Tag Archives: Islam

Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport Bombed, at Least 35 Dead

At least 35 people have been killed and more than 130 wounded by a bomb blast at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. Domodedovo is the city’s largest and busiest air facility.

Unnamed sources say that a Chechen Islamic terrorist group, the Caucasus Emirate, is believed to be behind the attack. The same group employed women as female suicide bombers in the bombing of the Moscow Metro subway last March. 40 people were killed.

What, did the airport put up a picture of Mohammed or something?

The “religion of peace” is spreading sunshine and rainbows as usual. Makes me want to hug an Imam and sing “Kumbaya.”

Meanwhile, here in the United States, Evangelical Christians are celebrating “Sanctity of Life Week.”  That’s an interesting contrast.  (Remember Rosie O’Donnell’s comment?  “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state.”)

Islam doesn’t have the market cornered on bloodthirsty, murderous terrorism; the abortion industry has racked up some 53,000,000 killings since Roe V. Wade.

Watch and pray, Believers…

“Moses” and the Mosque

By Jim Bennett
Daily Review Atlas

On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot 12 students, a teacher and themselves to death at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado.

That year, the National Rifle Association convention had been booked for the end of the month at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Denver, 14 miles from the site of the tragedy.

The event had been planned and paid for long before the massacre, but Association President Charlton Heston swiftly cancelled all of the convention’s various seminars, luncheons, ceremonies and the sprawling firearms exposition anyway.

The NRA voluntarily reduced their traditionally festive three-day assemblage to a few hours, long enough for an austere membership meeting (which they held only because it was required by law under their non-profit charter) and a brief, low-key reception.
Even though neither Harris nor Klebold was a member of the National Rifle Association, Heston went to extraordinary lengths to extend kindness to those who had lost their loved ones in the mass slaying.

This is called “simple human decency.”

On Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists hijacked four airliners and purposely smashed two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The two skyscrapers collapsed a short time later. The third jet was intentionally flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and the fourth, which the hijackers had directed toward Washington D.C., crashed in a field in Pennsylvania as passengers and crew were courageously attempting to regain control of it; 2,976 people were killed in the attack, along with the hijackers. More than 6,000 people were injured.

In December 2009, Islamic Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf announced plans to build a 13-story mosque and Muslim cultural center just two blocks from the site of the Twin Towers atrocity. When some family members of 9/11 victims bristled at the suggestion and cried out for sensitivity, Rauf and his backers just pressed forward.

Simple human decency? Hello?

But what did the NRA get for their sacrificial and sympathetic gestures in 1999? They were pilloried by the press anyway; many media outlets continued to report the story as if the organization had simply shaken a defiant fist in the face of the families of the Columbine victims and gone ahead with their convention as planned.

The mayor of Denver at the time, Wellington Webb, a Democrat, demanded that Heston and his conventioneers stay out of the city altogether.

In contrast, the New York Times calls the Ground Zero mosque a “monument to tolerance,” and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks of the project in supportive, glowing terms. He believes the mosque will “help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam.”

That’s an interesting statement, considering that Imam Rauf has refused to condemn Hamas as the terrorist organization it is. Bloomberg’s support shouldn’t surprise us though; the May Day car bomb discovered in Times Square left His Honor the Mayor speculating that the bomber was some right-winger upset over Obama’s health care plan. Later, police arrested Faisal Shahzad, a Muslim terrorist from Pakistan.

When federal officials weighed in on the NRA convention controversy in ’99, Congressman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, called the group “merchants of death” while then-First Lady Hillary Clinton smiled and nodded in agreement.
When it comes to the Ground Zero mosque, however, even President Obama himself has inexplicably endorsed it. Shamelessly pandering to Muslims at the second annual White House Ramadan dinner Friday night, He called for the development to proceed, in spite of the pain it’s causing.

After the Columbine murders, NRA President Charlton Heston immediately called upon his constituents to show their “profound sympathy and respect for the families and communities in the Denver area in their time of great loss.” Again: Simple human decency.

Compare that statement to what Imam Rauf said on the Sept. 30, 2001, edition of CBS’ “60 Minutes”: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened [on 9/11], but the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”

But the Soetoro Administration’s fondness for Rauf could have no greater affirmation than his selection by the government to be sent abroad on a month-long junket (funded by you and me, taxpayers) to various Muslim countries. His mission, says State Department spokesman C.J. Crowley, is “to foster a greater understanding and outreach … among Muslim majority communities … to help people overseas understand our society and the role of religion within our society.”

