of the attack. There was no mention by police that they had even explored whether White had issues with the federal government stemming from his military service, if there was any evidence he held anti-government views, etc.

    Perhaps Mr. White truly was mentally ill. Interviews with his neighbors, however, don’t even give us a hint that he had mental problems. Rather they described White as a “meek” and “kind” man who a few had spoken to just days before the incident and everything seemed fine. You would think these neighbors would at least note that White had a history of mental illness if it was so apparent.

    Now I’m not saying definitively that I believe Mr. White was a terrorist. My point is twofold. One is that if White had been a Muslim, the investigation into his motivation by the media and maybe even the police would have essentially been over once his faith had been ascertained. If a Muslim does anything wrong, it’s assumed to be terrorism. (Apparently we Muslims can’t be mentally ill.)

    In contrast, when a non-Muslim engages in a violent attack, even on federal government employees, law enforcement and the media immediately look to the person’s mental history, not possible terrorist motivations.

    No wonder so many parrot the line, “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” When the press uses the word terrorism only in connection with the actions of Muslims, the average person would assume that’s the case. However, as I have written about before, in recent years overwhelmingly the terrorist attacks in United States and Europe have been committed by non-Muslims.

    My second point is that this could have in fact been act of terrorism. White clearly targeted only the TSA officers. He didn’t assault others in the airport, such as the passengers waiting on line at the security checkpoint. And for those unfamiliar, there has been a great deal of animus directed at the TSA by some conservatives and libertarians. Simply Google the words “stop the TSA” and you will see pages of articles denouncing the TSA as an organization hell bent on depriving Americans of our liberty.

    For example, Alex Jones’ Infowars website is filled with anti-TSA articles claiming that the TSA’s goal is not to prevent terrorism but to “harass” travelers and get into “our pants.” Glen Beck warned in the past that the TSA was potentially becoming President Obama’s “private army” with the goal being to take away our liberties.

    And in 2012, Senator Rand Paul lashed out against the TSA for what he viewed as the agency’s improper treatment of him. In fact after the incident, Paul penned an op-ed denouncing the TSA, writing that “it is infuriating that this agency feels entitled to revoke our civil liberties while doing little to keep us safe.”

    Even more alarmingly, the attacks on the TSA have not been limited to words. In October 2012, Paul Ciancia traveled to LAX, where he took out a rifle from his bag and shot two TSA officers, killing one. Ciancia had written anti-government tracts in the past and was—to little media fanfare—actually charged months later with an act of terrorism.

    Given this climate, how can the police not even mention that they investigated the possibility of terrorism and ruled it out? I spoke with Colonel Fortunato, the spokesperson for Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office, which is the agency in charge of the investigation. Fortunato explained that due to state law, they couldn’t release any additional information regarding White’s mental illness or reveal information regarding any treatment he may or may not have undergone.

    When I asked Fortunato if they had investigated White’s digital footprint to ascertain whether he had visited any anti-government websites or had searched his residence to see if he possessed an anti-government literature or made or written anti-government statements, he gave me what sounded like a boiler plate response that the investigation has revealed no affiliation to any outside groups. Fortunato expressed his confidence that White had acted alone and that no ties to any terror groups. But he added that we will never truly know what motivated White given he died before being questioned.

    But part of me actually believes that there are some in the media and law enforcement who prefer to use the term terrorism only when it applies to a Muslim.

    Why? Because it’s easy to do. Muslims are viewed by many as the “other,” not as fellow Americans. But discussing domestic terrorism carried out by fellow Americans is at best, uncomfortable, and at worst, undermines the narrative that some in our country have a vested interest in advancing.

    I’m not sure what will change this mindset, but if we want to truly keep Americans safe, law enforcement and the media need to understand that terrorism is not just a Muslim thing.



    Their excuse of “mental illness” for their Christians is so obvious that it’s a joke when they say it and even they know it. It’s no co-incidence that they use the word “terrorist” for Muslims only; it is part of their Islamophobia campaign.

  2. #22
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    Christians beat girl to death in the name of God


    A growing practice among the Fundamentalist Christians who beat children in the name of God. They preach that God commands in the Bible to beat the child with a rod. Christians follow the teachings of a book called “To Train Up a Child” written by Christians advocating beating children as punishment because God commanded it.

    Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
    Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die."

    This news clip shows one adopted girl, Lydia, who was beaten to death by her Christian parents.

    News video:

    Another couple found guilty of murder for parenting by "To Train Up a Child"

    by Alicia Bayer - November 15, 2013

    Two parents in Washington state have been found guilty of murder after allegedly following the abusive parenting techniques advocated in the parenting book "To Train Up a Child" by Michael and Debi Pearl.

    Larry and Carri Williams received the maximum prison sentences allowable under the law after being found guilty of beating and starving their adopted daughter Hana to death. The methods they used to "discipline" their daughter were advocated in the controversial Christian book.

    The New York Times reported:

    Late one night in May this year, the adopted girl, Hana, was found face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard; her death was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition, officials determined. According to the sheriff’s report, the parents had deprived her of food for days at a time and had made her sleep in a cold barn or a closet and shower outside with a hose. And they often whipped her, leaving marks on her legs. The mother had praised the Pearls’ book and given a copy to a friend, the sheriff’s report said. Hana had been beaten the day of her death, the report said, with the 15-inch plastic tube recommended by Mr. Pearl.

    Some of the discipline techniques the Pearls teach include:

    · Using plastic plumbing tubing to beat children
    · Wearing the plastic tubing around the parent's neck as a constant reminder to obey
    · "Swatting" babies as young as six months old with instruments such as "a 12-inch willowy branch," thinner plastic tubing or a wooden spoon
    · "Blanket training" babies by hitting them with an instrument if they try to crawl off a blanket on the floor
    · Beating older children with rulers, paddles, belts and larger tree branches
    · "Training" children with pain before they even disobey, in order to teach total obedience
    · Giving cold water baths, putting children outside in cold weather and withholding meals as discipline
    · Hosing off children who have potty training accidents
    · Inflicting punishment until a child is "without breath to complain"

    Michael Pearl tells one mother on his website, "I could break his anger in two days. He would be too scared to get angry. On the third day he would draw into a quiet shell and obey."

    Despite Pearl's claim that plumbing line is too light to cause damage to muscle or bone, it caused the death of seven year-old Lydia Schatz in 2010. Officials ruled that she died of severe tissue damage.

    The Pearls and their ministry, No Greater Joy, make an estimated $1.7 million a year.

    The couple is the third set of parents to be found guilty of killing their children who were said to be followers of the Pearls, whose books are commonly given out in some churches and sent for free to military families. It is unknown how many other children's deaths could be tied to the books.

    I have written extensively about the Pearls in the past, including:

    · Another child's death linked to Pearls and "To Train Up a Child"
    · Michael Pearl writes that he is laughing at his critics after child's death
    · Child's death leads Christians to speak out against Michael and Debi Pearl
    · Web site provides chilling quotes from "To Train Up a Child"
    · Petition against "To Train Up a Child" nears 90,000 signatures

    After the death of 7 year-old Lydia Schatz, family friend Paul Mathers wrote on his blog:

    "The Schatzes followed, to a "t", a system of child rearing which came from Michael and Debi Pearl... The Pearls are not professionally trained or educated in child development. They came up with this darkness out of the abundance of their hearts... It is one of the most hate-filled, wicked and evil systems I've encountered in my life, all with a sheen of 'Christian' and 'happy families.'"

    Mathers told Salon.com:

    "I would love to see the people rise up and say no to the Pearls, that this will not stand. I would love to see the Pearl system become anathema, disgusting, and shunned by the world. I would love to see the Pearls out of a job. Before another child dies."

    Sadly, this was not the case.

    Please use your voice, both online and off, to speak up against abusive practices like those advocated in To Train Up a Child. Put a banner on your blog. Post to your Facebook page. Speak up in your church. Sign the petition asking Amazon.com to stop selling these books. Give better books and resources to new parents you know.

    Children need love, safety and guidance. The best way to raise good children is to be good to them. Let's do all we can to protect all children from anybody who says otherwise.



    This is their Christianity where they torture and abuse children to death in the name of God. Despite so many children being killed this way the writers of the book are free to sell their book and are millionaires because of it. Their book is continuing to be sold and given to people by the Churches without any problem.

    They take away children from Muslim parents for no real reason yet millions of Christian families are using this book to torture and abuse their children freely.

  3. #23
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    Evangelicals win free-speech case tied to Dearborn protest

    Christian evangelicals marched around Dearborn with a pig's head on a pole, telling Muslims they would "burn in hell."


    The U.S. Supreme Court has opted to stay quiet on a local free-speech case, marking a victory for a group of evangelical Christians who marched around Dearborn with a pig's head on a pole while telling Muslims they would "burn in hell" at a festival five years ago.

    A federal appeals court had previously ruled in favor of the demonstrators, concluding members' speech was protected activity.

    Today, the nation's highest court declined to hear the case -- offering no reason -- which means the lower court ruling stands.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had previously ruled the demonstrators were protected by the Constitution.

    "The First Amendment ... envelops all manner of speech, even when that speech is loathsome in its intolerance, designed to cause offense, and, as a result of such offense, arouses violent retaliation.” [What lack of common sense and decency!]

    The case involves a group called Bible Believers, whose members were evicted from a 2012 Arab-American street festival over their conduct. The demonstrators were marching around with a pig’s head mounted on a pole while carrying anti-Muslim signs and making anti-Muslim statements.

