Leaders of Muslims Condemn ISIS Tactics

Muslims cresent moon star symbolThe world has witnessed Muslims celebrating Islamist attacks on the World Trade Center and other Western sites. Muslims have remained silent while Christians in Islamic countries have been slaughtered. They have protested as Israel defended herself against Hamas attacks. They have quietly accepted Muslim-on-Muslim violence: since 1948, ten million Muslims have been killed by Muslims.

I have often wondered, “Where are the moderate Muslims who long to raise their children in a stable and peaceful world? Where is their condemnation of such wanton violence?”

Of course there are secular Muslims, people born into Muslim families who have rejected Islam and embraced secularism, and these often speak out against the violence. But protests from religious Muslims have been few. One exception is Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix, Arizona, medical doctor born in Syria. Dr Jasser is a devout, “reformed” Muslim. He has boldly spoken out against the Islamist movement.

In 2003, Dr. Jasser, along with a small group of other American Muslims, formed the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to advocate for the separation of mosque and state. Kudos to Dr. Jasser. But in Muslim communities around the world, leadership condemning the violence and tactics of the jihadist movement has been, from my observation, sadly lacking.

However, recently a friend drew my attention to an article, “World’s Top Muslim Leaders Condemn Attacks on Iraqi Christians.” The article was written by Matthew Willingham, Communication Director of the Preemptive Love Coalition.

Two of the leading voices in the Muslim world denounced the persecution of Christians in Iraq at the hands of extremists proclaiming a caliphate under the name Islamic State.

The most explicit condemnation came from Iyad Ameen Madani, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the group representing 57 countries, and 1.4 billion Muslims. In a statement, he officially denounced the “forced deportation under the threat of execution” of Christians, calling it a “crime that cannot be tolerated.”

The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they “have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith, and coexistence.”

Go here to read the entire article.

Will Muslims begin to publicly challenge the jihadist narrative?

This condemnation by some of the world’s foremost Muslim leaders is not insignificant. Whether it becomes historic only time will tell. Will grassroots Muslim leaders begin to speak out against the violence? Will Muslims begin to publicly challenge the jihadist narrative and speak out against radical Muslim clerics? Will the global Muslim leaders develop communications strategies to condemn the Islamists and pressure those Muslim governments and individuals who are financing the Islamists movement?

Here’s another question: Why has the mainstream media ignored this hopeful, possibly historic event? The story was published by the little-known Preemptive Love Coalition, a small non-profit working in Iraq to bring lifesaving heart surgery to children. Thank you, Preemptive Love Coalition, for informing us about this declaration by global Muslim leaders.

Christians are seeking to reach Muslims with the gospel, and that’s good. Here’s another needed outreach strategy: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone, (Romans 12:18 NIV). Christians need to build bridges to moderate Muslims who want to live in peace in a pluralistic society.

We saw Christians and Muslims standing together three years ago when young Egyptians who longed to live free demonstrated in Cairo. At the 2011 Tahrir Square protests it was encouraging to see Christians and Muslims joining together to make common cause for freedom in Egypt.

The same context gave rise to one of the most moving scenes I have ever viewed. The video below shows Dr. Maurice Sameh, Pastor of Qasr El Dobara Church in Tahrir Square, the largest evangelical church in Egypt and the Middle East, welcoming a friend, Imam Mazhar Shaheen, from Azhar Mosque in Cairo, to a Christmas Day celebration in 2012. Watch this incredible scene and be prepared to be moved to tears by this moment of Shalom.

Let’s pray for Shalom peace to come to the troubled Middle East and North Africa. Let’s work towards securing that peace as we have opportunities to engage with Muslims and Arabs in our own communities.

-          Darrow Miller

  
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Is Bestiality the Next Sexual Frontier?

Could Ben Carson be right about bestiality?

Ben Carson mentioned bestiality

“Ben Carson, MD” by V. Aceveda, U.S. Air Force – National Institute of Standards and Technology

Dr. Carson, retired pediatric neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins Hospital, was the first to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head. Celebrated and brilliant, he is an outspoken critic of the political correctness which has eroded free speech in the United States. Recently, his fearlessness may have been somewhat tempered by the uproar of the nation’s political elite. They chastised him for linking homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. On the popular television show Hannity, Carson said the following in defense of natural marriage:

Marriage is between a man and a woman, it’s a well established fundamental pillar of society …. And no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA [North American Man/Boy Love Association], be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition, so it’s not something that’s against gays, it’s against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society–it has significant ramifications.

The uproar from the LGBT community and their allies was swift and severe. Dr. Carson was forced to cancel the commencement address he was scheduled to make at Johns Hopkins University. Student and faculty pressure was overwhelming. He apologized for any offense his words brought, but seems to be standing by his basic opposition to those groups who are seeking to redefine the nature of human sexuality and marriage.

Whether or not you agree with Carson’s word choice, consider the heart of his assertion. It’s well founded.

Evolutionary science is not simply science, it is an ideology, a comprehensive worldview. We learn the science of evolution in biology classes, but few acknowledge that evolution is a dogma, a belief system that affects every area of life.

Dr. Randy Thornhill is one exception. This biology professor at the University of New Mexico has boldly stated what few have being willing to concede: “Every feature of every living thing, including human beings, has an underlying evolutionary background. That’s not a debatable matter.”[1] Thornhill’s view goes beyond the evolution-as-accepted-science position. He says the “fact” of evolution implies that everything has its own evolutionary story. History is explained by evolution. So, too, are psychology, sociology, and humanities … and every other field of study. Evolutionism defines our understanding of human life and sexuality.