We’re talking about a guy who once told Ed Bradley that the U.S. has “been an accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the U.S.A.”

I’m not sure this is the man we want “fostering a greater understanding and outreach” among Muslims, let alone building anything near Ground Zero.

Perhaps most disconcerting is the murky funding behind this $100 million development. Rauf and his partners have been eerily evasive about that, yet calls for an investigation into the Imam’s financial backers have fallen on deaf ears. Mayor Bloomberg says undertaking such a probe would be “un-American,” but now comes word that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is actually calling for an investigation into the funding of those OPPOSING the construction of the mosque!

“Simple human decency,” indeed.

Jim Bennett is the pastor of Rozetta Baptist Church in rural Henderson County.

Copyright 2010 Daily Review Atlas. Some rights reserved

“Did I do that?” By Jim Bennett

In Our Next Issue: Are Baptists Responsible for Climate Change? Lengthy Sermons Produce Greenhouse Gases.

            I recently found myself at a newsstand, staring in disbelief at a magazine.  I initially thought it was some kind of parody, but it wasn’t “The Onion,” it was “The Atlantic.”  Yes, the venerable “Atlantic,” founded by such literary luminaries as Emerson, Longfellow, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  On the cover of the December 2009 issue is a photograph of a Christian cross bedecked with signs reading “Foreclosure” and “For Sale,” along with this headline:  “Did Christianity Cause The Crash?  How Preachers Are Spreading a Gospel of Debt.” 

Yes, I did. I did do that.

           For a moment I pictured myself dressed as Urkel, standing in the smoking rubble of a demolished US Treasury Building, pointing at the mess and sheepishly, nasally intoning, “Did I do that?”        
            In all fairness, the article does refer specifically to the chicanery of the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity frauds.   I have long been disturbed by cashier-clergymen like Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn, though my objections are mainly theological in character.  But to blame bad doctrine, heretical though it may be, for the global economic collapse is absurd.  (Unless, of course, Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd have been ordained and are now co-hosting a new “PTL Club” television program.) 

I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of Dodd.

 
            The article aside, however, the cover draws no distinction between health-and-wealth con men and legitimate, sincere, biblical believers.  Call me paranoid, but I wonder if this isn’t an early and mild precursor to persecution.     
            I use the phrase “early and mild precursor” advisedly.  In Islamic regions, in parts of India, and in communist nations like China and North Korea, persecution simply comes with being a Christ-follower; here in the States, on the other hand, the church has it relatively soft and cushy right now.  But could magazine covers like this one be a foretaste of the near future?   
            If so, the first requirement would be a real or ginned-up crisis – the kind that inspires mob mentality and fear.  After that, the scapegoating can begin in earnest.  History bears this out:  When Emperor Nero wanted to initiate his own campaign of anti-Christian persecution, he did it by pinning a disaster on them.  In 64 A.D., a fire destroyed 10 of the 14 wards of Rome.  The citizens suspected Nero was behind the fire.  In his Annals of Imperial Rome (XV.44), the Roman historian Tacitus wrote an account of Nero’s response:
            “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called ‘Christians’ by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted.”        
            Nero killed two birds with one stone.  He coerced confessions to dodge the blame, and he finally had a viable rationalization for persecuting Christians.
            Maybe you’re saying, “Well, O Paranoid One, this magazine cover does hit on Christianity, but other faiths take a beating in the media too.”  Hm.  Let’s contrast the Atlantic cover against one recent incident:  The Fort Hood Massacre. 
            The Culture and Media Institute is a conservative group that monitors media trends for signs of liberal bias.  They recently published a study entitled, “PC News: Networks Downplay Terrorism, Muslim Connection in Ft. Hood Attack.”  Some highlights: 
            “85 percent of the broadcast stories didn’t mention the word ‘terror.’ ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news

ABC News reports that the gunman was not shouting "Allahu Akbar," but was, in fact, just singing "Rock the Casbah."

referenced terrorism connections to the Fort Hood attack just seven times in 48 reports.”  
            Only “twenty-nine percent of evening news reports mentioned that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was a Muslim.  Of those, half (7 out of 14) defended the religion or included experts to do so.”
            Remember the slaying of abortionist George Tiller?  It seemed like every news outlet in America was describing it as “domestic terrorism,” and many in the media didn’t even wait for the capture of a suspect before connecting Pro-Life Christian teachings and rhetoric to the murder. So, while the cover of “The Atlantic” whispers that Christianity caused the recession, it seems the major news networks would have us believe that Islamic jihadist teachings and terrorism played no role in the Fort Hood Massacre. 
            Am I paranoid?  I can only paraphrase Joseph Heller or Kurt Cobain or the anonymous bumper sticker sloganeer who first observed, “I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘they’ aren’t out to get me.”  (Insert eerie Theremin solo here!)     
            So watch and pray, believers, but most of all, trust, because “God hath not given us the spirit of fear.”  And we can be sure this hasn’t taken our Savior by surprise:  In Matthew 10:22, Jesus said, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

          

“September 30th Is Blasphemy Day” By Jim Bennett (Updated: Dana Ellyn “responds”)

            Before I begin this week’s strident indictment of whatever and stuff, I think I should establish my expertise in the general subject matter, which is art.  I’m not one of those Philistines who says, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”  The arts are my consuming passion, and I spend every free moment immersed in the classics. My obsessive love for the works of C.M. Coolidge, for example, has become my raison d’être; I can name – from memory – every breed of dog that sits at that poker table.  And after years of scouring every tent-canopy sale in every Shopko parking lot within 500 miles, my personal art collection now boasts the most extensive assemblage of American Indian wolf tapestries, Robert Kinkaid knock-offs, and framed Dale Earnhardt memorial lithographs anywhere. 
            I think I’ve made my point. 
            While I, like you, had my life changed forever when Christo wrapped Berlin’s Reichstag building in polypropylene fabric, I find that most modern art is not nearly that lucid and relevant.  Case in point:  An exhibit opening Wednesday in Washington D.C.; it is part of something called “International Blasphemy Day.”  The idea is that artists and so-called “free-speech advocates” around the globe will stage exhibitions that mock and criticize all things religious.  The goal is to somehow promote freedom of expression through all the condemnation and ridicule.
            The work of painter Dana Ellyn will be featured at the D.C. observance.  In a Religion News Service article about Blasphemy Day, Ellyn told reporter Leanne Larmondin, “My point is not to offend, but I realize it can offend, because religion is such a polarizing topic.”  That’s an interesting statement, especially when we consider some of her work.
            I give you Dana Ellyn’s “Silly Rabbit, Myths Are for Kids.”  Jesus Christ, God the Son, is pictured dressed in an Easter Bunny costume with an egg beneath his chair.  A small girl is laughing at him. 
            “Bottled at the Source” is evidently supposed to mimic a booze label.  “Divine Wine” is the name of the product, and the Savior of all mankind is shown on the cross; angels float nearby, holding out empty bottles to be filled by the streams of blood that are spouting from His pierced side and hand. 
            In “Jesus Performs at Young Darwin’s Birthday Party,” the Lord of the Universe is in a clown suit levitating a few inches off the floor, dancing on a cloud for the young evolutionist’s amusement. 
            But Ellyn’s magnum opus is “Jesus Does His Nails.” Christ is seated, with His crucifixion spikes still protruding.  He is dabbing nail polish on the head of the nail that has been driven through His left hand. 
            I emailed some questions and observations to Dana Ellyn, but she didn’t respond.  I understand, of course.  If anyone knows how time-consuming it is to conceive predictable, hackneyed, sophomoric puns, it’s me.  And I only have to type mine; she, on the other hand, has got to get one of those palette thingies, cover it with color puddles, put on a smock and beret, and then paint hers.  So, I’ll just include a few of those questions here:

(See update after the column.  Dana stated she emailed a response promising to answer my questions once she received my email.  Though I didn’t receive it before posting the article, I have no reason to disbelieve her. A more charitable and gracious characterization would have been, “Dana Ellyn has yet to respond to my questions.” – Ed.)

 
            1. The article states, “Artist Dana Ellyn says her ‘Blasphemy’ paintings are a tongue-in-cheek expression of her lack of belief in God and religion.”  Isn’t your artwork actually an expression of your hostility toward religion rather than your lack of religious belief?
            2. The date of Blasphemy Day was specifically chosen to commemorate a Danish newspaper’s publication in 2005 of cartoons that were unfavorable toward Islam and Muhammad.  Muslims around the world rioted.  Yet I notice that you, like virtually all atheist artists I have encountered, express your disdain for religion by blaspheming Jesus almost exclusively.  I’ve looked at all your paintings, but nothing in your work is aimed at Islam.  Why do you and so many of your anti-religion colleagues give Islam a “free pass” but roast Christ mercilessly?  You’re afraid of Muslim reprisals, of course, and that’s just good sense.  But clearly you’re holding yourself out as an iconoclast, and your bold iconoclastic principles evaporate before you cross the threshold of the Mosque.
            3. Artists want to be seen as edgy rebels who do provocative work.  Yet the cost for that kind of street cred is public outrage, and you all invariably protest when subjected to such backlash.  Conversely, without the public outrage and backlash, you’ll never be seen as an edgy rebel who does provocative work.  Aren’t you caught in a vicious cycle?
            Anyhoo, friends, I think I’ll pass on International Blasphemy Day and just spend September 30th loving the Lord Jesus instead.  I pray you’ll join me.  To be honest, I’m really not much of an art connoisseur.  The way I see it, art died with Bob Ross anyway.  But as far as Jesus is concerned, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”