    Wayne County Sheriff's deputies removed the demonstrators — who were pelted with rocks, eggs and water bottles — to restore the peace. At issue in the case was the so-called heckler's veto — where police silence a speaker to appease an angry crowd and stave off potential violence.

    The demonstrators sued, claiming the deputies failed to protect them and instead unlawfully kicked them out to silence their protected speech. The courts twice ruled in favor of the sheriff's deputies, concluding they were justified in evicting the demonstrators on security grounds -- they were trying to prevent further violence.

    The lawsuit eventually wound up before the entire U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals bench, which reversed course and ruled in favor of the Bible Believers, concluding their speech was protected.

    “Diversity, in viewpoints and among cultures, is not always easy. An inability or a general unwillingness to understand new or different points of view may breed fear, distrust and even loathing,” the justices wrote. “But … the First Amendment demands that we tolerate the viewpoints of others with whom we may disagree.”

    Attorney Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center, who argued the case on behalf of the Bible Believers, applauded the decision.

    "If this went the other way, it would incentivize violence as a legitimate response to free speech, and that is wrong in our country," Muise said following the Sixth Circuit decision.

    The lawsuit was filed against Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and two deputies, who had argued that they had a right to protect the public from violence on the night of the festival, noting the Bible Believers had caused problems in the past. According to court documents, the group attended the Dearborn festival the year before and things got ugly: Members spewed hate messages, fights broke out and the group was evicted.

    When it returned the next year, the group requested extra protection, saying it was entitled to police protection from hostile audiences. But the Wayne County Sheriff's Office offered no such protection, arguing the group wasn't entitled to it and that law enforcement has the right to remove a speaker from an event "for his own protection" and to preserve the peace.

    The courts disagreed.


    They protect their own whether their are the culprits or the victims, and they hide behind "free speech" to show their hatred and bigotry towards others. The land of the "free" and the "brave" who likes to terrorize the minorities in their communities.

  4. #24
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    Christian Hate Group in Texas Threatens to Kill Muslims – And Nobody Asks Where the Group Was Radicalized

    Where were they radicalized?

    That’s the question we should be asking.

    An extremist group of white, presumably Christian men in Texas are training against a non-existent Islamic “uprising” by dipping their bullets in pig’s blood and bacon grease to target Muslims. The fact that consumption of pork is forbidden in Islam is well-known.

    The extremist group, based in Irving, refers to itself as “Bureau of American Islamic Relations” (BAIR), an obvious mockery of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which carries out crucial work to safeguard the constitutional rights of Muslims in the United States.

    Members of BAIR think that lining bullets with pig blood would ensure that their Muslim victims would “go straight to hell”, according to a video released by AJ+. One BAIR member in the video stated, “A lot of us here are using either pig’s blood or bacon grease on our bullets, packing it in the middle so that when you shoot a Muslim, they go straight to hell”. Another member insisted, “Don’t f*ck with white people.”

    David Wright, spokesperson for BAIR, said he was “going to start doing something about Muslims… now”. That’s code word for “I’m going to threaten Muslims with violence”.

    Clearly, members of BAIR are misinformed and uninformed. One member told AJ+, “the next step in jihad does not involve random, sporadic attacks… They start killing people”.

    Actually, no. That’s not true.

    I teach the course “Muslims in American Society” at Rice University in Houston, not too far from Irving, where BAIR is based. Our class, composed of Muslims and non-Muslims, takes a careful look at the various dimensions of jihad. The students, I should add, get alone perfectly fine despite coming from largely Christian and Muslim backgrounds.

    Jihad has many meanings. It’s often misinterpreted to mean “holy war”, obvious in the case of BAIR, but jihad really means “to struggle” or “to strive”. A jihad might be waking up when your alarm goes off in the morning. A jihad might be putting up with an annoying relative on a holiday.

    A jihad might be turning the other cheek when blatantly Islamophobic groups like BAIR openly call for the murder of Muslims.

    It’s true there is an offensive or “violent” form of jihad, but it’s for purposes of self-defense. The Quran, the Islamic holy book, calls on Muslims to “jihad” against the use of violence. The Quran (5:32) states, “if anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole of humanity: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of humanity”. In another Quranic passage (2:190), Muslims are told, “fight in the case of God those who start fighting you, but do not transgress limits (or start the attack); for God loveth not transgressors”.

    Members of BAIR live in a fantasy world where Muslims pose the greatest threat to “civilization”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Since 9/11, white right-wing terrorists have killed almost twice as many Americans in homegrown attacks than “radical Islamists” have, according to research by the New America Foundation.

    BAIR’s perception is not reality. The data, as Loon Watch points out, simply does not support their irrational view that Muslims pose a threat to the United States. On the FBI’s official website, there exists a chronological list of all terrorist attacks committed on American soil from the year 1980 all the way to 2005. According to this data, there were more Jewish acts of terrorism within the United States than Islamic (7% vs 6%).

    To put it simply, the threat of Muslim American terrorism is grossly exaggerated.

    Funny, too, that members of BAIR consider themselves Christians. Remind me about the passage of the Bible where Jesus asks people to put pig blood on bullets to kill non-Christians. That’s apparently what BAIR members think. That killing people ensures a seat next to Jesus in heaven.

    Let me wrap this up by flipping things around. Imagine if CAIR called on Muslims to kill Christians. Imagine the uproar. Imagine the media coverage, the hysteria. Politicians in Washington, DC and elsewhere would head to the press to pose the question, “where were they [CAIR members] radicalized?”.

    Why aren’t we asking the same question about BAIR?

    This is what we call “double standards”.


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    Right-Wing ‘Crusaders’ Militia Group Plotted Terror Attack On Muslim Immigrants, FBI Charges

    The terrorist group reportedly had “sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs.”


    WASHINGTON ― Three Kansas men who were allegedly part of a domestic terrorist group called “the Crusaders” were arrested by the FBI on Friday, charged with plotting to carry out an attack on Muslims living in the state.

    The men are identified as Patrick Stein, Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen, and are all in their late 40s. They belonged to a group that espoused “sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs,” according to an FBI agent’s affidavit, and allegedly plotted to attack Muslim immigrants, focusing on an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas.

    According to the Department of Justice, the trio allegedly stockpiled firearms, ammunition and explosive materials, and discussed parking four vehicles filled with explosives at the four corners of the apartment complex in order to set off a massive explosion.

    Stein allegedly conducted surveillance on at least three different occasions, and discussed targeting churches that had supported refugees. At a July 2016 meeting at Wright’s mobile home business, where Allen worked, the three allegedly plotted attacking city and county commission meetings and even landlords who rented to Muslim refugees.

    They ultimately settled on the apartment complex in Garden City, and began ordering the materials they would need to create bombs.

    At some point, the FBI introduced an undercover agent to work with the confidential source they’d been using to watch the group. The agent provided automatic weapons, and even allowed Stein to fire them when they met on Oct. 12.



    During one conference call, Stein allegedly said, “The only fucking way this country’s ever going to get turned around is it will be a bloodbath and it will be a nasty, messy motherfucker. Unless a lot more people in this country wake up and smell the fucking coffee and decide they want this country back … we might be too late, if they do wake up … I think we can get it done. But it ain’t going to be nothing nice about it.”

    Stein also allegedly referred to the group’s targets, Somali immigrants, as “cockroaches,” discussed dipping bullets in pig’s blood before using them, and “yelled at Somali women dressed in traditional garb, calling them ‘fucking raghead bitches.’”

    All three men’s Facebook pages contain links to articles on conspiracy websites, many of which are anti-Muslim in nature. In May, Allen shared an article about a Dutch politician who purportedly called for a ban on Islam and the closing of all mosques. “Wow someone finally decided too [sic] open there [sic] eyes and pay attention to this cult!!!!” Allen commented. Also in May, Stein shared an article from a website called Militia News about the “Muslim conquest of America.”

    The men’s arrests come amid a surge in hate crimes targeting Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim.

    Mosques in the U.S. have suffered vandalism, arson and other types of destruction 78 times in 2015, according to a report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. That’s a nearly 400 percent jump from 2014.

    Another report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the California State University, San Bernardino, documented 260 hate crimes targeting Muslims in 2015 ― a nearly 80 percent rise from the year before, and the highest annual number of such crimes since 2001.



    If these men were Muslims then this would be news non-stop, as it usually is, but since they are white christian/atheists there is no mention of it in mainstream media. These are the real terrorists and their supporters are the media who cover for them.

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    When Christians Forcibly Converted Ottoman Muslims to Christianity

    This picture was taken in Bosniak-Albanian city of Plav and Gusinje, in Sandžak, today Montenegro,

    in 1912-1913 when the Ottomans lost the Balkan War, Montenegrians forcibly baptized Muslims and forcefully tried to convert them to become Christians, around 12500 Muslims were baptized under the threat of their lives. 90% of them didn't accepted Christianity and continued being Muslims, when their lives were safe.



    Whether it's the past or present (or even the future) this is what Christians did, do, and will do to the non-Christians. Whether its the invaded lands or their refugees from these people's wars they will do the same, and then they try to accuse Muslims of forced conversion.

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    We need to talk about the online radicalisation of young, white men

    Abi Wilkinson

    With the appointment of Breitbart News’s chair to Trump’s staff we need to be clear about the links between misogyny, racism and neofascism on alt-right websites

    For several years now, I’ve had a dark and fairly unusual hobby. When I’m alone and bored and the mood strikes me, I’ll open up my laptop and head for a particularly unsavoury corner of the internet.

    No, not the bit you’re thinking of. Somewhere far worse. That loose network of blogs, forums, subreddits and alternative media publications colloquially known as the “manosphere”. An online subculture centred around hatred, anger and resentment of feminism specifically, and women more broadly. It’s grimly fascinating and now troubling relevant.

    In modern parlance, this is part of the phenomenon known as the “alt-right”. More sympathetic commentators portray it as “a backlash to PC culture” and critics call it out as neofascism. Over the past year, it has been strange to see the disturbing internet subculture I’ve followed for so long enter the mainstream. The executive chairman of one of its most popular media outlets, Breitbart, has just been appointed Donald Trump’s chief of strategy, and their UK bureau chief was among the first Brits to have a meeting with the president-elect. Their figurehead – Milo Yiannopoulos – toured the country stumping for him during the campaign on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour. These people are now part of the political landscape.

    On their forums I’ve read long, furious manifestos claiming that women are all sluts who “ride the cock carousel” and sleep with a series of “alpha males” until they reach the end of their sexual prime, at which point they seek out a “beta cuck” to settle down with for financial security. I’ve lurked silently on blogs dedicated to “pick-up artistry” as men argue that uppity, opinionated, feminist women – women like myself – need to be put in their place through “corrective rape”.

    [skip a few...]

    When we fret about young people leaving western countries and going to fight with Isis, it’s common to focus on the role of the internet in their political radicalisation. It’s time we discussed the radicalisation of angry, young white men in a similar way. The manosphere gave us Elliot Rodger. He was a regular on the forum “PUAhate” – populated by bitter men who had tried the techniques advocated by so-called “pick-up artists” to attract women and failed.

    Reading through the posting history of individual aliases, it’s possible to chart their progress from vague dissatisfaction, and desire for social status and sexual success, to full-blown adherence to a cohesive ideology of white supremacy and misogyny. Neofascists treat these websites as recruitment grounds. They find angry, frustrated young men and groom them in their own image. Yet there’s no Prevent equivalent to try to stamp this out.

    Much has been written about financial hardship turning afflicted white communities into breeding grounds for white supremacist politics, but what about when dissatisfaction has little to do with economic circumstance? It’s hard to know what can be done to combat this phenomenon, but surely we have to start by taking the link between online hatred and resentment of women and the rise of neofascism seriously.


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    THE ELECTION OF Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through the souls of compassionate, humane people across the country and the world. Horror that a candidate who ran on a platform of open bigotry, threats against immigrants and Muslims, and blatant misogyny will soon be president is now sinking in. Trump appointed a white nationalist, Steve Bannon, as chief White House strategist — which was promptly celebrated by the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Bannon and other possible extremist Trump appointees, such as John Bolton, a neocon who believes the U.S. should “bomb Iran,” and the authoritarian Rudy Giuliani, are now receiving much deserved public scrutiny.

    The incoming vice president, Mike Pence, has not elicited the same reaction, instead often painted as the reasonable adult on the ticket, a “counterbalance” to Trump and a “bridge to the establishment.” However, there is every reason to regard him as, if anything, even more terrifying than the president-elect.

    Pence’s ascent to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence — and his fellow Christian supremacist militants — would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend. “This may not be our preferred candidate, but that doesn’t mean it may not be God’s candidate to do something that we don’t see,” said David Barton, a prominent Christian-right activist and president of Wall Builders, an organization dedicated to making the U.S. government enforce “biblical values.” In June, Barton prophesied: “We may look back in a few years and say, ‘Wow, [Trump] really did some things that none of us expected.’”

    Trump is a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors. With Republican control of the House and Senate and the prospect of dramatically and decisively tilting the balance of the Supreme Court to the far right, the incoming administration will have a real shot at bringing the fire and brimstone of the second coming to Washington.

    “The enemy, to them, is secularism. They want a God-led government. That’s the only legitimate government,” contends Jeff Sharlet, author of two books on the radical religious right, including “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.” “So when they speak of business, they’re speaking not of something separate from God, but they’re speaking of what, in Mike Pence’s circles, would be called biblical capitalism, the idea that this economic system is God-ordained.”

    One of Trump’s sons, Don Jr., reportedly said that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy, while Trump would focus on the vague mission of “Making America Great Again.” Trump’s campaign subsequently claimed the story was “made up,” though Trump has consistently denied saying things he is on record as saying, so who knows? In any case, the implications of a Pence vice presidency are vast. Pence combines the most horrid aspects of Dick Cheney’s worldview with a belief that Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” novels are not fiction, but an omniscient crystal ball.

    How the GOP foisted Pence on Trump is undoubtedly a fascinating story that hopefully will some day be revealed. Obviously, Pence gave Trump badly needed credibility with evangelical voters and the GOP establishment, but Pence’s selection portends a governing apocalypse. While Trump has flip-flopped on a variety of issues, from abortion to immigration to war and health care, Pence has been a reliable stalwart throughout his public life in the cause of Christian jihad — never wavering in his commitment to America-First militarism, the criminalizing of abortion, and utter hatred for gay people (unless they go into conversion therapy “to change their sexual behavior,” which Pence has suggested the government pay for).

    He supported making the Patriot Act permanent and wants to ban the burning of the U.S. flag. Pence does not believe federal law enforcement agencies should have to get a FISA warrant to conduct domestic surveillance and voted against requiring any warrant for domestic wiretapping. As governor of Indiana, he did quietly sign a bill to limit the use of Stingray devices by local law enforcement, though it was during the early stages of the Snowden revelations and the public concern about government surveillance was intense.

    Pence supported giving retroactive immunity to telecom companies implicated in warrantless surveillance. He does not want congressional oversight of CIA interrogations — which Trump believes should include waterboarding and other torture “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Pence has paid lip service to the illegality of torture but said that “enhanced interrogation” has saved lives. He has characterized relationship-building, non-coercive interrogation strategies as “Oprah Winfrey methods.” Pence is against whistleblower protections that would prohibit retaliation for reporting crimes or misdeeds. In 2002, the ACLU gave him a 7 percent ratingon civil rights.

    He wants the U.S. to resume the practice of holding new prisoners at Guantánamo Bay or, as Trump put it, they plan “to fill it up.” Pence also supports expanded use of the military tribunal system.

    Pence has claimed that he wants to “economically isolate” Iran rather than engage in a military attack. But should Israel decide to conduct pre-emptive strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, he said in 2010, “if the world knows nothing else, let the world know this: that America will stand with Israel.” He supported a failed legislative effort to make it U.S. policy “to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force.” Both in rhetoric and policy, Pence has compared “radical Islam” to the “evil empire of the Soviet Union” and said that he and Trump will “name the enemy” and “marshal the resources of our nation and our allies to hunt them down and destroy them before they threaten us.”

    As has been widely reported, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law requiring fetal tissue from abortions to be buried or cremated, making his state one of the most medieval in its approach to reproductive rights. The fetus burial law, which Pence claimed would “ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn,” was suspended at the 11th hour by a federal judge, who said it was likely unconstitutional. Pence has been at the forefront of the movement to defund Planned Parenthood. “We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” Pence promised. He has long sought to have 14th Amendment protections applied to fetuses, arguing that they should be declared persons. In Congress, Pence voted to criminally punish doctors who performed late-term abortions, except in cases where the woman’s life was in danger. A doctor who “kills a human fetus” faces up to two years in prison, according to that law.

    Pence opposed efforts to widen hate crimes laws to include attacks on LGBT people. He tried to block federal funding of HIV treatments unless they came with a requirement to advocate against gay relationships. Pence opposes non-straight people serving in the military. “Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion,” he said.

    Pence believes “the only truly safe sex … is no sex” and once (falsely) claimed on CNN that “condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.”

    Pence supports the “wall” Trump has said he will build, believes in self-deportation, and has staked out one of the most virulent positions against the U.S. taking in refugees from Syria. In defending a proposed ban on Syrian refugees entering Indiana, Pence said it was necessary to “ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers.” He has advocated for greater militarization of the so-called war on drugs, including escalated military patrols. Pence denounced activists and others protesting recent police killings of unarmed African-Americans, charging they “seize upon tragedy in the wake of police action shootings.” He said he found it offensive to “use a broad brush to accuse law enforcement of implicit bias or institutional racism and that really has got to stop.” He has said that “police officers are the best of us.”

    Pence is a strong supporter of stop-and-frisk programs, which in New York were used overwhelmingly against people of color. “It’s on a sound constitutional footing,” said Pence, who added that he wanted the practice expanded nationwide. “Stop-and-frisk literally saved lives in New York City when it was implemented, and it’s been implemented in cities around the country.”

    One interesting difference between Pence and Trump centers on the First Amendment. Trump has made clear he believes in waging war against a free press and has encouraged hostility toward journalists covering his campaign. While in Congress, Pence was a major force behind trying to get a federal shield law to protect journalists’ rights to maintain confidential sources. A former radio talk show host, Pence said he was inspired to act by the case of then-New York Times reporter Judy Miller, who was imprisoned for refusing to answer questions about her sources during the scandal over the outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. No such law was ever passed and the bill provided wide latitude to nullify the protections of journalists in national security situations.

    When he joined the ticket with Trump last summer, Pence claimed they were internally reviewing the campaign policy on the treatment of journalists covering Trump events. If anything, the situation worsened as the campaign moved forward.

    On health care, Pence is now on board with repealing the Affordable Care Act, though as governor he did embrace the law in a pretty bold act of hypocrisy. He also supported denying non-emergency care for people who cannot afford a Medicare co-payment and opposed expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

    Pence is what might be termed “climate change curious,” though earlier in his political career, he wrote an essay in which he asserted, “Global warming is a myth. The global warming treaty is a disaster. There, I said it.” More recently, Pence has kind of acknowledged the fact-based nature of human action contributing to climate change but opposes ending any of the industrial, governmental, or corporate practices responsible. He has consistently advocated withdrawing from climate change agreements and treaties. Pence has an impressively atrocious record on environmental issues and a slavish devotion to big energy and big oil companies.

    He opposed government assistance to U.S. workers who lost their jobs because of free trade agreements and has supported every neoliberal trade program since his time in public office. Pence was a loud proponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership until he joined Trump on the ticket, and now he claims to be pondering the “wisdom” of the agreement.

    MIKE PENCE WAS raised Catholic, in a Kennedy Democrat household, but he has been a devout evangelical since being converted at a Christian music festival in Kentucky while in college. Pence now describes himself as “a Christian, a Conservative, and a Republican, in that order.” Even his political action committee’s name gives off a crusader vibe: Principles Exalt a Nation.

    Pence opposed imposing restrictions on no-bid contracting, which may help explain his close relationship to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater. In December 2007, three months after Blackwater operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, Pence and his Republican Study Committee, which served “the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the House of Representatives,” organized a gathering to welcome Prince to Washington. But their relationship is not just forged in wars. Prince and his mother, Elsa, have been among the top funders of scores of anti-gay-marriage ballot initiatives across the country and have played a key role in financing efforts to criminalize abortion.

    Prince has long given money to Pence’s political campaigns, and toward the end of the presidential election, he contributed $100,000 to the pro-Trump/Pence Super PAC Make America Number 1. Prince’s mother kicked in another $50,000. Ironically, Erik Prince — who portrays himself as a mix between Indiana Jones, Rambo, Captain America, and Pope Benedict — is now working with the Chinese government through his latest “private security” firm.

    THE PRINCE FAMILY’S support for Pence, and the Christian supremacist movement he represents, has deep roots.

    Erik Prince’s father, Edgar, built up a very successful manufacturing business in Holland, Michigan, and became one of the premier bankrollers of what came to be known as the radical religious right. They gave Gary Bauer the seed money to start the Family Research Council and poured money into James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. “Ed Prince was not an empire builder. He was a Kingdom builder,” Bauer recalled soon after the elder Prince’s death. “For him, personal success took a back seat to spreading the Gospel and fighting for the moral restoration of our society.” Erik Prince’s sister Betsy married Dick DeVos, whose father, Richard, founded the multilevel marketing firm Amway and went on to own the Orlando Magic basketball team. The two families merged together like the monarchies of old Europe and swiftly emerged as platinum-level contributors to far-right Christian causes and political figures.

    The Prince and DeVos families gave the seed money for what came to be known as the Republican Revolution when Newt Gingrich became House speaker in 1994 on a far-right platform known as the Contract with America. The Prince and DeVos clans also invested heavily in a scheme developed by Dobson to engage in back-door lobbying activities by forming “prayer warrior” networks of people who would call politicians to advocate for Dobson’s religious and political agenda. Instead of lobbying, which the organization would have been prohibited from doing because of its tax and legal status, they would claim they were “praying” for particular policies.

    The Princes consistently poured money into criminalizing abortion, privatizing education, blocking gay rights, and other right-wing causes centered around their interpretation of Christianity. The family, especially Erik, was very close to Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Watergate conspirator Charles “Chuck” Colson. The author of Nixon’s enemies list, Colson was the first person sentenced in the Watergate scandal, after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in the investigation of the dirty tricks campaign against Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Colson became a born-again Christian before going to prison, and after his release, he started the Prison Fellowship, which sought to convert prisoners to Christianity to counter what Colson saw as the Islamic menace in U.S. prisons. Erik Prince funded this as well and went on prison visits with Colson.

    All of these figures, bankrolled by the Prince family, are the ideological and theological ascendants of Mike Pence, who called Colson “a dear friend and mentor.” Colson and his allies viewed the administration of Bill Clinton as a secular “regime” and openly contemplated a faith-based revolution. In the early ’90s, Colson teamed up with conservative evangelical minister-turned-Catholic priest Richard Neuhaus and others to build a unified movement. That work ultimately led in 1994 to the controversial document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.” (Note: I wrote extensively about this in my book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army” and drew heavily on that for this story.) Pence has described himself as “a born-again, evangelical Catholic.”

    The ECT manifesto declared:
    The century now drawing to a close has been the greatest century of missionary expansion in Christian history. We pray and we believe that this expansion has prepared the way for yet greater missionary endeavor in the first century of the Third Millennium. The two communities in world Christianity that are most evangelistically assertive and most rapidly growing are Evangelicals and Catholics.
    The signatories called for a unification of these religions in a common missionary cause, that “all people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” They asserted that religion is “privileged and foundational in our legal order” and spelled out the need to defend “the moral truths of our constitutional order.” The document was most passionate in its opposition to abortion, calling abortion on demand “a massive attack on the dignity, rights, and needs of women. Abortion is the leading edge of an encroaching culture of death.” It also called for “moral education” in schools, advocating for educational institutions “that transmit to coming generations our cultural heritage, which is inseparable from the formative influence of religion, especially Judaism and Christianity.”

    The ECT signers, according to author Damon Linker — who worked for Neuhaus for years — “had not only forged a historic theological and political alliance. They had also provided a vision of America’s religious and political future. It would be a religious future in which upholding theological orthodoxy and moral traditionalism overrode doctrinal disagreements. And it would be a political future in which the most orthodox and traditionalist Christians set the public tone and policy agenda for the nation.”

    In November 1996 — the month Clinton crushed Bob Dole and won re-election — an organ of what Linker termed the theoconservative movement, Richard Neuhaus’s journal First Things, published a “symposium” titled “The End of Democracy?” Acknowledging that it might be viewed as “irresponsibly provocative and even alarmist,” the symposium bluntly questioned “whether we have reached or are reaching the point where conscientious citizens can no longer give moral assent to the existing regime.” A series of essays raised the prospect of a major confrontation between the church and the “regime,” at times seeming to predict a civil-war scenario or Christian insurrection against the government, exploring possibilities “ranging from noncompliance to resistance to civil disobedience to morally justified revolution.”

    Chuck Colson authored one of the five major essays in the issue, as did the extremist judge Robert Bork, whom Reagan had tried unsuccessfully to appoint to the Supreme Court in 1987. Colson’s essay was titled “Kingdoms in Conflict.” “Events in America may have reached the point where the only political action believers can take is some kind of direct, extra-political confrontation of the judicially controlled regime,” Colson wrote, adding that a “showdown between church and state may be inevitable. This is not something for which Christians should hope. But it is something for which they need to prepare.”

    Dobson said the essays “laid an indisputable case for the illegitimacy of the regime now passing itself off as a democracy,” adding, “I stand in a long tradition of Christians who believe that rulers may forfeit their divine mandate when they systematically contravene the divine moral law. … We may rapidly be approaching the sort of Rubicon that our spiritual forebears faced: Choose Caesar or God. I take no pleasure in this prospect; I pray against it. But it is worth noting that such times have historically been rejuvenating for the faith.”

    TODAY, PENCE AND his allies have warded off the return of another secular Clinton regime that their ideological and theological prophets once contemplated overthrowing. They will now have the opportunity to build the temple they have long desired. “Secular viewers forget that King David wasn’t always such a nice guy in the Bible, but he was God’s chosen man,” said Jeff Sharlet. “So there’s a coalescing idea that somehow, obviously, God is doing something with Trump.”

    Donald Trump’s grasp of the bible is certainly not up to the standards of Pence and the religious zealots behind him. “Two Corinthians 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame,” Trump declared — in the same way he spits out “Make America Great Again” — in front of an audience at an evangelical college on the campaign trail. People laughed. At him. It is Second Corinthians.

    Perhaps that episode is telling. The radical religious right doesn’t need to save Trump’s soul. As they saw in the campaign, Trump has staked out a hateful agenda — one that tracks quite well with the crusades of Pence and his fellow apostles. Even if elements of Trump’s vile rhetoric and his various threats were a psychotic form of performance art, or mere opportunistic political strategy, as some suggest, they have set the stage for the pursuit of a civilizational war that poses a dire threat to vulnerable populations throughout the world. President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and a slew of prominent Democrats have publicly said that Americans should give Trump a chance. With Mike Pence seated at the right hand of the father, running foreign and domestic policy, they will do so at their peril.


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    Default Christian homeless shelter forced to move after Church Christians Complain

    Christian homeless shelter forced to move after Christians from nearby church complain

    For 10 days, hundreds of homeless people were left to look elsewhere for a meal. The service had provided meals three times a day since 1998.

    10 October 2016

    A Christian homeless shelter in California was forced to relocate after Christian neighbours across the street made complaints.
    The Merced County Rescue Mission stopped serving meals for more than a week this month, leaving hundreds of homeless people to look elsewhere; after receiving complaints from members of the Central Presbyterian Church, which is opposite the shelter.

    For 10 days, hundreds of homeless people were left to look elsewhere for a meal. The service had provided meals three times a day since 1998.


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    Default Ted Cruz vs. The Muslim Brotherhood Boogeyman

    Ted Cruz vs. The Muslim Brotherhood Boogeyman

    How the senator’s new bill could destroy American Muslim groups and lead to the “wanton violation” of civil rights.


    A bill introduced this week by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) calls on the U.S. State Department to determine whether the Muslim Brotherhood is a foreign terrorist organization. Advocates for American Muslims suspect a darker purpose ― to smear and potentially prosecute American Muslim advocacy groups, a move that could prove disastrous for the civil rights of Muslims in this country.

    Cruz and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) introduced the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act in both chambers of Congress on Tuesday. In a press release, Cruz said that the brotherhood espouses “a violent Islamist ideology with a mission of destroying the West” and that formally designating them a terror group would “enable the U.S. to take action that could stifle the funding they receive to promote their terrorist activities.”

    It’s the fifth time members of the Senate and House, urged on by a multimillion-dollar network of anti-Muslim groups, have attempted to label the Muslim Brotherhood a terror organization.

    Full article @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b092a6cae42666


    "This is how it happens.

    First, they'll designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization (the first time ever done so on ideological grounds). It's not just Ted Cruz who wants this. Trump has surrounded himself with a lot of people who have made this their first priority.

    Second, they'll start targeting domestic Muslim charities and civil rights groups (like CAIR, ISNA, ICNA, NAIT, MAS, IIIT, etc.) as supposed "fronts" for the MB based entirely on conspiracy theories and Facebook shares from your racist aunt.

    Third, once those civil rights groups are shut down for investigation, there will be nothing to stand in the way of massive violations of civil rights of Muslims. Don't count on Democrats or supposed libertarian-leaning Republicans to oppose this in any way that matters.

    This is not me being paranoid. This is their plan, and it's out in the open. Anyone concerned about free speech, religious freedom, and civil liberties must oppose this."

    (Jeremy McLellan)

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    Mother Kills Baby During Exorcism

    Mother killed her baby boy by ripping out his tongue and intestines during 'exorcism' after she became convinced he was possessed by demons.

    By Gianluca Mezzofiore - 26 February 2016

    A Kenyan woman has been arrested after allegedly killing her six-month son by ripping out his tongue and intestines in an exorcism attempt gone wrong.

    Irene Mbithe was pictured sitting with the baby's corpse on her lap, wrapped up in a sheet, in front of her house in Kangurue slum, Nairobi, where the tragedy occurred.

    Residents raised alarm and called police after Irene's aunt, Catherine Muthama, arrived at the house and saw the gruesome scene.

    'When I arrived I was surprised to see the mother having pulled out the tongue of the baby and I screamed at her asking why she had killed him,' she said on K24 television.

    It is believed that the woman cut out her son's tongue and scooped out his intestines in an attempt to 'free him' from the demons. Neighbours said the exorcism lasted all night.

    The mother, who looked remorseful yet confused, said she meant no harm to him: 'God punish me if I have done anything wrong to my son who I love so much and have prayed for years to conceive and give birth to.'

    Police took Mbithe for questioning at the Kayole Police station while the body of the baby was taken to the mortuary.'

  12. #32
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    Trump’s Inaugural Address: A Call For Holy War


    President Donald Trump used his inaugural address to call for the “civilized world” to unite “against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.” It received one of the most enthusiastic responses from the crowd in attendance at the National Mall.

    The words evoked memory of President George W. Bush and his administration. After the September 11th attacks, Bush referred to the “war on terrorism” as a “crusade.” It suggested the Bush administration meant to fight terrorism as a kind of holy war against Muslims.

    Trump did not use the word “crusade,” but there was a distinct Christian theocratic theme to his gung ho declaration to “reinforce old alliances and form new ones” in the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism.”

    “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other,” Trump said.

    Immediately after pining for a newfound commitment to war, he added, “When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, ‘how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.'”

    “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.”

    “We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.”

    This is a call for Holy War, a sanctioning of war and further bloodshed by insisting any violence by Americans is endorsed by God.

    Following Bush’s “crusade” remark, James Carroll wrote for The Nation in 2004 about the Catholic pope during the days of the Crusades. The pope sought to overcome “century-long dislocations of a post-millennial Christendon. He called for holy war. The Muslims were infidels because they took the Holy Land.

    “Now, that occupation was defined as an intolerable blasphemy,” Carroll declared. “The Holy Land must be redeemed. Within months of the pope’s call, 100,000 people had ‘taken the cross’ to reclaim the Holy Land for Christ. As a proportion of the population of Europe, a comparable movement today would involve more than a million people, dropping everything to go to war.”

    Carroll continued, “In the name of Jesus, and certain of God’s blessing, crusaders launched what might be called ‘shock and awe’ attacks everywhere they went. In Jerusalem, they savagely slaughtered Muslims and Jews alike–practically the whole city.”

    Blood lust left quite a violent trail, and as Carroll argued, the religious invasions and wars of the Crusades “established a cohesive Western identity precisely in opposition to Islam, an opposition that survives to this day.”

    Trump, particularly bolstered by the Christian fundamentalist forces led by Vice President Mike Pence, aims to make this Western identity a central part of the “war on terrorism,” and this time officials will be less sensitive to criticism around whether it is appropriate to use words that suggest America is waging holy war.

    Bush covertly, and sometime rather overtly, embraced the clash of civilizations. President Barack Obama did not. He never called upon this Western identity to unify citizens. When he addressed terrorism in his second inaugural address, he spoke about the possibility of ending perpetual war. “We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law,” he said. In contrast, Trump told Americans the government will not hesitate to kill radical Muslims because God is on America’s side.

    The project of maintaining hegemony or American dominance in the world continued vigorously under Obama. That involved the deaths of millions of civilians in the Middle East. The United States dropped 26,171 bombs on seven countries, which are predominately Muslim, in 2016. Using predator drones, thousands of alleged militants or terrorism suspects were killed in these countries, however, Obama backed away from torture, even though he didn’t prosecute any former Bush administration officials for torture.

    Casting the permanent war against “radical Islam” as one backed by a Christian God is a frame that can be used to campaign for the restoration of torture techniques. It is an invitation to dehumanize the “enemy” and commit all types of violence; not just for the good of America but also because a moral and Christian act of defense against those who threaten “civilization” requires it.

    Definitely, this is the kind of rhetoric that, as used by officials, will incite white Americans to follow their prejudice and act out violently toward any brown-skinned citizens they perceive as threats.

    The Islamic State and other extremist militia groups will be pleased to have Trump deploying this rhetoric. If Trump and Pence give them the new phase of war he pledged at his inaugural, the ranks of radical Islamic warriors will swell. They will not back down from U.S. forces “protected by God.” Countries will see even worse destruction from marauders and foreign military occupations. There will be a steep escalation in carnage.


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    Stop Trying To Rewrite History: America Is NOT A Christian Nation!


    We obviously need to replace all the Bibles in hotel rooms with copies of the Constitution. The Pew Research Center released a study today that showed 32 percent of Americans believe you have to be a Christian in order to be an American.

    Thirty-two percent of Americans said one should be Christian to really be American, compared to just 13 percent of Australians, 15 percent of Canadians and 15 percent of Europeans who felt the same way about belonging in their homelands.

    The same number of Americans — 32 percent — said that being born in the United States is key to being an American. More Americans — 45 percent — said that sharing “national customs and traditions” was important, and many more — 70 percent — said being an American meant speaking English.

    Religion was the only question on which Americans were an outlier. On birth, language and customs, America fell in line with other industrialized nations. (WaPo)

    Seriously people? Do I need to sign a blood oath? To start, this country was founded by people trying to escape religious oppression. Or did you sleep through history class? This bullshittery exhausts me. My religious beliefs have nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do with my being an American. Are Jews UnAmerican? My church taught that Catholics were not Christian. Does that mean Catholics aren’t American?

    Merriam-Webster defines patriotism as “love for or devotion to one’s country
    patriotism. — Christopher Hemphill>.” Note the quote…that although people can be ideologically on opposite ends of the spectrum, they can still be just as patriotic. That is something completely missing today from the general discussion. I found a great deal in common with and respect for principled conservatives leading into the election who were #NeverTrump. I do not think it occurred to any of us to question the other’s level of patriotism or status as a “real American”.

    You can wrap yourself in the flag or you can set it on fire in protest; you can read the Bible out loud or you can toss it aside as irrelevant; you can stand for the national anthem or get down on one knee. All of those actions are equally patriotic and equally American. I don’t have to agree with you, worship the same god as you, vote for the same candidate as you, to be equal to you. One party is not more godly than the other. Even if it were, it does not make it more American.

    Finally, Christianity, especially the white evangelical flavor, is losing its power in this country.
    Every single report, external and internal, shows this. It is not a secret. Screaming and yelling and fighting tooth and nail as the ship is sinking will not save it. Beating people over the heads with Bibles and attempting to legislate your religion will not win souls. Rewriting history to make America a Christian nation will not change anything. If you cannot win souls with your message, the problem is with your message, and you need to change your message. Might I sugge
    st starting with taking down the Confederate flag and baking wedding cakes for everyone? Bless your hearts, you’re just making your problems worse.


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    Religious law may be coming to America. But it’s not sharia; it’s Christian.


    Much-dreaded “sharia law,” or something resembling it, may well be coming to the United States.

    Just not in the form many Americans expected.

    That is, the religiously motivated laws creeping into public policymaking aren’t based on the Koran, and they aren’t coming from mythical hard-line Islamists in, say, Dearborn, Mich. They’re coming from the White House, which wants to make it easier for hard-line Christians to impose their beliefs and practices on the rest of us.

    A few days after declaring his intention to impose a religious test upon refugees so that Christians would be given priority, President Trump gave a bizarre speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. In between a plug for “The Apprentice” and boasts about his disastrous calls with heads of allied states, he made some less-noticed policy news.

    He vowed to help blur the line between church and state by repealing the Johnson Amendment.

    For those unfamiliar, this tax code provision bars tax-exempt entities such as churches and charitable organizations from participating in campaigns for or against political candidates. It dates to 1954, when it was signed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was not terribly controversial at the time.

    The provision basically says that if you want to be exempted from paying taxes — meaning you are effectively subsidized by other taxpayers, who pay for your access to emergency services, roads and other government functions — you can’t be involved in partisan politics. You can’t, among other things, take tax-deductible donations from your worshippers and turn around and spend them on political campaigns.

    That’s just the trade-off you agree to make.

    Certain religious organizations, in particular those from the evangelical Christian community, have opposed this law in recent years. And during the campaign, Trump indicated he’d do his darnedest to get them what they really want: not the ability to endorse candidates from the pulpit — a practice that the IRS has already been ignoring — but the ability to funnel taxpayer-subsidized funds into the political process.

    The president can’t “totally destroy” the law unilaterally, despite Trump’s pledge to do so; he’ll need action from Congress, but that may not be hard to secure these days. Republicans control both houses of Congress, and the most recent Republican platform included a commitment to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

    Also this week, the Nation’s Sarah Posner published a leaked draft of an executive order that would require federal agencies to look the other way when private organizations discriminate based on religious beliefs. Coincidentally, these seem to primarily be religious beliefs held by conservative Christians.

    The effect of the order might be to create wholesale exemptions to anti-discrimination law for people, nonprofits and closely held for-profit corporations that claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion and transgender identity. It would also curb women’s access to contraception through the Affordable Care Act. (A White House official did not dispute the draft’s authenticity.)

    This is, of course, all in the name of preserving religious freedom. Except that it allows some people to practice religious freedom by denying jobs, services and potentially public accommodation to those with differing beliefs.

    The order, if signed, would seem to exceed the executive branch’s authority, Posner notes; moreover, given that the order’s language appears to privilege some religious beliefs over others, it may violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

    Trump has also chosen personnel who seem keen on muddying the distinction between church and state.

    For example, his embattled education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos, has advocated that government dollars be channeled to religious schools through relatively expansive voucher programs. (During the campaign, Trump also said that public funds should follow students to the private school of their choice, explicitly including religious schools.)

    During her confirmation hearings, DeVos’s cryptic comments about supporting science education that encourages “critical thinking” have also been interpreted as well-established code for supporting the teaching of intelligent design, a sort of dressed-up creationism.

    I wish I could say that only a tiny fringe believes Christian practices deserve pride of place in public life and policymaking. But that’s not the case.

    In a poll released this week by the Pew Research Center, Americans were asked what made someone “truly American.” A third of respondents overall, and 43 percent of Republicans, said you need to be Christian. That would exclude me, as well as about 30 percent of the population.

    The far right has done a lot of fear-mongering about the undue influence that religious fanatics may soon exert on the body politic. Seems they better understood what they were talking about than most of us realized.


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    White Christian Terrorist who plotted New York mosque attack won't face terrorism charges

    BY Chris Sommerfeldt - February 14, 2017

    A Tennessee man won't face terrorism charges for plotting an attack against an upstate New York mosque - and attorneys claim it's because federal terrorism statutes almost exclusively focus on foreign extremists.

    Robert Doggart was arrested in April 2015 after authorities discovered that he had been trying to recruit people to burn down a mosque in "Islamberg," a self-named, predominantly Muslim community near Hancock, according to court records.

    Doggart, 65, who ran for Congress as an Independent in 2014, allegedly went on right-wing online forums and openly talked about using AR-15 assault rifles to attack Muslims because he believed the small upstate community was an extremist training camp, records show. Authorities intercepted Doggart's alleged plot before anyone was hurt.

    He's facing one count of solicitation to commit arson, one count of solicitation to commit a civil rights violation and two counts of threat in interstate commerce. But he's not facing any terrorism charges and has been on house arrest since his initial capture.

    Attorneys representing the Islamberg community in a seperate civil lawsuit claim a loophole in federal law allows defendants such as Doggart to escape terrorism charges.

    "There's a gap in the law," attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud told the Daily News on Monday evening. "Frankly, there is nothing on terrorism unless it's connected to a foreign element. You won't see the KKK charged with domestic terror even though that's what they do."

    According to the Patriot Act from 2001, prosecutors can only charge a defendant with domestic terrorism if he or she had the intention to "intimidate" or "coerce" a civilian population, or influence the "policy of a government" to affect the conduct of government by "mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping."

    Contrastingly, Amatul-Wadud claimed, the requirements are less stringent for pursuing terrorism charges if the alleged act has a foreign element to it, for example ties to international terror networks such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.

    Amatul-Wadud and her colleague, Tahirah Clark, said they full heartedly believe Doggart should have been prosecuted on terrorism charges.

    "He did it to intimidate Muslims throughout the country - a civilian population - and acted as if he was going to be the world police, which is very anti-government," Amatul-Wadud said, referencing requirements set forth by the Patriot Act.

    Amatul-Wadud and Clark, who represent the Islamberg community in its attempt to get a permanent injunction against Doggart, said they're disappointed that terrorism charges aren't on the table. Nonetheless, they don't blame federal prosecutors, adding that they believe the high legal bar is to blame.

    The government rested its case against Doggart on Monday, and the jury was expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday.

    Even though he won't face terrorism charges, Amatul-Wadud said the Islamberg community is relieved that Doggart could face up to 10 years in prison.

    "Finally, in a court of law, they are given a chance," Amatul-Wadud said. "That felt like vindication."

    Doggart has pleaded not guilty to the accusations against him.



    He didn't openly talk about killing Muslims but actually did get a group together and was arrested on their way to NY. And loop whole? The real Anglo Christian terrorist are walking away while innocent Muslims are entrapped by the FBI to be put away for decades. This is the corrupt justice system of the oppressors.

    Previous reports when it happened:

    Terrorist Robert Doggart Arrested For Planning To Massacre NY Muslim Community


    Former Congressional candidate guilty in plot to bomb, kill Muslims in upstate N.Y. hamlet of 'Islamberg'


  16. #36
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    Steve Bannon Is Preparing Trump For Christian Holy War

    If Steve Bannon was a Muslim then he wouldn't be let anywhere near the White House, never mind left with the keys.

    By Charles B. Anthony - February 20, 2017

    Sometimes a seemingly innocuous speech can potentially set the direction of the US presidency long before the Oval Office incumbent even declares they are running for office.

    Thus it is with the current White House administration – and Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

    In July 2014, Bannon gave a 49-minute speech and Q&A to a conference hosted by the Human Dignity Institute as part of its coverage of the rise of Europe’s religious right.

    Beamed live from Los Angeles – via Skype – into a small conference room tucked away inside the Vatican, Bannon declared that “the Judeo-Christian West, is in a crisis… We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict.”

    video: https://safeshare.tv/x/FWXScQaZ2uI

    The HDI proved a receptive audience. A lobby group for a “Christian voice” in European politics, its founder is former politician Benjamin Harnwell, who describes his stint as a European MP “as being in a direct spiritual warfare against the devil” and who believes that there is nothing really far-right about Marine Le Pen and the Alternative for Deutschland.

    “We’ve come partly off-track in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union,” continued Bannon. “In the 21st century, we are facing “a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, [and] a crisis of capitalism.”

    Bannon advocates “enlightened capitalism of the Judeo-Christian West”, based on the “underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity”.

    But it’s under attack, he told the HDI, from “crony capitalism” – or what Bannon calls “state-controlled capitalism” – and “libertarian capitalism” – two disturbing brands that fail to morally manage wealth creation and distribution in an ethical way.

    And who is to blame for this? Bannon identified the increasing secularisation of the West, a creeping secularism that has “sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals.”

    But Trump’s chief strategist also sees two other threats to the Judeo-Christian West on the horizon. And his response to each is shaped by religion.

    Bannon’s problem with Islam

    The first is Islam. Bannon believes that the West is “at the beginning stages of a global war against Islamic fascism” and that the West should respond by taking “a very, very, very aggressive stance against radical Islam”.

    In July 2016, Bannon was interviewed by John Guandolo, a disgraced former FBI agent who is now an anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist, on record as having said that American Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.” During that conversation, Bannon asked: “Have we held back the dogs of war? Are we actually confronting and combating radical fundamental Islam in the United States of America and in places like our allies in France and the United Kingdom?”

    Bannon, let’s not forget, is the author of a film script called The Islamic States of America, which argued that Islamists were taking over the US with help from mainstream media outlets, American Jews, FBI and the White House. He went on: “Do you believe we have to prosecute this as a war, and we have to take care of this fifth column – there’s clearly a fifth column here in the United States – that needs to be dealt with immediately?”

    Then, in 2010, Bannon told Avi Davis – a senior fellow at the American Freedom Alliance, an organisation concerned with “advancing the values and ideals of Western Civilization” – that “Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a religion of submission.”

    It has the makings of an Islamophobic perfect storm, which will have disastrous consequences for the American Muslim community.

    Islam is a religion that Bannon believes needs to be suppressed. He told that audience in the Vatican: “If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West’s struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing. I think they kept it out of the world.”

    Bannon’s words should be seen in the light of every executive order currently signed, or before, Trump. The Muslim ban. The proposed ban on the Muslim Brotherhood. The removal of white nationalists from the counter-extremism programme, to instead focus solely on Islam. And that’s just in the first few weeks of office, all making for an Islamophobic perfect storm which will have disastrous consequences for the American Muslim community.

    Who else does Bannon have in his sights?

    But Bannon is not content with taking on the Muslim world. He also has his sights set on China.

    In a February 2016 interview that Bannon hosted with theologian Thomas D Williams (who runs Breitbart’s operation in Rome), Bannon said: “You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian West is on the retreat.”

    Bannon then adds that the one thing the Chinese fear more than America and capitalism is Christianity.

    China, he says, is “one of the most vibrant Christian churches in the world… devout evangelicals, devout mainstream Protestants, and devout Catholics that are below the surface in China… it is a vibrant, vibrant, vibrant, Christian environment” which is “going to play into all this geopolitics.”

    A month later Bannon would declared with certainty, in an interview with conservative movement historian Lee Edwards, that “we’re [America] going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years… there’s no doubt about it.”

    The signs that Trump’s on board

    If you chose to take on Islam and China, then you need a big army. At that 2014 HDI conference, Bannon called for a Christian militia, saying that they were at “the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict.”

    He urged the church to become “militant” and “fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.”

    Fast forward to February 2017. With Trump in office, Bannon has now manoeuvred himself onto the National Security Council, influencing the administration’s national security and foreign policy.

    video: https://safeshare.tv/x/ss58abc061a7070
    Meanwhile Trump is speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, where he tells the audience that he will “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a 60-year-old tax code law that helps separate religion and politics in the United States.

    Trump’s speech was a vision of religious nationalism, dominated by the two key themes of religion and militarism and intended to tee up a forthcoming “religious freedom” executive order.

    Trump describes terrorism as a “fundamental threat to religious freedom” adding: “Freedom is not a gift from government… Freedom is a gift from God. Faith in God has inspired men and women to sacrifice for the needy, to deploy to wars overseas and to lock arms at home.”

    This heady brew of nationalism and religion, combined with the intended destruction of the Johnson Amendment, carries all the hallmarks of Bannon: politicise and radicalise religion – then gain support for a global confrontation with its enemies.

    video: https://safeshare.tv/x/6Qy2Enm7B5k

    Bannon – and the Republican worldview – is also shaped by the legacy of Ronald Reagan, of whom he is a huge admirer, keeping a photo of the 40th president of the United States above his desk.

    In July 1980, Reagan was the first politician to say “God bless America” during a nomination acceptance speech, winning over evangelical Christians. In 2004, politicised by the 9/11 attacks, Bannon wrote and directed In the Face of Evil, a documentary that lionized Reagan and his inner circle for taking on the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union.

    Bannon’s vision for Trump is not too dissimilar to the description given of Reagan in the film’s trailer: “In mankind’s most bloodiest and barbaric century, came a man who with a vision, an outsider, a radical, with extreme views, of how to confront evil.”

    Who's going to help Bannon in this fight?

    Bannon told that audience at the Vatican: “If we do not bind together as partners with others in other countries then this conflict is only going to metastasize.”

    Where will these allies come from? Although critical of Russian state-capitalism, Bannon sees potential in a future alliance with Putin: “We, the Judeo-Christian West, really have to look at what he’s [Putin] talking about as far as traditionalism goes – particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism – and I happen to think that the individual sovereignty of a country is a good thing and a strong thing.”

    Would Moscow team up with Washington in Bannon’s war? MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance seems to think so, arguing that Bannon is attempting to “align the United States and Russia together in a Christian war against Islam.” Putin might face a dilemma if Tehran, which is on the receiving end of war talk from the White House, is goaded into crossing a red line that is then used to justify military action.

    But Israel, which wants sanctions against Iran, could make a good bedfellow. Although accusations of anti-Semitism have plagued Bannon, he has always been a staunch supporter of Israel due to its strong militarised religious nationalism and opposition to what he would refer to as radical Islam.

    Other allies could include France’s Marine Le Pen, whose National Front party shares Bannon’s hatred for “financial globalisation and Islamist globalisation”. She is currently in the lead, according to polls, for the first round of presidential voting in April.

    Then there is Geert Wilders, an Islamophobic Dutch MP and regular Breitbart contributor, whose Freedom Party (PVV) party looks set to take the majority of seats in the Dutch Parliament later this year.

    Bannon believes conflict began in 2008

    Bannon’s obsession with conflict is reflected too in his obsession with a chilling social theory.

    TIME Magazine reported that during the early 2000s, Bannon became fascinated with The Fourth Turning, a book by generational theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe. The authors predict that American institutions are reborn every 80 years: from the American Revolution (1775 – 1783) to the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) to the Second World War (1939 – 1945).

    Each of these events consists of a four-part cycle, repeated over and over by successive generations:

    1. Fall into crisis
    2. Embrace institutions
    3. Rebel against institutions
    4. Forget the lessons and start the next crisis, which in turn destroys and rebuilds institutions

    In 2010, Bannon was inspired to produce the documentary Generation Zero, in which he depicted the 2008 financial crisis as a warning that the next Turning was near. According to TIME, Bannon “seemed to relish the opportunity to clean out the old order and build a new one in its place.”

    video: https://safeshare.tv/x/tAFiaraA3Bk

    Indeed, in a speech to the Liberty Restoration Foundation in 2011, Bannon said: “We had the revolution. We had the civil war. We had the Great Depression and World War Two. This is the great Fourth Turning in American history, and we’re going to be one thing on the other side.”

    So when Robert Reich, who served in the Clinton administration, says that if left “unsupervised by people who know what they’re doing Trump and Bannon could… bring the world closer to a nuclear holocaust” – he isn’t being hysterical.

    If Bannon was a Muslim then he wouldn’t be let anywhere near the White House, never mind left with the keys. Instead the world would unite in calling him an extremist and hate preacher. There would be a global urgency to stopping him from further radicalising people for his ultimate goal of global jihad.

    But instead the focus is on the Trump circus, as Twitter theatrics take the sting out of what really is a dark, twisted nihilistic force pulling the levers of power in the Oval Office.

    “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist,” said Roger “Verbal” Kint, aka Keyser Soze, at the end of The Usual Suspects.

    In the coming months, the checks and balances of American democracy are going to be tested like never before – and will need to react quickly in the current climate.

    As Bannon told the New York Times about the first few weeks of the Trump administration: “We are moving big and we are moving fast… we didn’t come here to do small things.”

    Bannon is driving America, and potentially the rest of the world, off a cliff. It’s going to be terrifying to watch.


  17. #37
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    Christian Twitter Users Tell the Pope Why God Believes In Extreme Vetting

    by Matt Novak - 2/18/17

    The Pope has been critical of President Trump's treatment of immigrants. But some American Catholics think the Pope needs to slow his roll. Yes, some Catholics are trying to explain to the Pope why God believes in the so-called "extreme vetting" of immigrants to the United States.

    Twitter is a great equalizer of sorts when it comes to public opinion. Movie stars, elected officials, and even the Pope are more accessible than ever. We get to hear their thoughts, often in an unfiltered way. And it's a two-way street. If you think the Pope is wrong about something, all you need to do is tell him.

    Which is precisely what happened today when many people took to Twitter and told Pope Francis that even God believes in extreme vetting. Seriously.

    "How often in the Bible the Lord asks us to welcome migrants and foreigners, reminding us that we too are foreigners!"
    the Pope tweeted from the official Pontifex Twitter account.

    But Mike Oberhill, like many other Christian Twitter users, was quick to correct the Pope.

    "@Pontifex even God believed extreme vetting was a good thing. Moses didn't get into the promised land," Oberhill, presumably an American Catholic based on his tweets, responded.

    Others had similar sentiments to the Pope's plea for Americans to welcome immigrants.

    "@Pontifex love you, but we in America are not against immigration..goal is to have ability to vet immigrants to identify those who wish harm," Twitter user Paul Anthony Roberts tweeted at Pope Francis.

    "@Pontifex Go ahead and see Christianity destroyed like it has been in the Islamic lands," another Twitter user shot back at the Pope.

    American Catholics tend to be a bit more conservative than Catholics in other parts of the world. As just one example, they break with Catholic teaching in some pretty fundamental ways like capital punishment. Roughly 6 in 10 American Catholics believe in the death penalty, something that the Catholic church is explicitly against.

    But President Trump and his band of followers have never had much respect for the Pope. And it's actually incredible that any American Catholics would bother to support Donald Trump if they truly believed that Pope Francis was their spiritual leader.

    Here's what Trump said about the Pope back in February of last year, after the Pope had criticized the idea of a wall between the US and Mexico:

    If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.

    The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story - he didn't see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn't see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.

    For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.

    So, yeah. Trump and the Pope haven't exactly been on great terms, even before this most recent dust-up. President Trump has yet to respond to the Pope on Twitter, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

    In the meantime, plenty of American Catholics will continue to lecture the pope about what the bible says about immigrants. Because Twitter is the best. Thank God for Twitter.


    Pope Francis DENIES the existence of Islamic terrorism in speech to populist movements

    POPE Francis has firmly denied the existence of Islamic terrorism, in a speech to a world meeting of populist movements yesterday.

    By Harry Walker - Feb 18, 2017

    In an impassioned defence of all faiths, the leader of the Catholic Church argued religion promotes peace and the danger of radicalisation exists in all religious beliefs.

    He said: "Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist.

    "No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent.

    "The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode."

    Pope Francis added: "There are fundamentalist and violent individuals in all peoples and religions - and with intolerant generalisations they become stronger because they feed on hate and xenophobia."

    The leader of the Catholic Church also condemned the denial of global warming, urging his audience that "the ecological crisis is real".

    He said: "A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.

    "We know what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of nature.

    "Let us not fall into denial. Time is running out. Let us act. I ask you again - all of you, people of all backgrounds including native people, pastors, political leaders - to defend creation."

    In an attempt to prevent politicisations of his speech, Pope Francis said he was not "speaking of anyone in particular", but of a "social and political process that flourishes in many parts of the world and poses a grave danger for humanity".

    He added: "The direction taken beyond this historic turning point will depend on people's involvement will depend on people's involvement and participation and, largely, on yourselves, the popular movements."

    Pope Francis also used his speech to denounce "the guise of what is politically correct or ideologically fashionable".

    He added: "The system's gangrene cannot be whitewashed forever because sooner or later the stench becomes too strong."


  18. #38
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    Arrogant Christians In The White House

    Trump and Pence represent two troubling trends in American Christianity.

    Mike Pence, the fundamentalist Christian whose views are so extreme that he cannot be alone with a woman other than his wife, and Donald Trump, who brags about sexually assaulting women and famously stumbled over an attempt to quote a biblical passage while on the campaign trail, seem to hold wildly divergent religious views. Yet both adhere to variations of Christianity inflected with arrogance. Together they represent two troubling trends in American Christianity, trends which appear to prove all the complaints secular liberals ever leveled against Christians.

    Pence adheres to biblical literalism. Put simply, this view asserts that the Bible is a transparent document, one that prescribes specific behavioral guidelines. Glossing over the fact that the Bible is a complex text built of ancient fragments brought together by human hands, that it does not speak directly to many modern issues, and that even on its own terms it encompasses numerous contradictions, these Christians confidently declare that the Bible provides clear guidance for every Christian. Literalists arrived at this position only relatively late in Christian history, in response to various challenges from many quarters, including biblical scholarship, advances in science, and a rise in unbelief. Cutting through the complexities and the need to make choices, literalists declared all choice to be false and all discussion to be error. It was a comforting if simplistic and authoritarian solution to the problem of uncertainty.

    Its arrogance lies in the hubris of those who believe that only their chosen answers are correct. Its potential to harm others comes when adherents gain political power and force their mandates on nonbelievers. One of the many dangers emanating out of the Trump White House is the power of Pence to impose not his religion but the behaviors his religion dictates onto the rest of us. Women’s rights and gender equality are on Pence’s hit list.

    Trump’s religion, although very different, is similarly alarming. Unsurprisingly Trump accepts a religious viewpoint that tells him he is uniquely awesome. Whatever he has—however he acquired it—God wants him to enjoy to the fullest. Although traditional Christian social practice mandates that believers exercise humility, charity and other virtues that put others before self, Trump’s faith rejects all curbs on self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement. This religious position, known as Prosperity Theology, is newer than Pence’s literalism. It preaches that God wants the rich to be not only rich but selfish. Its attraction to a man like Trump—born to wealth, selfishly guided by his own desires, endlessly demanding that others adore him but never judge him—is transparent.

    The arrogance of Trump’s faith can be found in its elevation of the financially successful individual above all others. The rich are rich because God wants them to be so, and he furthermore wants them to enjoy that wealth without qualms or any sense of obligation to others. A religion for the arrogantly wealthy, Prosperity Theology ignores much traditional Christianity. It must brush off Jesus’s parable (Matthew 19:24). In that Gospel, Jesus said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” With this warning, Jesus cautioned that the wealthy had to confront additional temptations unique to them, the temptations of arrogance, selfishness, and greed. In this life their road was easier, but their prospects in the next life were dimmed, if they just enjoyed their wealth without regard for others. Prosperity preaching asserts precisely the opposite: take what you can grab and if you succeed, enjoy it without a second thought, for your success proves you have God’s blessing.

    Pence’s arrogance leads him to believe that he knows exactly what God wants us all to do and that he ought to force that on us if he has the power to do so. Trump’s faith simply endorses his own self-regard, elevating his personal whims to God’s desires. The political marriage of the two men is obviously one of expedience, given the great disparities in their beliefs and goals. Yet between them, they can do a great deal of damage. Arrogant self-righteousness and egotistical self-regard together wield power over the rest of us.

    Little wonder that the pope has been modeling Christian humility and singing the praises of Christian charity, or that the supporters of these two find his lessons in what it means to be a Christian so infuriating.


  19. #39
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    San Bernardino gunman was pastor, Navy vet with record of violence

    11 Apr, 2017

    The "deeply religious man" who entered a California school to kill his estranged wife was in a seemingly happy relationship. In reality, Cedric Anderson was "paranoid and possessive" and in a deteriorating marriage, family members said.

    On Monday, Anderson, 53, received clearance from the front office of North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California, to access to a classroom to give something to his wife Karen Elaine Smith, 53, who taught special-education children.

    Once inside, Anderson quickly opened fire, police said, killing Smith and Jonathan Martinez, an 8-year-old boy standing near her.

    A 9-year-old boy was also shot but is in stable condition, according to reports. Anderson then reloaded and turned his .357 revolver on himself.

    Anderson and Smith were married in late January after four years of friendship, Smith's mother, Irma Sykes, told the Los Angeles Times.

    Anderson often posted on social media about their marriage and his faith, referring to Smith as his "angel." His Facebook page, which is no longer available, featured several posts and videos about is love for Smith all the way up to March 15, the date of his last public post, according to reports.

    After moving in with Smith, Anderson's demeanor changed for the worse, Sykes said, and Smith was considering divorce.

    "She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all," Sykes said. "He had other motives. She left him and that’s where the trouble began."

    Smith, a devoted Christian who had four children from a previous marriage, had been a teacher for about ten years and was motivated to help children with autism and learning disabilities, the Times reported.

    One of Smith's adult children, Joshua, said his mother was a "genuinely loving and caring person."

    Anderson, however, was "different" at first and later became "paranoid and possessive," Joshua Smith told the Washington Post. This situation led his mother to leave Anderson shortly after their wedding, he said.

    According to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan, Anderson had a criminal history. The maintenance technician had faced weapons charges and was accused of domestic violence in a previous marriage. He was charged in 2013 with assault and battery, brandishing a gun and disturbing the peace, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records reported by the Times. Those charges were dismissed in 2014.

    In 1993, Anderson was charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery in Kern County, California, but he was eventually exonerated after the charges were dismissed.

    Anderson, who frequently posted on Facebook about guns, spent at least eight years in the military and lived in California, Georgia and Nevada. Around 2000, he was featured in a local news segment about housing fees at Nellis Air Force Base.

    Local law enforcement, including a SWAT team, secured a Riverside home associated with Anderson on Monday afternoon, the Press-Enterprise reported. One car in the driveway had a "United States Navy" bumper sticker.

    The veteran was also a pastor who sometimes preached on the radio and attended community meetings, according to Najee Ali, executive director of Project Islamic Hope.

    "He was a deeply religious man," Ali said. "There was never any signs of this kind of violence … on his Facebook he even criticized a man for attacking a woman."

    His marriage to Smith seemed happy, neighbors and others said, which likely allowed Anderson safe passage into the school.

    "He killed her, and he killed himself," said Sykes, Smith's mother. "And I want to see what he’s going to say to God about that."

    The school's staff followed all the proper entry procedures, including asking for identification, according to San Bernardino City Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden. Security at the school was increased following the terrorist attack at a San Bernardino government building in December 2015.


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    11 Years Old, a Mom, and Pushed to Marry Her Rapist in Florida

    Sherry Johnson says she was raped four times by age 10

    A woman from Florida has claimed she was forced to marry her rapist at age 11.

    Sherry Johnson says she was raped four times by members of her family’s church congregation as a child. As a result, she became pregnant at age 10.

    When investigators began looking into her case, she claims her family tried to protect her rapist by forcing her to marry him.
    “My mom asked me if I wanted to get married, and I said, ‘I don’t know, what is marriage, how do I act like a wife?’” Ms Johnson told The New York Times. “She said, ‘Well, I guess you’re just going to get married.’”

    Florida is one of 27 US states that permits children of any age to be married with their parents’ permission.

    Ms Johnson says her marriage kept her from attending school regularly. Instead, she took care of their children – she gave birth to nine in total – and fought with her husband over finances.

    “It was a terrible life,” Ms Johnson said.

    The marriage eventually dissolved, as most underage marriages do.

    Ms Johnson later wrote a book about her story, called “Forgiving the Unforgivable”. The story inspired Florida state Representative Cynthia Stafford to sponsor a bill outlawing child marriage in Florida.

    "Marriage is an adult responsibility," Ms Stafford said. "We don't want them to vote, we don't want them to drink alcohol, they can't drive a car, and we allow them to marry under 16?"

    Both Ms Stafford’s legislation and a matching Senate bill died in committee. A similar law was shot down by the New Hampshire state legislature this year.

    Just this month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a law that would have outlawed child marriage without exception.

    “An exclusion without exceptions would violate the cultures and traditions of some communities in New Jersey based on religious traditions,” Mr Christie said in a statement.

    A 2011 study found that some 9.4m US women were married before age 16. The study also found that such women were more likely to have psychiatric disorders, and to seek out health services.

    “You can’t get a job, you can’t get a car, you can’t get a license, you can’t sign a lease,” Ms Johnson told The New York Times, “so why allow someone to marry when they’re still so young?”


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