The science is not debatable, Thornhill claims. Why is that? Because the belief system is assumed to be true.

Philosopher of Science Dr. Michael Ruse has said just that. He admits that evolution is not merely a science, but a religion that seeks to replace the Judeo-Christian worldview that created Western civilization. Evolution as a belief system is destroying the Western world. It is eroding the hope that Judeo-Christian theism offers humankind. Ruse writes,

Evolution came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity…. [It] is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion – a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality.[2]

Yes, evolution is not merely science; it is a religion, a moral and metaphysical framework that infects all of life. Thus, there is a logic to naturalistic philosophy that impacts our understanding of sexuality.

This logic includes:

-          We are merely animals.

-          Sex is simply physical, at its root a biological urge.

-          The end is a hook-up culture, sex as entertainment, recreation. The “one-night stand” has degenerated further; now it’s “hook up and walk away.”

-          Sexual lawlessness prevails.

Naturalism is a denial of our humanity and our transcendent sexual nature, the feminine and the masculine. There are not and cannot be any moral or metaphysical limitations on our sexuality. There is no priority given to conventional, lifelong commitment of marriage between a man and a woman.

This is the reason that atheism is so hotly and passionately defended. It allows people to define their own sexual terms and to have sex without moral boundaries. In fact, I believe atheists embrace atheism for moral rather than metaphysical reasons. Without a moral universe, there are no boundaries on sexual behavior.

-          Darrow Miller

[1] http://www.worldmag.com/2000/03/darwin_s_dirty_secret

[2] As quoted by Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, pg 172

 

 

  
Posted in Culture, Imago Dei, Morality | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

What Gaza Could Be But for Hamas

Exactly what is Hamas’ vision for Gaza? Is it the same as the vision of the Palestinian people who call Gaza home?

Here’s an observation rarely noted in all the back-and-forth about the Hamas-Israel conflict: as (part of) the land of the Palestinians, Gaza abounds with potential for development.

If only the goal of Hamas were the building of a prosperous nation rather than the elimination of Israel.

The potential for development in Gaza is immense

While Gaza is a small belt of land, its potential is immense. Of course Gaza is one part of the larger Palestinian homeland. But let’s contrast the state of development in the Gaza strip with the development of another small nation, one with fewer natural resources than Gaza.

Many people argue that one of Gaza’s major problems is population density: her 1,428,757 people share 147 square miles of land. That’s 9,719 people per square mile.

But another small country with  twice the population density and none of the natural resources is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Singapore’s 4,492,150 people are crowded onto 241 square miles of Pacific island, a population density of 18,645 people per square mile. Singapore has the second highest population density in the world!

There’s more: 50 years ago Singapore was one of the poorest countries in Asia. You could think of Singapore then as the Gaza of Asia. Yet today it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. (For more of the Singapore story, go here.)

Gaza’s economic potential is tremendous. Her people are capable. They have shown great ingenuity. Gaza has reserves of both oil and natural gas, while Singapore has virtually no natural resources. Yet Singapore’s per capita GDP in 2013 was $55,182 (ahead of both the USA at $53,143 and Israel at $36,161). In Gaza, the current annual per capita GDP is $1,600.

When Israel pulled out of the Gaza strip in 2005, it left the people of Gaza with agricultural and other infrastructure. International aid and good will from around the world began to pour in.

Gaza has wonderful Mediterranean coastline

“Sea view from Al Deira hotel, Gaza” by Marius Arnesen

This largesse left Hamas with a decision to make. They could lead in building a new nation or work to destroy another nation. The entrepreneurial Palestinians could have taken the infrastructure left by the Israelis … plus their oil and natural gas … plus their farm land … plus their beautiful Mediterranean coast and built a thriving Palestine. Consider, for example, the potential tourism.

Tragically, Hamas chose instead to apply its foreign aid to the furtherance of its charter: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.” In the process, it destroyed the infrastructure left by the Israelis. It diverted the international aid intended for development to preparing for war with Israel. Cement and reinforcing steel meant to build houses and hospitals was used instead to build tunnels to invade Israel. It is estimated that the 32 tunnels discovered so far cost about $2 M each. That is $64 M not used to help the Palestinian people. Monies that could be used to build infrastructure and provide capital for business was diverted to build or buy 10,000 missiles.

Our hearts ache for the Palestinians in Gaza

Our hearts should ache for the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Their suffering is beyond imagination. But they suffer because their leaders are more concerned with destroying Israel than with building their nation. They are more interested in building tunnels to invade Israel than meeting the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.

Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote:

At some point, Hamas will stop firing rockets — if for no other reason than its arsenal is depleted. For the people of Gaza, however, the price has been staggering. But Hamas’s leaders have never been concerned about that. For them, Palestinians’ pain and suffering are tools to exploit, not conditions to end.

While the Palestinians have suffered greatly in this latest war, they played a consenting role. They elected Hamas leaders, and they tolerated Hamas villainies. Palestinians had to see what was happening all around them. Many must have known that hospitals, schools, and mosques were being used as storage depots for missiles and mortars, as command centers for the military wing of Hamas, and as tunnel entrances for the invasion of Israel. The people’s silence may imply support for the Hamas tactics. Or perhaps they fear what Hamas might do to them if they protested.

The people of Gaza have a choice: they can live free and create a beautiful and thriving nation on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean, or they can follow Hamas and live in fear, poverty, and slavery. Freedom for the Palestinian people must begin in their hearts before it is established in their circumstances.

-          Darrow Miller

NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you would like to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.