 

UPDATE:  Dana Ellyn responds (sort of):

Thank you for your posting. I did receive your email yesterday with all of your questions. And I did respond with the following email 10 minutes after I received your note (I initially requested the interview mid-afternoon on September 27.  I received this response from Dana almost a full day after sending my initial inquiry to her. Newspaper columnists have deadlines, Ma’am.  I’ll amend the post to reflect accordingly, however.  – Ed.) :
_________
Dear Jim,
Thank you very much for your email. I can not tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to write – and for the thoughtful nature of your questions. I welcome the opportunity to answer every question you have posed. As of yet, I haven’t responded to any of the 100 or so comments that are posted to the original article on the Religion News Service site. So thank you for compiling all of the issues/questions that have been raised and giving me a forum to answer.

I will sit down tonight and/or tomorrow and respond. I just wanted to get back to you quickly to let you know that I will be responding since it will take me a bit of time to answer your questions thoroughly.

My best,
Dana Ellyn
__________

I spent several hours last night and this morning writing up very in depth answers to your questions – because I was so pleased at your willingness to discuss and have an open and honest dialogue. I am sorry to see that you already posted this article and didn’t wait for my response – nor did you acknowledge my honest intentions to respond. In fact, you say that I didn’t respond and go on with your continued assumptions and accusations claiming to know who I am and all that I stand for. (Again, at post time on Monday, I had waited what in journalism circles is considered a generous amount of time for a response.  When I didn’t receive one, I gave a truthful, accurate account of the situation as it stood.  You very well may have sent me a response “within 10 minutes,” but I didn’t receive it.  While I won’t apologize for the nature of the bid’ness, I do acknowledge that a more charitable and gracious characterization would have been, “Dana Ellyn has yet to respond to my questions.” – Ed.)

In brief, to treat this very serious topic of religion via a few short quotes from me and a handful of paintings I have created that are a very small subset of my entire body of work does not do either side of the conversation justice.  (I maintain that the “handful of paintings” I cited are thematically consistent with all your other works which address the same subject matter.  If you’ve done some other paintings which portray Jesus Christ in anything other than an insulting and, in my view, blasphemous manner, I’d love to see them.  Once I do, I will cheerfully withdraw my critical comments. – Ed.)

And as I responded to each and every one of your questions last night, I realized that if I was too brief it left much of my message up for too much potential misinterpretation.   (Hmmm.  Well, I encourage you to go ahead and send your responses to me anyway.  I won’t misinterpret them.  I have an Adderall prescription.  Logically speaking, it seems that the potential for misinterpretation is heighted, rather than mitigated, by withholding the clarifying responses you wrote.  I’m just sayin’… -Ed.)  To go to the necessary depth would mean me spending the majority of my time focusing on this topic and this topic alone. My atheist/agnostic views are not what define me or my art on the whole.  (Agreed, and I didn’t state otherwise.  The column, however, is devoted to your involvement in International Blasphemy Day, so naturally, my questions and my column will focus on that. – Ed.)

Now I see from your posting here that you are not as open to discussion as I had hoped from your email.  (Ahem.  Talk about “assumptions and accusations claiming to know who I am and all that I stand for”!   I’m as open as you please, but do as you see fit.  – Ed.)

I do not ‘disdain’ religion (as you suggested in your email question). (Uh, come on, Dana.  I mean, seriously.  That’s an almost laughably disingenuous statement.  -Ed.) I think religion has played a vital role in the course of human history. I do not practice any religion or believe in any god and I don’t have anything against those who do. To each his own. I would never tell someone “you are wrong to believe in god” or “you should not believe in god” or “you should stop believing in god”. But those questions are always directed to me in the reverse. (Always?  By whom?  – Ed.)  I do have the right to say “I disagree with you” and you can tell me the same in return.  (You certainly do, Dana.  Every right.  Nothing I have written to you or about this matter conflicts with that.  But the original concern remains unanswered by you:   My perception is that you, like the overwhelming majority of atheist artists, musicians, commentators, and writers I encounter, focus inordinately on mocking Christ, yet seemingly leave Islam and Muhammad alone for the most part.  I again encourage you to email the responses you wrote and set me straight.  – Ed.)

I wish you all well.
My best,
Dana

“A Grieving Father’s Plea For Our Troops” By John Bernard

Last week, I told you about the tragic combat death in Afghanistan of  Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard, and the abuse this remarkable Marine’s family has endured. Over the Bernard family’s pleas and objections, the Associated Press distributed a gory battlefield photo depicting Joshua, mortally wounded, just after a Taliban RPG had blown his leg off. Joshua’s father is John Bernard, 1st Sgt. USMC (ret.), and I’ve asked him to share from his heart. He wrote the following thoughts on Sunday, upon returning from the service that awarded his son’s posthumous Purple Heart medal. Please read and carefully consider what he has written. — Jim Bennett, The B.H.   

JBernardThe last few weeks since our son’s death have found me embroiled in a battle for the soul of the country and the lives of our Warriors. Both are inextricably linked because both are in the hands of some of the most immoral men and women in our history. I can say this with certainty because no one with a functional conscience would place a fellow American in a place where they knew they would be attacked, only to deny them the tools – or opportunity — to defend themselves.  Sadly, this is exactly what has happened, and both the political machine and the majority of the population seem to be unconcerned.I am alluding to the current Rules of Engagement (ROE) that have been in place since the end of June in Afghanistan. These rules govern the who, when and how our Warriors can engage in combat. The current rules force our Warriors to ‘break engagement’ with the enemy if there are civilians present; they also deny them the ability to prosecute a battle with the enemy if there is a possibility of civilians in the area; they further deny them the ability to chase the enemy or to seek to engage them if they cannot be absolutely sure there are no civilians in the area. The impetus for these rules is a philosophy fostered by the current administration. It essentially says that we, as Americans, are primarily to blame for the poor relations we are experiencing with the Muslim world community. Further, this philosophy insists that repairing those relations is paramount – even at the expense of the security of this nation and certainly the lives of our Warriors. I DO NOT SHARE THAT VIEW. Nothing should be more sacred to the elected officials of this country than the security of Americans. Anything less is sedition. We have a historical and biblical precedent for exporting violence to defend these shores. We are in violation of conscience and our many sworn oaths if we don’t.

The fruit of this philosophy and its ROE can be measured in body bags filled with the lifeless forms of our honorable Warriors, of whom my son was one. Another side ‘benefit’ of this philosophy is the forced integration of Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Police among the ranks of our Marines and Soldiers. There have already been two well documented ambushes in the past four weeks, in which it has been suggested that either/both ANA and Afghan Police have either initiated ambushes or informed Taliban forces of impending plans. In both cases Marines were killed.

This save-the-civilians-at-all-cost policy is short-sighted and self-destructive. The point is that we are there, according to this current administration, to safeguard the civilian population from the Taliban, but we can’t fire at the Taliban if there are civilians in the area. Predictably, Taliban forces have exploited this weakness in our strategy and they now choose to engage us exclusively from civilian population areas where, of course, we are forbidden from engaging them. We are forced to patrol these areas to keep out the Taliban, but we can’t kill them when we find them. We are regularly denied the air and artillery support we need to protect the civilian population (which, again, we can no longer protect because we can no longer chase and kill the enemy, get it?)  The result is Marines and Soldiers being forced into killing zones without so much as the ability to defend themselves.

Your elected officials are to blame for this. They are to blame because they are kneeling at the altar of the White House in obedience, either with blind, reckless disregard for the lives that are being lost needlessly, or because they remain willingly ignorant. Add to this that only 20 of the sitting members of Congress have ever worn a uniform and what you have is a political institution making moral decisions about things they are not invested in or, even worse, they are complicit in, for personal gain, in spite of the cost to our Warriors.

Our Warriors are the best in our society. They always have been. They do the unthinkable, under the worst possible conditions, for the worst possible political motivations, simply because they have sworn an oath to do so. In the end, they are four years behind their peers and often come back into society with physical disabilities directly attributable to their service. Even more often they suffer mental maladies from the horrors they have witnessed. Add to this that now they are being led into killing fields laid by the Afghan forces they are ordered to work with (and who have been given carte blanche by our own politicians).

It’s time to get off the couch and hold these people accountable. I don’t want any more parents to take the trip to Dover Air Force Base that my wife, daughter and I had to take four weeks ago to receive our Joshua’s remains.  May God have mercy on us all.  

 

%d bloggers like this: