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

  
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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

Abortion Doesn’t Contribute to Women’s Health

Many years ago I was one of about 250 people picketing in front of a “women’s health clinic.” Why would we do such a thing? I think it would be safe to say that all of us supported women’s health. So why would we protest in front a women’s health clinic? Because it was a site where women were objectified and their babies killed. This was an abortion clinic! The people who ran it did not have the courage of their convictions to speak plainly about what took place inside. What they did to the mothers and their babies was horrendous. Their term—“women’s health clinic” was an empty euphemism.

As the English writer G.K. Chesterton said, “When man ceases to believe in God, he does not believe in nothing, he believes in anything.”

Euphemism reached an art form in Nazi Germany. Hitler actually believed the “high” Aryan superior to the “low” aboriginal. He decided to speed up evolution by the active use of eugenics. But he needed to disguise the horror with therapeutic language. The Nazis mingled torture and death camps with the language of human health.

Their vision and policies ultimately led to death camps as the means of purging the Jewish cancer from the Aryan race. But the genocide had its beginnings in subtler ways. Robert Jay Lifton, in his book, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, notes that at the beginning the authorization for the killing was “oral and secret and to be ‘kept in a very narrow scope, and cover only the most serious cases’ ….” As the evil continued, however,  the practice of genocide became “loose, extensive, and increasingly known.” (page 51)

So called “useless eaters”—handicapped children and adults with mental deficiencies—were starved to death in Hungerhausers (literally “houses of hunger”). Abortion was prohibited for the Nordic races, but coercive abortion and sterilization were the norm for people with mental deficiencies, anti-social behaviors, and “lower races.” Genocide—the murder of a large group of people—was justified in the name of healing. Hitler wanted to purify humanity by assuring the Aryan future and exterminating people deemed inferior.

The Nazis, and much of the world, believed anything. With no moral absolutes, right and wrong were maliciously confused. Doctors tasked to save lives crossed a terrible threshold; the medical profession became human exterminators for the Reich.

Creative use of language was used to hide the insidious truth. Terms like “healing work,” “putting to sleep,” “special diet,” and “therapy” were euphemisms for murder. “Resettlement,” “deportation,” and “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” substituted for “genocide.” The Nazis, the German people, and the free world believed anything. In Germany it all began with the declarative lie, lebensunwerten Lebens, “Life Unworthy of Life.”

Melinda Gates doesn't fund abortion

Photo by Remy Steinegger

Recently, Melinda Gates, the wife of Bill Gates and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, made an excellent distinction between women’s health and abortion. Gates related an experience she had while speaking to reporters in Toronto, Canada, on June 2, 2014.

When I was in Canada, however, an issue came up that worries me. I sat with Prime Minister Harper for media interviews in Toronto, and while most of the conversation had to do with the impact of Canada’s commitment to RMNCH [Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health], every journalist also focused on Canada’s policy on abortion.

Let me tell you why this worries me.

Around the world there is a deep, broad, and powerful consensus: We should provide all women the information and tools to time and space their pregnancies in a safe and healthy way that works for them. This approach is simple, it works, and it saves lives.

The question of abortion should be dealt with separately. But in the United States and around the world the emotional and personal debate about abortion is threatening to get in the way of the lifesaving consensus regarding basic family planning.

I understand why there is so much emotion, but conflating these issues will slow down progress for tens of millions of women. That is why when I get asked about my views on abortion, I say that, like everyone, I struggle with the issue, but I’ve decided not to engage on it publicly—and the Gates Foundation has decided not to fund abortion.

I am focused on one thing: the opportunity to make a difference in tens of millions of women’s lives by giving them access to the information and resources they need to plan their families.

I understand that the abortion debate will continue, but conflating it with the consensus on so many of the things we need to do to keep women healthy is a mistake. We have made such great progress for women on prenatal care, on providing the contraceptives that they want, and on encouraging proper care and nutrition for newborns, and we need to keep moving forward. The only way to do that is to be clear, focused, and committed.

Abortion providers want to soften their image. That’s why they employ terms like “women’s health.” But abortion and women’s health are opposites. Mingling the terms has adverse effect on the health of millions of women. Thank you, Melinda, for speaking so clearly and powerfully about the danger or co-mingling these issues.