George Grant’s Fund for Kurdistan

Dave Dillard’s (founder of Servant Group International) Fund

 

 

  
Posted in Current events, Freedom, Islam | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

ISRAEL and the Return of Anti-Semitism

The historic Jewish homeland has been variously called Canaan, Israel, Judea and Samaria, and Palestine. The Jews trace their history there to 2085 BC when Abraham followed “the Voice” into the promised land of Canaan. God promises that this would be the land of Abraham’s descendants “forever.” About 1406 BC, after a 430-year exile in Egypt, Moses led the Hebrew people back to the Promised Land. Punctuated by periods of exile, the land of Judah and Samaria has been the home of the Jews, en masse and in remnant, for about 3,500 years.

During the first half of the twentieth century, under the British Mandate agreement, Muslims, Jews, and Christian Arabs lived side by side in relative peace. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two states, Israel and Palestine. This move changed everything in the modern era. It led to the first Israeli-Arab war which was lost by the combined army of five Arab states. Two of those states—Egypt and Jordan—have since made peace with Israel. Three have not. In addition to these national enemies, the Jewish people live under the threat of Islamists–militant Muslims–who are committed to the destruction of the state of Israel.

Israel and the Arab WorldThe modern home of the Jews is very small, 290 miles long, 35-85 miles wide. Its 8,019 square miles are roughly the size of the state of New Jersey. Israel is dwarfed by the Arab/Muslim world around it, 640 times its size.

Israel’s population of 8 million is composed of 6.1 million Jews, 1.3 million Muslim Arabs and about 300,000 Christians and people of other faiths. The Jewish state is religiously pluralistic, in contrast to the ethnic cleansing now underway in Muslim nations, countries which have also included Jews, Christians and people of other faiths. If Israel were inclined toward ethnic purity, 25 percent of her people would not be  Muslim. Imagine Saudi Arabia allowing even one synagogue in their country, much less a quarter of her population Yahweh worshippers! The Jewish people of Israel live in an Arab-Muslim neighborhood of 260 million people.

Israel is the only nation in the world marked for extinction

Here’s the reality in a sentence: The world has 50 Muslim[1] states and one Jewish state, and that one Jewish state is the only country in the world targeted for extinction.

The Jewish people were hated long before the founding of Israel. In fact, hatred of the Jews has played a major part in their history and identity. In the Middle Ages, Christians were anti-Semitic, holding the Jews responsible for killing Christ. Some people still function from this mentality today.

Muslims have considered the Jews enemies since 622 AD when the prophet Mohammad moved to Medina. While still in Mecca, Mohammad had sought to persuade Christians and Jews to follow him. Failing that, he moved to Medina and began to convert through the sword.

In Russia, anti-Semitism blossomed during the pogroms of 1881-1884 and again in 1903–1906. The greatest wave of anti-Semitism occurred in Europe under the guise of the fascism of Hitler and the German Third Reich. The German Holocaust led to the extermination of 6,000,000 Jews, roughly the same number of Jews in Israel today.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, allied with the Axis powers during World War II to participate in the final “solution”: the utter annihilation of Jews worldwide. The Germans failed; the Islamists (not all Muslims) want to finish the job.

Today we are seeing a growing animus against Jews in the US and Europe. It is as if the fever of anti-Semitism that grew in Europe prior to World War II is now growing in the West again.

The ancient hatred of the Jews is being rekindled by a number of forces. First is what might be called the European Intifada sparked by various Islamist groups in support of Hamas in Gaza and the advancing ISIS in Syria and Iraq; second, the fear by Europeans of their growing Muslim minorities; third, the same kind of deep-seated animosity of some Europeans against Jews that led to the first Holocaust.

In France, the verbal and physical violence against Jews is forcing Jews to flee to Israel in fear of their lives as anti-Semitism grows. Where is the outcry from European citizens? They should be raising their voices against the anti-Semitism and on behalf of the humanity of the Jews. Has the world learned nothing from the Holocaust?

But it is not just Europe: protests and even violent demonstrations are happening in the US as well. As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

There’s no nice war. War is hell! Those in the West who have been so critical of Israel as they responded to 3,000+ rocket attacks … what would they have Israel do? Is Israel to simply wait for the next barrage of rockets and hope for the best? Are the Israelis expected to simply surrender – become dhimma, and pay the jizya tax? Are they to abandon their ancient homeland? When the adversary gives them the choice of surrendering to Allah, fleeing or dying, how are they supposed to respond?

Some of the rhetoric stoking the anti-Semitism violence is coming from the entertainment industry. Dozens of Spanish film stars and singers signed an open letter to the European Union calling Israel’s bombing in Gaza “genocide” and challenging the EU to “condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.” Academy Award winner Jon Voight penned a letter to some of his Hollywood peers who, either knowingly or in ignorance, have fueled the fires of anti-Semitism. At the beginning of his letter, published in the Hollywood Reporter, Voight laments: “I am more than angry, I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.” The four-time Academy Award nominee goes on to challenges his colleagues.

You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.

Voight concludes his letter with a sobering question:

I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?

While clearly the growing worldwide fire of anti-Semitism has multiple causes, Hollywood celebrities can use their influence either to fan the flames or cool the rhetoric of anti-Semitism. That is the heart of Voight’s concern.

Why is there so much animus against Israel?

Another pubic figure who recently weighed in on this matter is Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. In his witty, sarcastic yet brilliant style, Sowell reflects on the war between Hamas and Israel by raising the question, “Is Thinking Obsolete?”

Some have said that we are living in a post-industrial era, while others have said that we are living in a post-racial era. But growing evidence suggests that we are living in a post-thinking era.

Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza. One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.

Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces?

Has any other country, in any other war, been expected to keep the enemy’s civilian casualties no higher than its own civilian casualties? The idea that Israel should do so did not originate among the masses but among the educated intelligentsia.

In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.

Why is there so much animus against Israel? As we have already said, the history of the Jewish people is one of exile, dispersion, and persecution. Suffering is the underlying theme of the story of the Jews. Many factors explain the hostility against them.

Adolph Hitler identified the ultimate target of his hatred: Yahweh himself.

The God of the deserts, that crazed, stupid, vengeful, Asiatic despot, with the power to make laws! … that poison with which both Jews and Christians have spoiled and soiled the free, wonderful instincts of man… .

Hitler’s is the hatred of many secularists. If God exists there is a moral universe. Men who want to “be as god” are challenged by the God of the Jews.

Through much of history the hatred has come from misguided Christians who regarded the Jewish people as Christ killers. A 2013 study by the Anti-Defamation League found that 26% of Americans believe that “the Jews killed Jesus.”

Another reason, no doubt, is envy of Jewish prosperity. God promised Abraham that his children would be a blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:2-3). Subsequently, Jewish people have been successful in many fields: business, banking, motion pictures, education, medicine, and science. While Jews represent just 0.3- 0.5 percent of the world’s population, they have received 18 percent of all Nobel prizes (130 out of 720 since 1901). Israel has more engineers and scientists per capita than any other country in the world. The nation grants 2,500 patents a year. In 2013, Israelis registered 1,917 patents in the USA. This is comparable to the number produced by Italy, with 10 times the population, and far in excess of the number from neighboring countries: Saudi Arabia (58 patents) Turkey (45) Egypt (20) Kuwait (14) UAE (9) Iran (8) Lebanon (5) Jordan (1) and Syria (0).

Behind this contribution is the Judeo-Christian worldview which comports with reality as God has made it. Could it be that a society’s worldview really does matter? Could the success of the Jewish people spring from the biblical worldview in which their history and very existence is steeped, and the virtues derived from it?

And perhaps those cultures where such a worldview is absent reflects, as Thomas Sowell suggests, human ignorance – “artificial stupidity.”

Whatever the reasons, the Jews have been a despised people who have been scattered and threatened with extinction.

-          Darrow Miller

[1] Muslim as opposed to Arab

NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you would like to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.

George Grant’s Fund for Kurdistan

Dave Dillard’s (founder of Servant Group International) Fund

 

 

 

  
Posted in Current events, Freedom, Islam, Worldview | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Hamas and Israel: Is There a Moral Equivalence?

In the modern world cultural relativism is the thriving standard. Cultural relativism holds that no nation better than any other. No culture is superior to any other. This leads to the concept of moral equivalency between competing systems, nations, and cultures. In their embrace of moral equivalency, modern Western relativists argue against any moral distinction between rivals. All are equally valid: the Allies vs. the Axis powers in World War II, the USA  and its European allies vs. the USSR and the rest of the Communist bloc; the West and Islam; Israel and Hamas.

Relativists seem unable to recognize the difference between civilized and uncivilized behavior. They would perhaps agree that the jihadist beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl, for example, was barbaric. But from a platform of moral and cultural relativism it is impossible to judge the culture that produces such behavior.

Moral relativists argue for a moral equivalency between Hamas and Israel

In fact, it is impossible, from such a perspective, to recognize that such behavior is in fact the product of a culture.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal . Photo by Trango – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons

Moral relativists argue, either forcefully or tacitly, that a moral equivalency exists between Hamas and other jihadist groups on the one hand, and Israel on the other. They are wrong. In at least six dimensions. Note the absence of moral equivalence in,

  1. The political realm: Israel practices democracy while Hamas exercises a ruling tyranny.
  2. Defense strategy: Israel uses missiles to defend her people, Hamas uses Palestinian people to defend their missiles. The Israel Defense Forces places soldiers between civilians and Hamas fighters; Hamas fighters put civilians between themselves and Israeli soldiers. A Hamas urban warfare manual describes how to use people as human shields to protect their missiles and fighters.
  3. Military operations: Hamas places weapons, missile and mortar launchers, and tunnel entrances in schools, hospitals, mosques, homes, and UN facilities. They do so to draw Israeli counterattacks toward innocent people and exploit the results as propaganda. Israel puts its military sites away from civilian populations.
  4. The religious realm: Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims are expelled from Arab lands. Israel, a Jewish state, welcomes Muslims, Jews, Christians, Atheists, and Druses as full citizens with freedom to practice their religious convictions.
  5. The cultural realm: One culture celebrates life, the other, death. Osama bin Laden and other jihadists famously brag, “These [jihadist] youths love death as you love life.” Islamists are terrorists in nature and tactics. They use beheading, raping and stoning of women, and wanton execution of civilian populations to achieve their goals. Before the Israelis destroy buildings where Hamas has located military equipment they warn civilians to get away. After such attacks Israeli medical personnel treat enemy combatants. To see the reality of this Jihadist evil simply do a Google search of images: “beheading” or “ISIS ethnic cleansing.” Or see this ISIS propaganda video. [WARNING: BE PREPARED FOR GRAPHIC DEPICTIONS OF VIOLENCE.]

These images reveal the incarnation of evil in the acts of man. They are reminiscent of the images from Hitler’s death camps. This is cleansing of ethnic and religious minorities in the extreme. And what does it say about the jihadists that they take pictures of the beheadings and mass killings and use these in promotional films to attract new recruits?

  1. The goal: Hamas and other Islamist groups aspire to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. The goal of Israel is to live at peace with its neighbors, including Palestinians. As the vilified Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed it: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel.”

Hamas aspires to eliminate Israel

Much could be written about each of these six dimensions of disparity, and there are more contrasts besides these. Only those who refuse to see can suggest a moral equivalence. As Samuel P. Huntington argues in his controversial book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, conflicts are rooted in religion, culture, and ideological vision.  We certainly see this in the conflict between Hamas and the Jews in Israel and groups like ISIS against Christians and the Yezidis in Iraq.

-          Darrow Miller

NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you would like to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.

George Grant’s Fund for Kurdistan

Dave Dillard’s (founder of Servant Group International) Fund

 

  
Posted in Current events, Freedom, Islam, Worldview | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

GAZA: What Does it All Mean?

As Gaza suffers, what are we to think about the conflict?

One perspective comes from our friend, Randy, in his response to our recent post “Say No! to Injustice”:

“Correct, I say NO to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and illegal expansion/exploitation by the State of Israel (directly violating Gen. 18: 17-19) for over 60 years. I call it time for Israel to be brought before the UN ICJ.”

Randy and I agree on many things and respect each another, even if we do not agree on all issues. His comment deserves a response.

This initial post will focus on ethnic cleansing and the illegal expansion and exploitation of the Palestinians. From there we will write a short series of posts on the subject of the “moral equivalence” between Israel and Hamas, and the presence of manifest evil in the tactics of jihadists like ISIS in Iraq and Hamas in Gaza.

It is heartrending to watch the ongoing poverty of the Palestinian people in general. It is particularly grievous to see the current suffering of the people of Gaza. Who can watch the news out of Gaza without grieving the death and injuries among the civilian populations and the physical destruction of their communities, homes and property? It is gut-wrenching especially because it does not have to be this way.

In 1879 US Civil War officer General William T. Sherman said, “War is hell.” Thus has it always been. This latest conflict between Israel and Gaza is hell.

At times in Israel’s history her people have abused others in seeking to establish and maintain a modern homeland. I think specifically of the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and communities during the Arab-Israeli War in 1948 by the Haganah, the Jewish defense forces.

In November 1947 the United Nations General Assembly approved the partition of Palestine, providing for the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel and the Arab state of Palestine. With some reservations, the Jews accepted this partition while the Arab states generally rejected it.

On May 14, 1948, the day before the end of 50 years of British Mandate for Palestine, Israel established itself as an independent state in the land granted by the UN partition. Almost immediately the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq attacked Israel. Their goal was to drive the Jews from their ancient homeland.

To everyone’s surprise the Arab armies were defeated by the ragtag Israeli defense forces. By defeating the Arab armies, the Jews expanded their holdings to include about a third of the partition land that had been granted to the Palestinians. As a result, the Palestinians were left with the West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza strip.

The Arab nations had expected to win a quick and decisive victory over the Jews. In view of that expectation, they encouraged the Palestinians to flee their homes and then return upon the defeat of Israel. But most of the Palestinians who fled or were forcefully displaced ended up in exile in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and other lands.

But that is only half the story. While 700,000 Arabs were displaced from Israel, at the same time, about 750,000 Jews were forced to leave Arab lands where they had lived for generations. These fled to the new Jewish state of Israel.

So there is some substance to Randy’s claim. But I assume he would acknowledge that the situation between Israel and Gaza is complex. Yes, injustices have been perpetrated on both sides. But I do not mean to imply moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel.

Before elaborating on that last point, it’s important to distinguish between Muslim peoples on the one hand, and radical Islamists/Jihadists on the other. Most Muslims, like other citizens of the world, want to live in peace and raise their families. But the Jihadists, or Islamists, want to return to the world of the prophet Mohammed. A minority of Muslims are militants who want to renew the march of Islam to establish a global caliphate governed by Sharia law. The militant Hamas leaders are a different breed than the typical Palestinian civilian.

Randy accused the Israelis of ethnic cleansing. I do not regard this an accurate description of what is happening on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. Ethnic cleansing is the intentional, systematic, forced removal – through intimidation, torture, deportation, and mass murder – of religious or ethnic groups from a territory.

As I write, ISIS is marching through Iraq, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands, even millions of people as they go. The church that has existed in Iraq since the Apostle Thomas brought the gospel nearly 2000 years ago is decimated. In the last week, ISIS has turned its attention on the Yezidis, a 4,000-year-old ethnic/religious minority community in Kurdistan numbering between 300,000 – 700,000. In a matter of a few days, hundreds of thousands have fled their homes. As I write these words thousands are dying of dehydration and starvation in the arid Sinjar mountains where they have fled for their lives.

Jihadists are also rooting out Christians in Syria, another church that dates its founding to New Testament times. This is ethnic cleansing in all of its horrors. Recently I saw a picture of a six or seven-year-old Syrian girl  whose headless body was dressed in her “Sunday best.” A beheaded child! One can hardly imagine such evil. This is terror on its most basic level.

In addition to Iraq and Syria, persecution of Christians in the Muslim world is occurring in places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran.

Islamists are not killing Christians only. Their goal is to rid the world, not simply the Middle East, of Jews.

Gaza parallels Hitler and al Husseini partnership against Jews

Amin al Husseini und Adolf Hitler” by Heinrich Hoffmann

A hatred of Christians and Jews dates back to Mohammed’s move from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. But as recently as World War II, the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, aligned himself with the Axis Powers and worked in collaboration with Hitler and the Third Reich.

Hitler and el-Husseini shared a vision for the extermination of the Jews. In November of 1943 he stated:

It is the duty of Muhammadans in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries … . Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries. It has very clearly recognized the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world. ….”[1]

In modern times, there is a direct link between Hitler’s Third Reich and the war in Gaza. Nazi anti-Semitism was passed on to the political/spiritual descendants of el-Husseini, the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in Gaza. Written into the Hamas charter is the clear and unequivocal statement that Israel is to be obliterated: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” What Hitler began in Europe, Hamas and other Jihadists want to finish in the Middle East: the destruction of Israel and the extermination of Jews from the world.

The application of the term “ethnic cleansing” to Israel is certainly inappropriate as we watch ethnic cleansing being defined by ISIS before our very eyes. The brutality and intensity of the slaughter of innocents is the manifestation of evil.

-          Darrow Miller

NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you want to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.

George Grant’s Fund for Kurdistan

Dave Dillard’s (founder of Servant Group International) Fund

[1] Mattar, Philip (1984). “Al-Husayni and Iraq’s quest for independence, 1939-1941″. Arab Studies Quarterly 6 (4). pp. 267–281

 

  
Posted in Current events, Freedom | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

ISIS “deChristianizes” Mosul: Is the West Next?

Samer Kamil Yacub, age 70, was perhaps the last Christian to leave Mosul, Iraq, as reported by NBC News.

Why does that matter so much? Because Iraq has had a continuous Christian presence since the Apostle Thomas brought the gospel in the first century. That has now changed. That is why Yacub’s fleeing his home is a big deal!

ISIS flagChristians are fleeing a terrorist group called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). This ultra-militant Islamic body makes their sister organization, al Qaeda, look like grade-school children. ISIS took over much of Iraq and obliterated the border between Iraq and Syria. Not content to overthrow the governments of Iraq and Syria, they aspire to establish a caliphate, i.e. a religious state without borders.

An alternate name of ISIS is Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Levant are those states in the Middle East comprised of Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and parts of southern Turkey. This name shows ISIS’s near-term goal of moving into other nations in the region, beginning with Lebanon and Jordan and ultimately establishing a larger caliphate in the Levant. As of this writing, ISIS has moved into Kurdish Iraq and has crossed the Lebanon border.

The ultimate goal would be a worldwide caliphate. Belgium is already being identified as “Belgistan” and it is said will likely be Islamic by 2030. Currently 25 percent of the population of Brussels, the Belgium capital, are Muslims.

In June, ISIS issued an ultimatum to the non-Muslims living in the portions of Iraq under ISIS control.

We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract – involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

The first of the three choices is to renounce Christ (or for the secularist to renounce atheism) and convert – submit – to Islam. The second choice is the dhimma, an ancient Islamic concept in which non-Muslim citizens of a Muslim state pay a tax, the jizya. This is a material sign that the non-Muslims are subjugating themselves to the caliphate and Sharia law, submitting to the rule of Islam in exchange for one’s life. The third choice is to submit to the sword and die.

The jizya is established by the Quran in 9:29:

Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the Jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

In 2003 some 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq, just over five percent of the population. Following the Iraq War and the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, hundreds of thousands of Christians fled. By 2013, the estimated Christian population was reduced to something between 200,000 and 450,000. Earlier this year 60,000 Christians remained in the city of Mosul. Following the June edict of ISIS the last Christian has left the city.

The world press has spotlighted Gaza as it writhes in pain and devastation. Gaza deserves coverage, to be sure. But the press has ignored tens of thousands of Christians suffering severe persecution in Syria and Iraq. They are fleeing with the clothes on their backs. They are being killed. Their homes and historic churches are being confiscated or destroyed.

Meanwhile, Islamists have turned their eyes on the West.

Given the current pace of Muslim immigration, most of Europe will be majority Islamic in one or two generations. The riots in France in recent weeks remind me of scenes from the Palestinian intifada. Is this the first European intifada? As demonstrations and riots over the Israeli-Gaza war spread in Europe, the ISIS flag is appearing everywhere. In many of these demonstrations the flag of the ISIS is raised by their supporters.

Note the ISIS flags in the video below of Muslims blocking a London tunnel.

We are also witnessing Western countries “paying tribute” to Islamic militants. In his July 29, 2014 article “Paying Ransoms, Europe Bankrolls Qaeda Terror” for the New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi writes of the Jihadi groups’ new business model: kidnapping Westerners and holding them for ransom to fill their coffers for war against the West.

While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.

Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.

Is the West beginning to act like dhimma? Is this, like the appearance of ISIS flags in Europe, a precursor of the jizya?

Writing for the Religious Freedom Coalition, Dr. Marc Durie raises the question, “Does the West pay a “Jizya” to Arab States?” In the piece he points out the important distinction between “aid” and jizya:

Aid or jizya – the difference is crucial. Aid is a gift to friends. Jizya is an act of surrender. Western donors should be most wary of making military donations to sharia-compliant states. … One of the traditional uses of jizya by Islamic states is to fund further jihad, so belligerence can extract more jizya.

The jihadists are raising money in the West to wage jihad against the West. Can such a blatant anomaly really exist? (One is reminded of Jesus’ words, A house divided against itself cannot stand, Matthew 12:25.) The West is capitulating to the jihad’s system. Is this the precursor to the status of dhimma and payment of the jizya?

These events comprise a serious wake-up call for the West generally and Christians particularly. Will we set aside our video games long enough to see what is going on?

ISIS thinks nothing of removing the last Christian from Iraq. What would stop such resolve from bringing  their war to the West?

-          Darrow Miller

NOTE: We rarely solicit funds at Darrow Miller and Friends. However, if you have been moved by the plight of ethnic cleansing among Christians and Yezidis in Northern Iraq, and want a way to help, here are a couple of worthy avenues. My friends, Dr. George Grant and Dave Dillard, have been working in northern Iraq for some 15 years and have contacts with the church in Kurdistan. If you would like to help, see the links below. These will provide you, or your church, a way to get resources to those who are suffering. Please pass this information on to your friends. And please pray.

George Grant’s Fund for Kurdistan

Dave Dillard’s (founder of Servant Group International) Fund

 

  
Posted in Current events, Freedom | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Even Darwin Had His Doubts

Darwin had his doubtsCharles Darwin would probably be surprised by today’s claims of “settled science.”

In Canada the issue of so-called same-sex “marriage” is “settled” and any questioning is considered “hate speech,” putting a damper on the freedom of speech. (For the story on this see Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada.)

Similarly, the issue of global warming is “settled science.” Dr. Robert Watson, a climate scientist and Director of the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research, is famously quoted as saying, “The science is settled … We’re not going to reopen it here.” From a scientist we move to a politician. In his 2014 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama proclaimed, “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”

These are just two examples of the tyranny of modern fundamentalist atheists.

Modern atheistic philosophy is a product of the ideology of Darwinism or Evolutionism. Dr. D. M. S. Watson, the Jodrell Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at University College, London, states the faith of the modern evolutionist:

Evolution . . . is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or . . . can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

Darwinism is a comprehensive belief system that encompasses all of life. Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, and sociologist, coined the evolutionary term “survival of the fittest.” When the foundation for the pursuit of truth–a Judeo-Christian worldview– is jettisoned, all that is left is the pursuit of power as established by the Darwinian doctrine.

This is why moderns use coercion and intimidation to stifle debate. The old virtues of free thinking and inquiry in the pursuit of truth are now squashed by political correctness. The new virtue is tolerance. Anyone who challenges cultural relativism and political correctness (i.e. the ideas or policies of the cultural elites) is labeled sexist, homophobic, anti-science, anti-choice, bigoted, etc.

In contrast to the doctrinaire statements of fundamentalist atheists, Charles Darwin had room for doubts. He had reservations both scientific and metaphysical in nature. Nancy Pearcey’s excellent book Total Truth has rekindled my interest in this subject.

Darwin thought his own theory was “grievously hypothetical”

Linguist John Oller and biochemist John Omdahl wrote in The Creation Hypothesis:

Even Charles Darwin thought his own theory was “grievously hypothetical” and gave emotional content to his doubts when he said, “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder.” To think the eye had evolved by natural selection, Darwin said, “seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.” But he thought the same about something as simple as a peacock’s feather, which, he said, “makes me sick. ” Of course, anyone who has knowledge of the intricacies of the human eye and other living structures immediately realizes the problem Darwin sensed. How could an organ of such an intricate magnificence ever have originated via random chance? [1]

Darwin speaks of struggling with “horrid doubts.” These seem to have stemmed from both scientific and metaphysical skepticism within his soul.

With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of a man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. [2]

We get further light on Darwin’s doubts from his son, Francis, who edited The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volumes I & II. -

  • “I cannot too strongly express my conviction of the general truth of my doctrines, and God knows I have never shirked a difficulty.” (Darwin to Charles Lyell Sept. 20, 1859) -
  • “About the weak points I agree. The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradations, my reason tells me I ought to conquer the cold shudder.” (Darwin to Asa Gray [a Christian minister] Feb. ?, 1860)
  • “Henslow [says he]… will go a very little way with us [in accepting the Darwinian theory of evolution], but brings up no real argument against going further. He also shudders at the eye! It is really curious (and perhaps is an argument in our favour) how differently different opposers view the subject… Baden Powell says he never read anything so conclusive as my statement about the eye!” (Darwin to Charles Lyell Feb. 15, 1860)
  • “To recur to the eye. I really think it would have been dishonest, not to have faced the difficulty; and worse… it would have been impolitic I think, for it would have been thrown in my teeth, as H. Holland threw the bones of the ear, till Huxley shut him up by showing what a fine gradation occurred amongst living creatures.” (Darwin to Charles Lyell Feb. 23, 1860)
  • “…I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small trifling particulars of structure often make me feel uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!” (Darwin to Asa Gray Apr. 3, 1860)
  • “For the life of me I cannot see any difficulty in natural selection producing the most exquisite structure, if such structure can be arrived at by gradation, and I know from experience how hard it is to name any structure towards which at least some gradations are not known.” (Darwin to Charles Lyell Apr. 1860)

For more on this subject see Darwin’s Doubts by Stephen Meyer.

-          Darrow Miller

[1] Creation Hypothesis pg 274.

[2] From Francis Darwin’s Life and Letters of Charles Darwin.

  
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Say No! to Injustice

Injustice matters to God.

We have written before on the importance of civil disobedience in the Christian’s arsenal for engaging in cultures of corruption and injustice.

-          Civil Disobedience: When Law-abiding Citizens Should Break the Law

-          The Rule of Law in America: Is it time for civil disobedience?

-          How an ORDINARY PERSON Shaped History

-          God, the Bible, and Political Justice

Acts 16 records a remarkable story of civil disobedience. In this account, Paul and Silas resisted the culture of injustice in the Roman empire. They were subject to Rome but served a higher Authority. They demonstrated the power of No! to injustice. These servants of Christ understood that the moral law was above, and foundational to, civil law. They were willing to disobey the civil law in order to obey the moral law. They were law-abiding—not lawless—but their civil obedience was subject to limits.

This moment in history takes place in Philippi. The Roman order promoted slavery. One young female slave was enabled by a demon to tell fortunes. This “skill” brought her owner a sizable income (16:20). When one human profits by the slavery of another we are seeing profound injustice. When Paul commanded the evil spirit to leave the girl (16:17-18), he was saying “yes” to her health, and “no” to the injustice of her owner’s profits. Saying yes to the good requires saying no to evil!

The owner, bereft of his vile profits, dragged Paul and Silas before the magistrates. He accused them of “advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice” (16:21).

Paul and Silas paid a price for their “law-breaking” (16:22-24). The masses attacked them. The magistrates had them stripped, flogged, and thrown into prison. To add insult to injury, they were put in the “inner cell” – a place of greater security where torture could take place, and their feet fastened in the stocks.

What was the response of Paul and Silas to this injustice? They did not surrender to these dire circumstances. Rather than let their physical condition determine their response, they pushed back. They reflected the reality of the coming of the kingdom of God. The writer describes them singing and praying to God (16:25)!

God brought an earthquake, which dislodge the chains of the prisoners and threw open the doors (16:26-34). Did Paul and Silas take this as a sign from God that they should flee the prison and the injustice? No, they took it as an opportunity to reveal the nature of the Kingdom of God. By not escaping the injustice brought upon them, they showed grace to the jailer who was preparing to kill himself, believing that his prisoners had escaped on his watch. They preached the good news to the jailer and he and his family came to faith in Christ and were baptized. Their response was based on the Kingdom of God and not their physical circumstances. As a result, the jailer, his family,  and perhaps the other prisoners as well were welcomed into the kingdom.

In the morning, the magistrates sent word to the jailer that Paul and Silas were to be released (16:35-36). How did they respond? Did they say “Praise the Lord” for setting them free? No, they challenged the injustice. They called the magistrates to take account for their actions. This confrontation is recorded in 16:37:

But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”

Paul argued that the governing authorities had acted illegally against Roman citizens. They punished us publicly without the benefit of a trail. They threw us into prison. Now they want us to walk away quietly without public acknowledgement of the injustice.

The answer is No! It would have been far easier for Paul and Silas to have gone quietly. But they took the more difficult way. They made a public issue of the injustice they suffered and demanded that the powers that be admit their error and make it right.

There is power in saying No!

We need to be people who say No! to injustice, even if it means paying a price. As long as godly people go along with injustice, nothing will change. Only when justice means something in our lives will it mean something in our societies. When doing justice costs us something, the world will begin to listen. As long as we simply speak against injustice and do nothing about it, the world will have no reason to listen to our words.

Paul and Silas are just two of many examples of men and women who have stood up against injustice, and paid a price.

  • Of course the ultimate example is Jesus Christ himself whose atonement for sin was the supreme price paid that God might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:25 ESV).
  • Peter takes his place alongside Paul, Silas, and others who said No! to the injustices of the Roman empire.
  • William Wilberforce said No! to the injustices of slavery in the British Empire.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe fought injustice

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

    • Harriett Beecher Stowe said No! to slavery in America.
    • Gandhi in India No! to the injustice of British colonial rule.
    • The great Russian novelist, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said No! to Soviet Communism.
    • Nelson Mandela said No! to the apartheid system in South Africa.
    • Martin Luther King Jr. said No! to the denial of civil rights for blacks in the USA.
    • Jill Stanek is a modern day heroine in the fight for the rights of pre-born babies to live.

    As Christians we must be willing to say No! We must be willing to break unjust civil laws when those laws violate moral laws. We must be willing to take the consequences for breaking those laws. On a personal level, three times I have broken trespassing laws to save the lives of unborn babies. Three times I have gone to jail.

    To say Yes to the good is to say No to evil. In a fallen world, societies often practice and market evil. Christians need to stand for that which is true, good, and beautiful and against that which is evil.

    We must exercise the power of No!

    -          Darrow Miller

  
Posted in Culture, Social justice | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Compassion AND Law at the Border?

Border warning sign

“US-border-notice” by Makaristos – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Recently we published a post about the crisis on the Mexico/US border. Since then I came across a very helpful article by Erick Erickson, “Moral Clarity at the Border.” Erickson is an American political commentator and blogger.

Christians tend to divide into two streams of thought around this crisis. One school wants to show compassion for those who have crossed the border illegally. They cite scriptures like “You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt,” (Exodus 23:9 ESV). They call for open borders. They want to eliminate the word “illegal” in discussions about immigration. Some are now promoting the encouragement of all the oppressed in Central America to come to the USA and be welcomed. If a fellow Christian disagrees he is indicted for a lack of compassion.

The other camp are those Christians who focus on the importance of respecting the law. They cite texts like, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God,” (Romans 13:1 NIV). They want to see the border closed and the deportation of those who have entered illegally. They often accuse those who show compassion to illegals of aiding and abetting lawlessness.

Are these the only two positions? Perhaps it is time to articulate a more nuanced stance. Should not Christians be both law abiding and compassionate? These two virtues are not contradictory. Both are needed to guide the discussion. What happens on the border needs to reflect both compassion and respect for the law.

Erick Erickson has shed a helpful light on this question with his piece, “Moral Clarity at the Border.”

-          Darrow Miller

  
Posted in Compassion, Current events, Morality | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments