In this Edition:
Nepal: Christians ‘On Top of the World’ Facing Persecution
Teacher Faces Suspension for Sharing Bible Verse
Administrator’s Note: (pertaining to article which follows)
Was Jesus Homosexual? Church Billboard Says It’s Time for Baby Jesus to ‘Come Out’
The Decline of Evangelical America
Kuwait Passes Law to Execute Those Who Slander Islam and the Prophet
Did You Know About the Surprising Views on Israel of Obama’s Likely Pick for Secretary of Defense?
Bill Ayers: The Left Must Utilize Its ‘Absolute Access’ to America’s Classrooms (VIDEO)
This Is Atheists’ Alternative Christmas ‘Holiday’ That Rejects ‘Supernatural Religious Beliefs’ (VIDEO)
Flashback: Anwar al-Awlaki Leading Muslim Prayers on Capitol Hill, 2002 (VIDEOS)
Nepal: Christians ‘On Top of the World’ Facing Persecution
By Gary Lane
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepal is known for being on top of the world. It’s also a country where Hinduism and Maoism struggle for dominance.
Christians face widespread persecution but God is on the move. Their numbers have grown from 29 people when the first church was planted in Nepal 60 years ago, to nearly 1 million today. Most of those coming to Christ in Nepal today are former Hindus.
One young woman named Sharada said she grew up in a Hindu family.
“Before I came to Christ my life was in darkness and I didn’t know God,” she said.
Sharada, however, faced persecution from her own family when she left Hinduism for Christianity.
“When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior the persecution started to come into my life,” she explained. “My mother asked me, ‘Do you love your religion more than your parents?’ I told her, I love both. She hated me for following Christ and she used to say bad words to me.”
Physical attacks soon followed. Sharada said her mother threatened to kill her with a sickle and blind her with a nail.
“My mother told me, ‘If you are blind you’ll stop going to church.’ She took the nail, pushed me to the ground and tried to stick the nail into my eyes. I moved and the nail hit my ear,” she said.
Sharada escaped to the jungle where she now lives with a friend.
Churches under Fire
Christians in Nepal not only come under attack from co-workers and family members, but churches are also under fire from Maoists and Hindu militants.
One case in point is a church CBN News visited in a remote region of southwestern Nepal. Pastor Damboo Bishoo Karma explained what happened when militant Hindus attacked members of his church.
“Non-believers came to our church and demanded that we join their festivals and worship idols,” Pastor Karma recalled. “We told them that we don’t worship like this.”
The Christians refused to help fund the Hindu festivals.
“When we didn’t pay the money they came and attacked us and took our livestock,” Karma said.
One church member named Mr. Choudary (NAME?) faced a raging mob outside his home.
“Two-hundred thirty villagers with sticks came here and took the two oxen that I kept,” he said.
Pastor Karma said the suffering of village Christians comes of no surprise to them.
“Matthew 5:12 says in my name you will be persecuted and you will be hated,” he said.
Nepali Christians are also disrespected in death. Hindus usually cremate a deceased loved one, but what happens to Christians when they die?
CBN News visited a cemetary in Kathmandu, the only one where Christians could bury their dead.
But no longer. Rarely are Christians given a place for burial. Religious extremists believe non-Hindu bodies desecrate the land.
Christians report militants often force them to dig up the buried remains of loved ones. One Christian woman reportedly kept her deceased husband’s decaying body in her home because she was prevented from burying him.
Another woman helped hide church members in her house. A rampaging mob attacked them for burying a deceased Christian on village property.
So what does the future hold for Nepali Christians? Pastor Karma said his church will stand firm.
“We want to keep the witness of God in this place and improve the church. Our main purpose is to influence all of the villagers,” he said.
And God is working in Mr. Choudary’s heart. He lost his oxen in attacks on his home.
“We are sons and daughters of God,” he said. “Whatever the villagers took from us belonged to Him. We should be satisfied with His Word.”
And what about Sharada? She and her aunt led Sharada’s cousin, Huma, to Christ.
Sharada explained, “I told her if you find God then you will know how wonderful He is and you will know God’s plan for your life.”
Now, Huma said she wants to share the good news.
“After I finish my education, I want to share Jesus with those who do not know Him. I will walk with Him and share the Gospel,” she said.
“Sharada says even though people offer many animals for sacrifice, they will not be forgiven,” she continued. “Only Christ’s blood can bring forgiveness of our sins. I now know death is not the end. God has brought me from darkness to light.”
Sharada and Huma are two young, Nepali women who have found eternal hope and vision at the top of the world.
Teacher Faces Suspension for Sharing Bible Verse
Dec 13, 2012
Anyone refusing to acknowledge we live in the time of the great apostasy, the great falling away and rise of false teachers and false doctrine as prophesied in Scripture would occur at the very last days is either completely ignorant, or they have their eyes so darkened by Satan and evil they only see perpetual darkness and the illusions Satan and this evil world paint in their blackened hearts and minds. What we have before us is a time of the greatest and widest spread blasphemy and spewing of false teachings by false teachers at any time in the history of Christianity. And this blindness, this ignorance, this blasphemy, this abomination, this immense apostasy grows in size by the minute as time quickly runs out for everything and all on this sad and confused earth.
Was Jesus Homosexual? Church Billboard Says It’s Time for Baby Jesus to
December 17, 2012
St. Matthews-in-the-City Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, uses extremely-controversial tactics in its advertisements. Every December, the house of worship posts a billboard — one that is so over-the-top and offensive that it attracts international attention. Last year, Jesus’ mother, Mary, was shown gazing at a positive pregnancy test. And now, the most recent ad takes edginess to a new level, as it questions Jesus’ sexuality and seeks to spark discussion.
The billboard depicts baby Jesus with a rainbow halo over his head and the words, “It’s Christmas. Time for Jesus to Come Out.” Clearly alluding to the Christian savior’s sexuality, the ad is intentionally controversial, while apparently seeking to incite a debate surrounding homosexuality.
Photo Credit: St. Matthews-in-the-City
“This year we invited discussion and debate on the sexual orientation of Jesus,” St. Matthew’s clergy Rev. Glynn Cardy and Rev. Clay Nelson said in a statement published on the church’s web site.
The ad has been placed outside of the house of worship, where it is certainly sparking conversation. While some Christians will surely be outraged by the message being conveyed, Nelson notes that some historians have attempted to deeply explore Jesus’ sexuality.
Rather than embracing the notion that the savior was definitively gay, the faith leader seemed to provide a conflicting statement when he noted that Jesus’ sexuality is of little importance.
“Maybe gay, maybe not. Does it matter?,” he said.
This statement is somewhat odd, especially after the preachers said that they were inviting discussion and debate on the matter.
Photo Credit: St. Matthews-in-the-City
As for New Zealand’s debate over same-sex unions, Cardy added that Christ’s teachings do not delve into the same-sex attraction debate, but that the savior “always supported the marginalized in society.”
But sparking a discussion over gay marriage and homosexuality isn’t the only reason St. Matthews-in-the-City Church is pushing the billboard’s controversial message. The church notes that last year’s image brought the church massive exposure on Facebook and over 30,000 visits to the church’s web site. Clearly, publicity for the church is a key motivating factor.
Photo Credit: St. Matthews-in-the-City
The church’s 2009 billboard was arguably more offensive, as it featured an image of Mary and Joseph in bed together. The caption under it read, ”Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow.”
The Decline of Evangelical America
A road in St. Louis, at dusk.
By JOHN S. DICKERSON
December 15, 2012
IT hasn’t been a good year for evangelicals. I should know. I’m one of them.
In 2012 we witnessed a collapse in American evangelicalism. The old religious right largely failed to affect the Republican primaries, much less the presidential election. Last month, Americans voted in favor of same-sex marriage in four states, while Florida voters rejected an amendment to restrict abortion.
Much has been said about conservative Christians and their need to retool politically. But that is a smaller story, riding on the back of a larger reality: Evangelicalism as we knew it in the 20th century is disintegrating.
In 2011 the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life polled church leaders from around the world. Evangelical ministers from the United States reported a greater loss of influence than church leaders from any other country — with some 82 percent indicating that their movement was losing ground.
I grew up hearing tales of my grandfather, a pastor, praying with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. My father, also a pastor, prayed with George W. Bush in 2000. I now minister to my own congregation, which has grown to about 500, a tenfold increase, in the last four years (by God’s favor and grace, I believe). But, like most young evangelical ministers, I am less concerned with politics than with the exodus of my generation from the church.
Studies from established evangelical polling organizations — LifeWay Research, an affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Barna Group — have found that a majority of young people raised as evangelicals are quitting church, and often the faith, entirely.
As a contemporary of this generation (I’m 30), I embarked three years ago on a project to document the health of evangelical Christianity in the United States. I did this research not only as an insider, but also as a former investigative journalist for an alt weekly.
I found that the structural supports of evangelicalism are quivering as a result of ground-shaking changes in American culture. Strategies that served evangelicals well just 15 years ago are now self- destructive. The more that evangelicals attempt to correct course, the more they splinter their movement. In coming years we will see the old evangelicalism whimper and wane.
First, evangelicals, while still perceived as a majority, have become a shrinking minority in the United States. In the 1980s heyday of the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, some estimates accounted evangelicals as a third or even close to half of the population, but research by the Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith recently found that Christians who call themselves evangelicals account for just 7 percent of Americans. (Other research has reported that some 25 percent of Americans belong to evangelical denominations, though they may not, in fact, consider themselves evangelicals.) Dr. Smith’s findings are derived from a three-year national study of evangelical identity and influence, financed by the Pew Research Center. They suggest that American evangelicals now number around 20 million, about the population of New York State. The global outlook is more optimistic, as evangelical congregations flourish in places like China, Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa.
But while America’s population grows by roughly two million a year, attendance across evangelical churches — from the Southern Baptists to Assembles of God and nondenominational churches — has gradually declined, according to surveys of more than 200,000 congregations by the American Church Research Project.
The movement also faces a donation crisis as older evangelicals, who give a disproportionately large share, age. Unless younger evangelicals radically increase their giving, the movement will be further strained.
Evangelicals have not adapted well to rapid shifts in the culture — including, notably, the move toward support for same-sex marriage. The result is that evangelicals are increasingly typecast as angry and repressed bigots. In 2007, the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, in a survey of 1,300 college professors, found that 3 percent held “unfavorable feelings” toward Jews, 22 percent toward Muslims and 53 percent toward evangelical Christians.
To be sure, college professors are not representative of the population, and, despite national trends of decline, evangelicals have many exceptional ministries. Most metropolitan areas in the United States have at least one thriving megachurch. In New York City, Redeemer Presbyterian and the Brooklyn Tabernacle pack multiple services every weekend. A handful of other churches, like North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., and Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., see more than 20,000 worshipers each weekend. Savvy ministers like the Rev. Craig Groeschel, founder of LifeChurch.tv, are using new technologies to deliver the “good news.”
The pulse of evangelicalism is also shifting, in many ways for the good, from American politics to aid for the global poor, as evidenced in books by the Rev. David Platt, the Rev. Max Lucado and the Rev. Timothy Keller. Evangelicals are still a sophisticated lot, with billions in assets, millions of adherents and a constellation of congregations, radio stations, universities and international aid groups. But all this machinery distracts from the historical vital signs of evangelicalism: to make converts and point to Jesus Christ. By those measures this former juggernaut is coasting, at best, if not stalled or in reverse.
How can evangelicalism right itself? I don’t believe it can — at least, not back to the politically muscular force it was as recently as 2004, when white evangelicals gave President George W. Bush his narrow re-election. Evangelicals can, however, use the economic, social and spiritual crises facing America to refashion themselves into a more sensitive, spiritual and humble movement.
We evangelicals must accept that our beliefs are now in conflict with the mainstream culture. We cannot change ancient doctrines to adapt to the currents of the day. But we can, and must, adapt the way we hold our beliefs — with grace and humility instead of superior hostility. The core evangelical belief is that love and forgiveness are freely available to all who trust in Jesus Christ. This is the “good news” from which the evangelical name originates (“euangelion” is a Greek word meaning “glad tidings” or “good news”). Instead of offering hope, many evangelicals have claimed the role of moral gatekeeper, judge and jury. If we continue in that posture, we will continue to invite opposition and obscure the “good news” we are called to proclaim.
I believe the cultural backlash against evangelical Christianity has less to do with our views — many observant Muslims and Jews, for example, also view homosexual sex as wrong, while Catholics have been at the vanguard of the movement to protect the lives of the unborn — and more to do with our posture. The Scripture calls us “aliens and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11), but American evangelicals have not acted with the humility and homesickness of aliens. The proper response to our sexualized and hedonistic culture is not to chastise, but to “conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
This does not mean we whitewash unpopular doctrines like the belief that we are all sinners but that we re-emphasize the free forgiveness available to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
Some evangelical leaders are embarrassed by our movement’s present paralysis. I am not. Weakness is a potent purifier. As Paul wrote, “I am content with weaknesses … for the sake of Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:10). For me, the deterioration and disarray of the movement is a source of hope: hope that churches will stop angling for human power and start proclaiming the power of Christ.
Simple faith in Christ’s sacrifice will march on, unchallenged by empires and eras. As the English writer G. K. Chesterton put it, “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”
John S. Dickerson is the senior pastor of Cornerstone Church and author of the forthcoming book “The Great Evangelical Recession: Six Factors That Will Crash the American Church … and How to Prepare.”
Kuwait Passes Law to Execute Those Who Slander Islam and the Prophet
December 14, 2012
On Thursday, TheBlaze brought you the story of Alber Saber, an Egyptian Christian sentenced to three years in prison for producing a video critical of organized religion. Since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster and with the rise of the hard-line Muslim Brotherhood regime, Egypt has steadily increased its crackdown on those who slander Islam.
Following suit is Kuwait, where members of parliament just this week approved a law issuing the death penalty for Muslims who curse or slander God, the Quran, all of the prophets, and in particular the Prophet Mohammed and his many wives.
Non-Muslims who engage in these verboten acts may not meet the gallows, but they will be remitted to prison for no less than 10 years, according to the bill.
The National Secular Society (NSS) reports that defendants who repent in court are meant to be spared suffering capital punishment but will still serve five years in prison, incur a fine of $36,000, or both. Repeat offenders, according to the bill, will not be given any lenience but handed down the harshest sentence.
“We do not want to execute people with opinions or thought because Islam respects these people… But we need this legislation because incidents of cursing God have increased. We need to deter them,” Kuwaiti MP Ali al-Deqbasi said.
According to NSS, in March authorities arrested a Shiite man for allegedly slandering the Prophet Mohammed among others in a message posted on Twitter. He is still be detained pending trial later this month.
Shiites in the country meanwhile, think the bill doesn’t go far enough and insisted that capital punishment be extended to those who also condemn 12 highly regarded Shiite imams. The only marginally less hardline Sunnis, however, dominate parliament and rejected the opposing sect’s demands.
Interestingly, one Shiite MP, Abdulhameed Dashti, opposes the bill on the grounds said the bill, claiming its provisions go against the teachings of Islam.
“Why are we trying to show Islam as a religion of death and blood when it is actually the opposite of that,” he asked.
NSS reports that the bill is expected to go into effect in one month’s time, after it goes through an official approval process.
None of the above, however, should come as a shock. Immediately following the anniversary of September 11, American embassies and diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya came under vicious attack. The alleged catalyst was a low-budget YouTube video critical of Islam.
While the amateur movie was of course not the real motivation, Islamists have used it to drive home a point: When one slanders Islam, particularly the Prophet Mohammed, there will be a steep price to pay. What’s more, those same Islamists called for the maker of the YouTube video to be prosecuted for inciting violence with his production.
Nothing is a coincidence. Upon investigating the real catalyst for the embassy-sieges, TheBlaze learned that the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) — a 56 (57 if one counts the Palestinians) Islamic member-country organization that sets the standard for the Muslim world — has enacted a ten year plan to ensure that Islamic slander laws are enforced on an international level. While this might sound far-fetched, and indeed it may never come to fruition, Islamists’ goals are very much out in the open.
Did You Know About the Surprising Views on Israel of Obama’s Likely Pick
for Secretary of Defense?
December 17, 2012
Israel’s supporters over the past few days have been voicing alarm at the prospect former Sen. Chuck Hagel is likely to be tapped by President Barack Obama as the nation’s next defense secretary.
That alarm is reaching fever pitch with prominent Democrats and Obama supporters now on the record expressing concern about the choice. This is due to Hagel’s past expressed hostility toward Israel’s supporters in Washington including his refusal as senator to sign onto pro-Israel and anti-terrorism statements.
Just last week, suggestions he does not support Israel were bolstered when the think tank Hagel chairs, the Atlantic Council, published an article headlined “Israel’s Apartheid Policy” equating Israel with South Africa’s historic racist policy.
The article’s author, Arnaud de Borchgrave, wrote: “Apartheid is what gradually emerged in the West Bank under Israeli occupation since Israel’s victory in the Six Day War almost half a century ago.”
Eli Lake at the Daily Beast spoke to “a senior pro-Israel advocate in Washington” who said: “The pro-Israel community will view the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel in an extremely negative light. His record is unique in its animus towards Israel.”
Christians United for Israel’s Executive Director David Brog tells TheBlaze he’s concerned about Hagel’s past decisions regarding Iran:
An ascendant and potentially nuclear Iran poses the greatest security threat to American interests in the world today. Yet during his time in the Senate, Senator Hagel consistently refused to support meaningful action against Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s terrorist Revolutionary Guard, and Iran’s chief puppet, Hezbollah. I’ve not yet heard a convincing explanation for such passivity towards this looming strategic threat. On this state of the record, I don’t think that Senator Hagel is the right person to lead the Department of Defense.
Eli Lake spoke to a prominent Jewish leader about Hagel’s hands-off Iran approach and writes:
Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC and the CEO and president of the Israel Project, told The Daily Beast, “While in the Senate, Hagel voted against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, refused to call on the E.U. to designate Hezbollah a terrorist group, and consistently voted against sanctions on Iran for their illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. It is a matter of fact that his record on these issues puts him well outside the mainstream Democratic and Republican consensus.”
In the past, Hagel has even garnered opposition from pro-Israel Democrats who have defended Obama’s Israel record. Ira Forman, who was in charge of the Obama reelection campaign’s outreach to Jewish voters, said in 2009—after Hagel was named co-chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board—that he would have opposed Hagel’s nomination for a more substantive position. (Forman declined to comment on Hagel’s possible nomination Thursday.)
According to Politico, when Hagel was considering running for president in 2007, the National Jewish Democratic Council said the he “has a lot of questions to answer about his commitment to Israel.”
The Jewish news site the Algemeiner spoke to another prominent Democrat and Obama supporter, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who is speaking out against the Hagel appointment:
“I believe it would be a terrible appointment…and so do apparently most of the Jewish leaders who have expressed themselves.” The Algemeiner writes:
“Such an appointment would give great comfort to the Arab world that would think that President Obama is seeking to put space between Israel and his administration,” Koch said, “I hope he doesn’t go forward with that appointment.”
Koch says that since his election, Obama has acted in support of Israel. “He has been stalwart since the election, nobody has stood up as well as he in support of Israel, I hope he continues with that,” he said. But the appointment of Hagel, he concluded, “would be a great mistake.”
Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein told Algemeiner in September when Hagel’s name first emerged as a possible defense secretary: “He is one of the most hostile critics of Israel that has ever been in the Senate.”
“There is only a handful of senators that have been openly hostile to Israel and Chuck Hagel is one of them,” Klein added.
Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Executive Director Matt Brooks told the Algemeiner that appointing Hagel would be “a slap in the face for every American who is concerned about the safety of Israel.” Earlier this month, the RJC provided a list of Hagel’s actions as senator it views as evidence of his hostility toward Israel:
• In August 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators who refused to write the EU asking them to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. • In October 2000, Hagel was one of only 4 Senators who refused to sign a Senate letter in support of Israel. • In November 2001, Hagel was one of only 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter urging President Bush not to meet with the late Yasir Arafat until his forces ended the violence against Israel. • In December 2005, Hagel was one of only 27 who refused to sign a letter to President Bush to pressure the Palestinian Authority to ban terrorist groups from participating in Palestinian legislative elections. • In June 2004, Hagel refused to sign a letter urging President Bush to highlight Iran’s nuclear program at the G-8 summit. • And here’s what the anti-Israel group, CAIR wrote in praise of Hagel: “Potential presidential candidates for 2008, like Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Joe Biden and Newt Gingrich, were falling all over themselves to express their support for Israel. The only exception to that rule was Senator Chuck Hagel…” [Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/28/06]
RJC also quoted a 2010 Commentary Magazine blog post detailing Hagel’s past acts that could be viewed as appeasing terrorists:
• In 2009, “Hagel signed a letter urging Obama to open direct negotiations with Hamas…” • In 2007 Hagel wanted to open direct, unconditional talks with Iran. (“It could create a historic new dynamic in US-Iran relations, in part forcing the Iranians to react to the possibility of better relations with the West.”) In 2007 he voted against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization.” • In 2008, Hagel single-handedly killed an Iran sanctions bill in the waning days of the congressional session. (The bill in question was actually sponsored by then-Senator Obama!)
On Friday, Josh Gerstein at Politico posted audio from an interview Hagel gave Aaron David Miller for his book “The Much Too Promised Land” in which Hagel skewered what he called the “Jewish lobby.” Gerstein writes:
“The political reality is … that the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here,” Hagel told former Mideast peace negotiator Aaron David Miller in a 2006 interview. “I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel.”
Hagel also said he didn’t think he had ever signed one of the letters the American Israel Public Affairs Committee regularly circulates to demonstrate support for Israel or tough stands against its enemies such as Iran. “I didn’t sign the letter because it was a stupid letter,” he said in the interview with Miller, referring to one such missive.
Hagel has also been blunt in dismissing those who think he’s not sufficiently supportive of Israel.
“I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator,” the Nebraska Republican told Miller for his book “The Much Too Promised Land,” released in 2008.
“I support Israel, but my first interest is I take an oath of office to the Constitution of the United States, not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel. If I go run for Senate in Israel, I’ll do that,” the senator said.
Both Hagel and a White House spokesman declined to comment to Politico about the criticism against him.
The most vocal critic of the so-called “Israel Lobby” is cheering for Hagel’s appointment, which is only bolstering the pro-Israel opposition to Hagel. In an article he posted Friday titled, “Top Five Reasons Obama Should Pick Chuck Hagel for SecDef,” the author of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” Stephen M. Walt provides Hagel’s policy on Israel as his reason number five:
5: He’s got the right enemies. Hagel does have one political liability: Unlike almost all of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill, he hasn’t been a complete doormat for the Israel lobby.
Walt even suggests Obama’s choice of Hagel is aimed at sticking it to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over their reported strained relations:
And what better way for Obama to pay back Benjamin Netanyahu for all the “cooperation” Obama received from him during the first term, as well as Bibi’s transparent attempt to tip the scale for Romney last fall?
Richard Baehr in Israel Hayom on Sunday explains how this debate relates to concrete issues Hagel would have to tackle as Defense Secretary:
Given U.S-Israeli cooperation on the Iron Dome and the critical months ahead for making decisions both in Israel and the United States on what to do to stop Iran’s nuclear program, Hagel is certainly not what supporters of Israel would be looking for to run the Defense Department.
Despite the chorus rising against him, in Politico’s assessment, “Few believe Hagel’s troubles would lead the Senate to vote him down.”
This article has been updated to include quote from Christians United for Israel.
Bill Ayers: The Left Must Utilize Its ‘Absolute Access’ to America’s
December 21, 2012
Bill Ayers (Photo Credit: AP)
Bill Ayers, former domestic terrorist-turned university professor, reemerged earlier this month to explain how the Left’s access to schools and neighborhoods will help them shape the future of America. Speaking at a New York University “Change the Stakes” meeting on Dec. 4, he said the Left must utilize the existing “movements on the ground.”
In the video, obtained by EAGnews.org, Ayers also first blasts conservatives for portraying President Barack Obama as a “secret Muslim” and a “secret sociopath,” running around with “terrorists and Arabs.” He lamented the fact that many liberals felt like Obama was “winking” at them while he portrayed himself as a compromising moderate – but Obama ended up disappointing the far left, according to Ayers.
“The same people, and I’m sure some of us in this room, are saying, ‘But the second term he’ll be free,’” he said. “Forget about it. That’s not where change comes from.”
“If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to; the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon,” Ayers added. “We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm.”
“Why are we ignoring that and saying, ‘I hope Obama makes peace’?” he asked. “Forget about it. He’s not going to do anything if you don’t do something.”
“So, our job is movement building, [Obama's] job is governance and sitting in a chair of empire.”
Ayers first found fame for his involvement in plots to set off explosives at the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a police station, two Army recruiting stations and a New York judge’s home while his family slept inside. He is the main founder and leader of the now-defunct radical group, The Weather Underground.
As TheBlaze’s Tiffany Gabbay previously reported: “He is also the man who happened to help launch an ambitious community organizer’s political career into the stratosphere right from his apartment on Chicago’s South Side.” His name was Barack Obama.
This Is Atheists’ Alternative Christmas ‘Holiday’ That Rejects
‘Supernatural Religious Beliefs’ (VIDEO)
December 22, 2012
When it comes to holiday celebrations, December is a busy time. Christians celebrate Christmas, Jews observe Hanukkah and many African descendants participate in Kwanzaa celebrations. While the month is already chock-full of cheer, it seems atheists have traditionally felt left out of the mix, so they’ve created “HumanLight,” their own holiday to commemorate secularism.
Generally celebrated on or around Dec. 23, HumanLight is meant to tout human potential and “peace.” Contrary to other holidays, this secular observance was founded as an alternative to “supernatural religious beliefs,” as non-believers search for a way that they, too, can take part in the winter holiday season. An official web site setup to describe the endeavor reads:
HumanLight illuminates Humanism’s positive secular vision. In Western societies, late December is a season of good cheer and a time for gatherings of friends and families. During the winter holiday season, where the word “holiday” has taken on a more secular meaning, many events are observed. This tradition of celebrations, however, is grounded in supernatural religious beliefs that many people in modern society cannot accept. HumanLight presents an alternative reason to celebrate: a Humanist’s vision of a good future. It is a future in which all people can identify with each other, behave with the highest moral standards, and work together toward a happy, just and peaceful world.
The following video explains HumanLight in full:
While the non-theist celebration may seem odd to those hearing about it for the first time, Religion News Service (RNS) reports that it has been around for just over a decade and is gaining traction among non-believers in some areas of the country:
This year, at least 18 groups, from New Jersey to Florida and Pennsylvania to Colorado, have ceremonies planned. And at least one government building that displays holiday scenes has added HumanLight to the roster: the county courthouse in Wabash, Ind., displays a yellow, white and red HumanLight banner on the same lawn as the Christian creche.
The holiday, which was born in the late 1990s, developed after members of the New Jersey Humanist Network began asking themselves how they, as non-believers, could commemorate the holiday season. Eventually, HumanLight became the answer everyone was apparently searching for.
In an interview with RNS, Patrick Colucci, a non-theist who helped create HumanLight, explained that, rather than focusing upon a deity, HumanLight celebrates humanity and the ability for everyone to come together to build “a more just, more peaceful and a better quality of life for all.”
“The December holiday period is always a discussion for those of us who are nontheistic,” Colucci told RNS News. “What are we going to do if our families want us to go to church? Should we celebrate Christmas even though we don’t want to? The question came up: How come there is no holiday for the nonreligious?”
While HumanLight will certainly be new to many, it is in its 12th year of observance. Some atheists began celebrating back in 2001. It was at that time that a communal meal was held. Today, just a little over a decade after the atheist holiday commenced, new practices are included, as those who celebrate it light three candles to represent reason, compassion and hope. A fourth candle, as RNS notes, represents HumanLight itself.
Photo Credit: HumanLight.org
Despite originating in New Jersey, other non-theist groups have adopted the holiday across America. Some hold book exchanges and charity endeavors, while others provide entertainment for children. Taking a direct page from Christmas, some celebrants even create HumanLight cards, holiday carols and ornaments.
But while some non-believers are hankering for their own reason to celebrate the season, not all atheists, agnostics and humanists are on board. In fact, Tom Flynn, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, believes that these non-theists should simply shun all December holidays.
“Nonreligious people make themselves disappear when they cling to a ‘me too’ holiday so as not to be seen with nothing special to do towards the end of December,” he said. “We’d further increase our visibility by ignoring the holiday and pressing our employers to leave the office open on December 25.”
For more about HumanLight, be sure to read RNS’s profile on the atheist holiday.
Flashback: Anwar al-Awlaki Leading Muslim Prayers on Capitol Hill, 2002
In 2002, PBS produced a documentary on the life of Muhammad, Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. I wrote in a National Review article at the time that the documentary presented an “attractively packaged, sanitized version of Islam.” It features Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong; Daisy Khan, the deeply deceitful “moderate” who shot to national prominence in the Ground Zero mosque controversy, and others of that ilk.
But now Jihad Watch reader Carolynn has alerted me to the fact that it is also noteworthy for capturing the slain jihad terror mastermind Anwar al-Awlaki, who was in contact with Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihad mass murderer; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas underwear jihadist; and others, leading Muslim prayers on Capitol Hill. Screenshots above show the minute mark where you can see him in the video.
Of course, the New York Times hailed al-Awlaki on October 19, 2001 as one of “a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West,” and so he was widely reputed to be a “moderate” at the time, but that’s just the point. One of the supposed “gotcha” quotes that Leftists and Islamic supremacists like to use against me is one in which I said that there is “no distinction in the American Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists.” This video, however, shows that to be absolutely true: no one was getting up and walking out on al-Awlaki, or saying he shouldn’t be preaching or leading the prayers. Many argue that al-Awlaki really was “moderate” then and became “radicalized” later, but even then, there is no record of his former friends and associates repudiating his new “radical” views.
What we do not see is Muslims in the U.S. pronouncing takfir on those who believe in the Islam of al-Awlaki — that is, declaring them non-Muslim and excluding them from Muslim communities. The reality is that one who holds to the idea that jihad (violent and non-violent) must be waged against Americans in order to impose Sharia upon them is not put out of American mosques, and those who by their actions earn the media title of “extremist” move freely among Muslims in the U.S. until they commit their act of “extremism.”
More evidence comes from the same PBS documentary. For also present for al-Awlaki’s sermon was Hamas-linked CAIR’s Nihad Awad, and I believe that the gentleman to Awad’s left is his henchman Ibrahim “Honest Ibe” Hooper:
Awad and Hooper, of course, are routinely cited in the mainstream media as if they were “civil rights leaders.” And also present was another man who had been an employee of Hamas-linked CAIR: Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, who is now serving a 20-year sentence for jihad terror plotting. In this screenshot he is on the right:
So if there is a distinction in the Muslim community between peaceful Muslims and jihadists, it certainly wasn’t evident at this Capitol Hill prayer meeting, where a jihad mass murder mastermind preached the khutba for a group containing a jihad terror plotter, two leading “moderate” Muslim spokesmen, and a congressman’s chief of staff.
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