-          Darrow Miller

 

 

 

  
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The Nightmare on the Way to the American Dream

Recent events in Europe and the Middle East have pushed the border stories down a notch. But immigrants from Central America are still flooding into the US. Children and youth (and women) are fleeing corrupt and impoverished Central American nations. From American Dream the lure of Central American poor peopleGuatemala, Honduras and El Salvador they are streaming through Mexico across the border into Texas. Many parents believe they are sending their offspring to the American Dream, but the children are living a nightmare. They are riding atop freight trains. They are preyed on by gangs. On arrival they are staying in overcrowded public facilities while they await deportation hearings.

The nightmare begins by walking for days to Arriaga, in the Mexican state of Chiapas. There they scramble to the roof of a freight train called La Bestia (The Beast). Every two or three days this “train of death” departs for the two-week ride to the US border, filled with freight and covered with young imago Dei humans hoping for a better life.

Parents believe they are sending their offspring off to the American Dream … but the children are living a nightmare

The Mexican poet and environmentalist Homero Aridjis writes of the horrors of the journey:

Along the way pregnant women, mothers with infants, teenagers and adults will sleep on the streets or, if lucky, in makeshift or more permanent church-run shelters. During the long journey, accidents often happen, and passengers tumbling off the roof have their limbs severed. An aid group in Honduras has counted more than 450 migrants who have returned mutilated. Derailments are common, with cars flying off the tracks, leading to injuries and death.

Murders, muggings, extortions, gang rapes of women and kidnappings (some 20,000 a year) are committed by the rapidly expanding Central American Mara Salvatrucha gangs or by Mexican drug traffickers such as the bloodthirsty Zetas. They often infiltrate the groups of travelling migrants on the trains or in shelters, selling them drugs, tricking girls into prostitution, luring boys into gangs or murdering perceived informers. And at each stop, the migrants are prey to local police, who demand bribes up to several hundred dollars a head in exchange for allowing them to continue on their way.

(The above quote and particulars come from Homero Aridjis writing for The World Post. Go here for the full article.)

For those who make it to the US, the nightmare continues. The children are crowded into unused or underused public and military facilities. There they wait to be processed. Will they qualify to stay? Will their American Dream stay alive? Or will they be repatriated to their home country? The average wait time to find out is two years.

Here’s a personal glimpse of this crisis through the eyes of a Honduran woman named Miriam. She is a friend of my wife, Marilyn, who travels twice yearly to two very poor communities in rural Honduras.

Some years ago Marilyn started a program in these communities to help keep children in school. One young girl who benefited was Miriram’s daughter, Nancy. Instead of dropping out after the 6th grade and getting pregnant, Nancy stayed in class and graduated from high school. After graduation, Nancy married. The couple moved to the capital city, Tegusegalpa, where Nancy’s husband had a job. Nancy gave birth. Then Nancy’s husband lost his job. Desperate, he joined the migration of illegal immigrants to the US to look for work. Now, Nancy has told her mother that she is following the flood of immigrants to rejoin her husband and pursue the American Dream. Miriam is heartbroken and sick with worry for the safety of her daughter and four-month-old grandaughter.

My good friend, Lyd Pensado, lives and serves among the poor in Mexico City. Besides the local population, Lyd is ministering to the Central American women and children traveling through Mexico pursuing the American Dream. Some of them find themselves in the immigration detention center in Mexico City. Lyd reports her own experience and insights into the plight of those seeking to immigrate:

A year ago we started visiting the immigration detention station in Mexico City. Every Saturday we have an art therapy activity to start conversations and establish a relationship with the women, children and teenagers. This gives us an opportunity to hear many stories about their trip from the southern border. Some of these stories are very sad. Some women have left their babies or schooling for the “American Dream”.

After spending 2 or 3 weeks at the station, they feel completely demoralized; sadly, this is now the opportune time to help them realize that to migrate is not the best option. It is not the solution.

Having been in El Salvador, we understand more about their reality and worldview. Many of them have a relative in the USA and have received goods from there. This makes their lives easier and many of the Salvadorans don’t make more effort to develop their country or improve their life; they just live with money sent by somebody in the USA.

Now when we say ideas have consequences, I have a clear example. When people have other options but choose the “easy way” (the idea that it is easy to make money in another country), even when this means leaving their family and taking risks (some die on the way), it is painful. The choice of working hard and living simply is not easy, but what if more people began thinking like this? What if churches helped to develop their country? What if our preaching were more holistic?

We continue looking for more partners — churches in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua — to work together to prevent immigration based on the American Dream. We need to join efforts to increase the possibilities of livelihood in their own countries. I am always very surprised by all of the creativity that we have as Latinos; we take something old and we change it into something that we can use again. Why can’t we do that to develop our countries? What makes us limit ourselves?

Lyd and her team are ministering to those who have fled the poverty of their own communities. At the same time, she is trying to bring hope, and a vision, for the rebuilding and development of their own nations.

In other words, the solutions to this crisis include two streams of effort. One is to bring relief to the current suffering of migrating humans. The other is to help them understand the Creator’s principles which could lead their nation to flourishing.

Many people have a heart for the plight of the migrants pursuing the American Dream. All who do need to engage hearts of compassion AND minds for solutions to the poverty of these people, solutions that really work.

Good intentions are not enough. Neither is inattentiveness and inaction. Our time and our money are needed. We have the opportunity to support the people suffering the nightmare. We also can help those who are seeking to import the ideas and vision that produced the “American Dream” into the impoverished nations of the south.

-          Darrow Miller

  
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Haiti and Israel: A Study in Contrasts

One cannot consider Haiti without asking a perennial question. Why do some nations flourish while others seemed forever trapped in poverty?

Observers have suggested many causes, including colonialism, lack of resources, or corruption. But each of these capture only an aspect of problem. As we have argued at this blog and in our books and papers, we believe the root of the problem is worldview. Poverty is the fruit of a people’s mindset, the product of the mental infrastructure of a nation, the result of the moral vision of a culture.

Haiti is the classic case study. Despite the relative bounty of the island of Hispaniola, the second largest island of the West Indies, despite the billions of dollars in international aid that has poured into Haiti, the nation remains miserably poor.

We have written on the tragedy of Haiti here and here. Today I want to share a thoughtful piece by my friend, Marc Mailloux.

My path and Marc’s crossed briefly at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland in the early 70’s. More recently we have become reacquainted. With a background in theology and missions, Marc has spent much of his life living and teaching in France and the French-speaking world of the Caribbean and south Florida.

Marc has served in Haiti and with Haitians for 14 years. His heart has been broken by the poverty of Haiti. His article, “Haiti vs Israel,” is a thoughtful piece on the necessity and power of a Biblical worldview for the transformation of a nation.

Good intentions do not solve the problems of poverty. It is truth that not only sets people free, but puts them on a path to development.

Marc’s article was originally published by GoodNews Florida which has graciously given us permission to repost it here.

Haiti vs. Israel

South Florida residents include a significant number of Haitians and Jews—two people groups of considerably different cultural backgrounds. Amongst the Haitians are a large number of professing believers in Jesus Christ, much larger than the percentage of Jews who would recognize Yeshua as the Messiah. The same is true for the country of Haiti itself where, according to Operation World (French edition of 1994) evangelicals comprise at least 21% of the population compared with Israel where less than 1% of the population confesses Christ.

Haiti has roughly 9.5 million people in an area of 10,715 square miles. It’s a mostly fertile land blessed with a warm tropical climate and abundant rain. Alas, it has suffered widespread ecological abuse and has gone from 60% forested in 1915 to less than 2% today. Israel has 7.8 million people (80% Jewish) on 8,019 square miles of mostly dry, desert land. But the Israelis have transformed that land into a world leader in irrigation techniques as well as medical and computer science, in spite of spending around 50% of its national budget on military defense.

Question: In light of the Lord’s promises of blessings for his people (Deuteronomy 7:12- 15; 15:4-5 etc.), how is it that Israel is so technologically advanced and prosperous while Haiti is so appallingly destitute? How does one explain the fact that the Jews, in only 64 years since 1948, have transformed a tiny stretch of middle eastern desert into an island of prosperity in a sea of Muslim underdevelopment, whereas Haiti— a French economic superpower in the 18th century—continues to stagnate in filth and underdevelopment with almost 75% of its people illiterate? Is there a biblical explanation for these horrendous discrepancies?

A key to answering these questions might require a better understanding of the residual effects of God’s grace and blessings. In Deuteronomy 5:9 the Lord affirms that he “visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate him, but shows mercy to thousands who keep his commandments.” In other words, the actions of the parents tend to carry over to their descendants, both for good and for evil.

On the positive side, the Jews were the first people to possess God’s oracles with the all-important teachings of the so-called cultural mandate: God’s order to subdue the earth, keep it, and care for it (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). They have generally, albeit imperfectly, passed this wisdom on to their children including many who, alas, no longer walk in the faith. Subduing the earth has become almost second nature to the Jews whose tendency to dominate the intellectual and cultural world is legendary. A Jewish joke says that life begins neither at conception nor at birth but when your child arrives home from law school or medical school with diploma in hand. Not so for many other people, including the Haitians who have not understood the importance of literacy for man’s vocation to subdue the earth and care for it.

What’s more, the Jews have passed on this biblically proactive trait of caring for the environment to their posterity. This has resulted in generations of residual blessings which, if I understand Scripture correctly, are available to any who apply the Lord’s statutes and follow his biblical “directions for use” ordinances. In addition to its message of salvation, the Bible is also God’s instruction manual to man for getting along in this fallen world. Surely the Jews have understood this better than most, hence their remarkable domination in world affairs. Though they represent scarcely 0.2% of the world’s population, they have won almost 20% of all the Nobel Prizes that have ever been awarded! The world’s 1.3 billion Muslims have won only 3 Nobel Prizes.

But what can we say about the large number of professing Christians in Haiti? Why do they not exert a greater transforming influence on their nation? Essentially, they haven’t been taught to think biblically because they’re largely uninstructed in the Word. The fact is that most Haitians are descendants of a people whose ancestors have bequeathed them a persistent tradition of voodoo superstition and occultism. Indeed, Haiti traces the origin of its very independence from France to a gathering of voodoo priests— the infamous Cérémonie du Bois Caiman of August 1791 when the country was consecrated to the “enemy of the French God,” i.e. Satan! Lest the reader think that this is merely a quaint historical anecdote, know that this diabolical ceremony is repeated regularly by voodoo practitioners in Haiti who remain legion. One does not thumb his nose at the Almighty with impunity.

Just as the residual effects of the Lord’s blessings to the Jews subsist in spite of their wide scale rebellion, so has the curse of occultism continued to plague Haiti and thwart the development of that country. The Bible is abundantly clear about the dangers of syncretism against which the Lord warned His people on numerous occasions.

Meanwhile, all is not lost for Haiti. It often takes several generations before the implications of the gospel truth penetrate the hearts of a people and, eventually, transform a nation. What’s needed in Haiti, as anywhere else, is basic biblical instruction for her people to learn to read, understand, and apply the Word of God—the Creator’s recipe for both spiritual and material prosperity. The Haitians are a spiritually receptive people. If they turn from occultism and learn to live by the truths of God’s Word, forsaking the ubiquitous corruption that hinders all efforts at development, then there’s no reason that this Maryland-sized nation of almost 10 million people—with the Lord’s blessings through the transforming power of the gospel—cannot become an island of prosperity.

Marc Mailloux writes about HaitiMarc Mailloux is an evangelistic radio broadcaster (www.radiofloride.com), teaches in the Haitian Institut Biblique et Théologique de la Floride, preaches in Haitian churches, and is developing the IONA teaching ministry in the French speaking Caribbean where he currently directs three IONA programs. Marc blogs at marcmailloux.wordpress.com.

  
Posted in Development, Economic Development, Population, Poverty, Worldview | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Obama Can Deny the Existence of Evil but He Can’t Make Evil Disappear

“The problem with you Americans is that you don’t believe in evil.”

The charge is taken from a work of fiction, but it’s altogether true in fact.

Joel Rosenberg writes about evil in The Last Jihad

That sentence appears in Joel C. Rosenberg’s 2002 novel, The Last Jihad. Rosenberg is a Messianic-Jewish writer and political strategist. He puts the words in the mouth of the fictitious former director of the Israeli Mossad speaking to the head of an FBI Counter Terrorism unit based in Israel.

The two characters are talking about Saddam Hussein’s role in the conflicts in the Middle East. The American position regarded Hussein as either crazy or an habitual liar. The Israeli understanding, born from Hitler’s holocaust, recognized that evil was a more accurate explanation for Hussein’s behavior.

Rosenberg has correctly assessed the American disregard of evil. In the atheistic framework of modern American thought, morality is relative. The concept and language of sin has been purged from the nation. The notion of real evil is a non-starter; moral language has no place in American conversation. Saddam Hussein might be crazy, sick or a chronic liar, but to describe him as evil is to speak nonsense.

An Israeli, on the other hand, looking at the same man and events, sees evil.  Thus Rosenberg’s statement comes from the mouth of the fictitious Israeli Mossad director.

Words such as “evil,” and the concepts they carry, matter. Words have power. When we attempt to erase words from the public vocabulary, consequences follow. We see this in the blindness of the current US administration which seems to believe that terrorists will go away if we stop using the term.

President Obama and his Department of Homeland Security have worked to remove the word “terrorism” from the American lexicon.  Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano replaced “terrorism” with “man-caused disasters.” The former indicated (primarily) Islamists who attack innocent populations of Muslims, Christians, Jews, and secularists. A “man-caused disaster” might be so-called global warming, or the collapse of a shabbily constructed apartment building.

This language shift spawned two adverse results. It fused all non-Muslim violence with Islamist actions, thus diluting consciousness of uniquely Islamist terrorism. Another consequence was the elimination of the term “terrorism” from the American vocabulary. Thus was lost an essential category for national discussion and action.

To abandon the word terrorism was to refocus the national attention away from a particular threat: Jihadism. The US disengaged from the “fight against terrorism,” while the Jihadists continue their relentless march of mayhem and evil through the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. Their intent is to create a global caliphate – a one-world state under Sharia law headed by a political-religious leader known as a caliph.

The word “terrorist” has been banned by a government that denies the reality of evil.

The latest Jihadist installment is the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a Sunni Jihadist group marked by extreme violence: words fail to capture the continued escalation of brutality and inhumanity we are witnessing. ISIS, in sweeping out of Syria, has obliterated the border between Syria and Iraq as the first installment of destroying the notion of modern political states in favor of a borderless caliphate. But we cannot call ISIS terrorists because the word has been banned from the nation’s vocabulary by a government that denies the reality of evil.

Here’s another consequence of the elimination of the word evil: a rise in the frequency of Holocaust denials.

Temple University Adjunct Professor Alessio Lerro recently argued that Jews are exaggerating the extent of the Holocaust to obtain political advantages. Dr. Arthur R. Butz, associate professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, is a Holocaust denier. See his article here.

In a free society, people may speak their minds. They may hold positions that are not true. They may even attempt to rewrite history. But when a nation denies the reality of evil, what outcomes might occur?

“The problem with you Americans is that you don’t believe in evil.”

-          Darrow Miller

  
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What Iraq Teaches Us About Cultural Transformation

As ISIS marches through Iraq and Baghdad prepares for battle, the world is asking, “Whence the hard-won gains of intervention by the US and its allies?” 

Bob Osburn writes about IraqThe growing crisis presents opportunity for plenty of rumination and reflection; not all of it helpful. Our friend, Bob Osburn, Executive Director at Wilberforce Academy, has contributed some exceptional insights into the causes and remedies of the crisis underway in northern Iraq now threatening Baghdad.

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WHY CULTURE CANNOT BE COERCED

The battle for Baghdad (which may or may not be underway by the time this blog is posted) is not only a human tragedy, but a painful reminder of how culture can never be coerced.  Because this is so, the thousands of American lives and $1 trillion invested there since the 2003 Iraq War seems like a terrible price to pay for using the wrong weapons to achieve a worthy goal.

In the Winter and Spring of 2003, as the US government was preparing to launch the invasion of Iraq to overthrow the vicious dictator Saddam Hussein, I often spoke to my sons about the probable successes and risks.  Like many, I forecasted a military romp in the park, as was indeed the case.  But, I warned my sons over and over that the people of Iraq, owing first to the lack of democratic government under the long reign of Hussein and, secondly, to the similarly troubling relationship between democracy and most Islamic societies, would be a different matter altogether.  I naively believed that our military planners were fully aware of the giant risk of anarchy following Saddam’s fall and that they would somehow prepare for it. 

Notwithstanding American claims about weapons of mass destruction, the US government saw its mission as liberation.  And, yes, if you take the view that politics and power are the primary force in a society, then America surely succeeded.  Using the coercive power of American military, the political situation in Iraq changed almost overnight.

But societies are far more than the sum of their politics, or, for that matter, their economics. 

Go here for the rest of Bob’s post.

  
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Guinness: The Brand that Made God Look Good

Guinness beer logo Arthur Guinness operated a brewery for the glory of God. You could say he was part of the Monday Church of his generation.

On Sunday Christ followers gather for worship, fellowship, and equipping. On Monday they go all over the city to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This is what we call the Monday Church.

The Monday Church is the fruit of the Reformers and their spiritual offspring. Christians engaged the Cultural Commission to bring change and transformation to their societies. The legacy of the Reformation included the virtues of hard work, excellence, and thrift. When people work hard and save they end up creating wealth. That wealth was not for personal consumption, but to benefit mankind. Personal and corporate wealth was to be used for redemptive purposes.

Guinness was impacted by John Wesley

Following the Reformation came the First Great Awakening (1734-1740), led by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) in the American Colonies and John Wesley (1703- 1791) in England. In the New World this movement laid the groundwork for the founding of the United States. In England, the Wesley Revivals transformed the nation and ended slavery. The many people impacted by Wesley included Irishman Arthur Guinness (1725-1803), founder of Guinness Brewery.

Guinness was intrigued by a simple slogan John Wesley wrote to capture virtues of the Protestant work ethic: “Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then give all you can.” The gospel had social, economic, and political application. Evangelicals were awakened to socially responsibility. This conscience was to be applied by both individual Christians and the companies they created. This is seen in the story of the Guinness family.

downloadHistorian Stephen Mansfield documents the Guinness story in The Search for God and Guinness: A biography of the Beer that Changed the World.

For Arthur Guinness, our calling had two sides, the call of the cross to salvation and the call to work as part of a godly commitment to engage culture. Guinness understood that work was worship. Mansfield writes that the nonconformist faith produced by the Wesley Revival was the “kind of faith that inspires men to make their work in this world an offering to God, to understand craft and discipline, love of labor and skills transferred from father to son as sacred things.”

Today, work is seen as what we do to make money to buy things. The Reformation transformed work from a job to a calling. The Reformers converted “workbenches into altars.”

Arthur Guinness and his brewery became part of this tradition. They labored hard, worked with excellence. They worked to the glory of God. Mansfield notes how the Guinness company culture built on these principles of the Reformation:

Men took pride in their skills and felt their area of responsibility nearly a sacred trust. They spoke of the minutest detail of a process related to brewing as though it was of utmost importance, as though each was a critical part of a vitally significant whole. … they saw their work as an extension of their character, a statement of what kind of men they were. A man’s profession was where he demonstrated to the world who he was ….

This attitude of the sacredness of work propelled the Guinness brand to become what is widely regarded today as the world’s best and most famous beer.

In other words, this view and practice of work generates wealth. But wealth is to be used in socially responsible ways for the greater community to the glory of God. It is not the creation of wealth, but the compassionate use of the wealth, that establishes a godly heritage.

Today a culture of greed marks capitalist societies, whether labelled “capitalist” or “socialist.” In contrast, the gospel of Christ creates a culture of generosity lived out both personally and corporately. The Guinness Brewing Company, through their pursuit of excellence, gave the world the gift of one of the best beers in the world. The wealth that was generated was used to benefit both Guinness employees and the larger community.

This culture of generosity was manifested by the company in many dimensions.

  • Wages 10-20 percent higher than the Irish average
  • Medical and dental care for employees and their families, to retirees and widows of employees
  • Retirement plans funded entirely by the company without employee contributions
  • Savings banks to encourage the virtue of thrift among the employees
  • A savings fund from which employees could borrow to purchase housing
  • Educational opportunities, concerts, and lectures to encourage moral and intellectual development for employees and families
  • Scholarships for employees to attend technical school and, for those qualified, even university
  • Lending libraries and music societies that encouraged employees to think beyond the details of their work
  • An annual paid “Excursion Day” for employees to take families on countryside respite
  • Two pints of dark stout a day

The Guinness company funded employee pensions with zero employee contributions!

When World War I broke out, the Guinness Brewery promised to hold the job of any employee who enlisted. In addition, the company paid the employee half his normal salary while in the service, so he could complement his small service salary and have enough to care for his family!

Guinness treated their employees as fellow human beings, not simply instruments of production. For many generations, Guinness Brewery was known as the best employer in Ireland. As a “Monday Christian,” Arthur Guinness created a culture of generosity that shaped the social responsibility of the company for generations.

Guinness was also generous–socially responsible–to the community. The company

  • Sponsored guilds—associations for the care of animals and the establishment of gardens, and athletic unions to encourage the improvement of health and fitness.
  • Championed the rights of Roman Catholics (even though he himself was a non-conformist Protestant).
  • Ministered medical care to poor people by serving on the board of Meath Hospital
  • Fought for the abolition of dueling.
  • Patronized charities that promoted Gaelic art and culture
  • Founded the first Sunday schools in all of Ireland
  • Founded the Guinness Trust to provide housing for the “laboring poor”
  • Hired Dr. John Lumsden to do public health surveys in communities where Guinness factories were located and developed policies and programs to increase public health.

Arthur_GuinnessThese and many other commendable actions are part of the heritage of evangelical social responsibility in the life of Arthur Guinness, his family, and the world-famous Guinness Brewery. Here is an example of the Monday Church at work.

-          Darrow Miller

 

  
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