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Shocking things have become such a daily occurrence under the Obama regime that I gave up blogging a few months ago.  There was no way to cover all the outrages — or even to pick what to cover from the overwhelming barrage.

This morning, however, something came along that hits so close to home, I am inspired to write.  The horror of ObamaCare has now gotten all too personal.  Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, has chosen, as her first victim in the coming war on insurance companies, my own insurer, the company that has covered — and graciously served — my family for the past 19 years.

The Washington Times, via WeaselZippers, has the story:

The Obama administration on Monday called on a Mennonite-owned health insurance company to cancel its proposed 11.6 percent rate hike, marking the first time the government has tried to pressure a private company under the new health care law.

For those of you who may not know, Mennonites are a Christian denomination that emphasizes non-violence, much as the Quakers do, and mutual assistance, much as Jewish groups have historically been known for.  Mennonites originated in Switzerland in the 16th century, were persecuted by both Catholics and Lutherans, and now include members in many countries all over the world.  Mennonite congregations and lifestyles range over a broad spectrum, with the Amish being the most traditional.

While Pennsylvania-based Everence Insurance said it needs to raise rates on about 5,000 customers to cover costs, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius called the increase “unreasonable,” holding it up as evidence that the government has an important role to play in reining in the cost of coverage.

I won’t go into private family stories here, but suffice it to say that during some very difficult times, Everence (formerly Mennonite Mutual Aid) was there for us in a way I simply cannot imagine any other insurance company doing.  Not only have Everence employees been like angels to my family, they get high marks from all our healthcare providers, too.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve received spontaneous, out-of-the-blue remarks from healthcare professionals about how extraordinarily nice our insurer is to deal with.

In part, this is because Everence/MMA is a very small company, i.e., no huge, intimidating, cumbersome bureaucracy.  But perhaps more importantly, it’s because they are Christians, who take their mission seriously.  As an Everence case manager once told me, “We don’t see ourselves as an insurance company.  Look at our name: Mennonite Mutual Aid.  Christians helping Christians.  That’s what we try to be. We are a Christian mutual aid society, not an insurance company.”

Although I am a Catholic now, the rest of my family still attends a Mennonite church, and we have stayed with our Mennonite insurer.  You could look all over America, and I am convinced you would not find a more ethical and caring insurer than this small Mennonite association, which raises rates only with reluctance, and by no more than what’s needed for financial survival.  There is thus a particularly galling irony in the fact that of all the insurers in America, Kathleen Sebelius and her minions would pick this one to attack first.

But then again, perhaps it makes perfect sense in a perverse way.  We know that bullies are cowards at heart, so they usually go after the little guys.  And they often target Christians, whom they know hold themselves to a higher standard of behavior than that of the bullies.  Some readers might find additional irony in the fact that this leftist Administration is targeting a denomination whose most famous trademark is its strict pacifism.  You’d think the anti-war liberals would give them a break, wouldn’t you?  But some of us have been saying for a long time that, contrary to popular stereotypes, the Left is not and never has been nonviolent.

I am happy to note that the Mennonites, pacifists though they be, are resisting Sebelius’ efforts to intimidate them.

With the first plan to be ruled unreasonable by the administration, Everence indicated it would not back away from the rate hike, although the Mennonite-affiliated company will be required to publicly justify it on the website healthcare.gov.

The fact that Obama, Sebelius & Co. are going on big-time offense against such a small fish — and a virtuous, Christian one, at that — is just one more bit of evidence that these people really are doing the devil’s work.  But it may be taking them by surprise to come up against something of which they seem to have no concept: the unearthly strength and courage that Christ the King gives His humble followers, who bow to no one but Him.

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Better keep stockpiling those incandescent light bulbs, folks, because yesterday Congress voted not to overturn the phase-out of conventional incandescent light bulbs that begins less than six months from now.

Libertarian types have long opposed the virtual ban for lofty-sounding (although perfectly correct) reasons — government overreach, violation of free-market principles, blatant flouting of the Constitution — but I confess that my own visceral revulsion at the light-bulb mandate comes from more practical, down-to-earth considerations.

First, fluorescent light gives some people migraine headaches, it torments those of us with visual and/or auditory hypersensitivity, and it aggravates ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. (Could that be one reason ADHD rates have gone through the roof the last few decades, as schools have phased out incandescent lights as well as good old-fashioned windows?)

Secondly, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) contain mercury. Have you read the EPA’s official guide on handling CFLs? Heaven help you if you ever break one of the darn things. The first thing you have to do is turn off the air-conditioner or heater (any forced-air system) and open all the windows, so that the mercury vapor released when the bulb broke can be aired out of the house. The guide hasn’t yet been updated to reflect the latest findings that some of the mercury may remain in your house for up to 128 days.

All the materials you use to do the cleanup have to be put into a sealed glass or plastic container and taken to the nearest Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Disposal Center. If you live in a rural area, as I do, and that center is a long way away, you’ll just have to set aside the container of hazardous stuff in a safe place until your next trip to the big city. But you’d better call ahead; some HHW centers are only open one day a week, or month. (How many whipped American citizens does it take to change a broken light bulb? Three. One to open all the windows, one to keep the children out of the room, and one to call the HazMat team.)

Even bulbs that don’t get broken require special disposal procedures. Ideally, they should be recycled — either at a HHW disposal center, or at certain commercial establishments such as Ace, Lowe’s, Home Depot and IKEA. The EPA has a handy-dandy guide for that, too.  Unfortunately, according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers, only about 2% of CFLs are being disposed of properly. The other 98% end up in landfills. Is anyone surprised?

And what is all of this folderol and rigmarole for, anyway — to save energy? When you factor in all the costs — manufacture and disposal — of these confounded bulbs, I’m not so sure that they save energy at all. But assuming they do save a little, why have they become such a sacred cow for the Left? Because of “global warming” (AGW)? Are you kidding me? It’s as if ClimateGate never happened. The veil has been lifted on what is probably the greatest scientific fraud ever perpetrated — but our government leaders continue to walk around with a blanket over their heads.

Unfortunately, they have little incentive to come out from under it. Al Gore with his billions he’s made in the global warming con game is only the tip of the iceberg. Vast multitudes of EPA and DOE bureaucrats, along with the scientists to whom they dole out grants (i.e., our tax dollars), make their living off of the “climate change” scam.

Molly Ivins was a diehard leftist, but I’ve always thought she got one thing right. She said that no matter how solid your facts and how logical your argument, you will never get someone to see the plain truth if they have a vested interest in not seeing it.

I think of that bit of wisdom when I consider GE, the largest manufacturer of CFLs as well as the largest manufacturer of the turbines used for wind power. Given that its CEO, Jeff Immelt, is one of Obama’s closest advisors, don’t expect any light bulbs to go on over the heads of either Immelt or Obama — or their legions of lackeys.

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If you don’t know who Thad McCotter is, don’t worry; you will soon. The next GOP candidate debate is scheduled for August 11, and it’s safe to say that McCotter’s presence in the lineup will get a lot of folks’ attention. Let’s put it this way: he’s not only the tallest guy in the room, but the brainiest. Also, the wittiest — as anyone who’s seen any of his frequent appearances on FOX’s “RedEye” knows.

When I first heard the name Thaddeus McCotter several years ago, I pictured an older Southern gentleman, white-haired, with spectacles and an old-fashioned pocketwatch in his vest, complete with a fob… Colonel Sanders without the bowtie.  Whoa.  I was way off base. Turns out the five-term Michigan Congressman is lean and tall, relatively young, athletic (football and baseball), and the lead guitarist in a Congressional rock-n-roll band, the “Second Amendments.

Formerly the head of the Republican Policy Committee — the #4 GOP leadership position in the House — McCotter represents Michigan’s 11th district, which includes western and northwestern suburbs of Detroit. A Detroit native, McCotter is highly sensitive to the automotive industry which employs (or has employed) many of his constituents. This may explain several pro-union votes cast by McCotter that many GOP primary voters, myself included, may find troubling.

However, since there is no perfect candidate (“perfect” being defined as: “agrees with me 100% on every issue”), I have a one-free-pass policy: I give each candidate a “Get Out of Jail Free” card on one issue. I figure that’s as close to perfect as you’re ever going to get in an imperfect world — and in the particularly imperfect world of politics. And that’s just on the issues. The perfect candidate also needs to be someone who can win.

Let me tell you how close to perfect McCotter is. He has the sheer intellectual firepower of Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann’s passion for the Constitution, the even temperament of Tim Pawlenty, the moral compass of Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain’s can-do American spirit. All that, plus a great sense of humor.

On the issues, McCotter is pro-life, pro-Israel, anti-Obamacare; he advocates lower taxes, reduced spending, small government, a strong defense, energy independence and Paul Ryan’s budget plan. He believes in responsible stewardship of natural resources but doesn’t buy the global warming hoax. The most recent piece of legislation he’s introduced is H.R. 2261, a bill to cut off United States contributions to the United Nations if if the U.N. goes through with recognizing an independent Palestinian “state” as planned this fall.

Actually, most of the GOP candidates share those views. I don’t understand conservative pundits who complain about the lineup of Republican candidates. I happen to think we suffer from “an embarrassment of riches.” Our candidates — those who have announced and the potential ones waiting in the wings — are fabulous, in my opinion, both in their stands on the issues and in their personal skills and experience. If anything, the problem is one of choosing between many excellent and virtuous people.

So what makes McCotter stand out? At least two very major things. First, he has a profound vision of the Big Picture — and, crucially, the ability to articulate it — that is reminiscent of G.K. Chesterton. Second, he has thought through, and deeply cares about, some hugely important issues that I don’t see anyone else in the GOP addressing:

1.  the very real challenges posed by globalization (jobs go to where labor is cheapest, even if that means prison and slave labor);

2.  the fact that Communist China is really and truly Communist, can not be trusted, and indeed is taking hostile action against us politically, economically, technologically and militarily;

3.  the fact that both for economic and for military security, we need a manufacturing base in this country;

4.  the crucial importance of “intermediating institutions” to the social fabric — churches, parent-teacher organizations, Kiwanis clubs, softball leagues, Boy Scouts, small-town chambers of commerce, etc. — without which society is hollowed out, reduced to isolated and vulnerable individuals on one end and an intrusive, overreaching government on the other. It is these intermediating institutions that help keep families and communities strong, strong enough to neither desire nor create an opening for the “nanny state.”

This last point is what Catholic social teaching calls “subsidiarity” — the principle that “human affairs are best handled at the lowest possible level, closest to the affected persons.” In other words, if a need can be met by one’s family, then the school or community should not interfere. If the local community can meet the need, then the state or its agencies should stay the heck out of the picture.

Thad McCotter “gets” all this on a deep, instinctual level — and that’s another reason his thinking reminds me of G.K. Chesterton, who was probably the most able exponent in the English language of the concept of subsidiarity. Many of our conservative candidates are “pro-family” — but precious few (Santorum is the only other one I can think of) explicitly recognize the crucial principle of subsidiarity, without which the bones of a pro-family stance have no flesh.

McCotter asserts that too many of us on the right, losing sight of subsidiarity, have become almost as ideological as our enemies on the left. We have gotten suckered into the ideology of “creative destruction,” which is not true conservatism at all. Here’s how McCotter explains it in his book, Seize Freedom!: “Creative destruction” is

the ideology that led “conservatives” to falsely think materialist panaceas — notably the chimera of “free trade” — would solve all problems between peoples.  Enrapt by this deceit, the heralds of “creative destruction” (for everyone but themselves) placed a greater value on saving five dollars on an imported shirt from a sweatshop than on defending the inherent dignity of individuals; than on ensuring fair competition and jobs for American manufacturers and workers; than on securing the national security of the United States from predatory nations like Communist China; and, yes, than on preserving the moral foundations of American culture, which secures and sustains our free-market prosperity.

I like and trust Thad McCotter because he espouses the basic, common-sense truth that I first heard articulated by Mike Huckabee back in 2008: To be secure and to remain free, our country absolutely must be self-sufficient in three things — food, energy and defense. Did you know that we have been outsourcing various defense-systems components? Not to mention that we import many of the machine tools that we need for manufacturing the components that we do still make here. Unlike any of the other candidates, Thad McCotter prioritizes not just “jobs” in the abstract, but specifically the necessity for America to restore its manufacturing base, which he calls our “Arsenal of Democracy.”

As for the “food” leg of the three-legged food-energy-defense stool, you will notice that McCotter is the only Republican candidate who mentions farmers. (He even put that electric guitar of his to use playing at a Farm Aid concert.) McCotter believes that the information-and-services economy so beloved by the liberal elites is no stable economy at all. A healthy, secure America, he says, is a nation of factories, and (significantly to this heartlander) “a nation of farms.”

As an admirer of E.F. Schumacher, Wendell Berry, and G.K. Chesterton, I love it that McCotter believes these things to his marrow. But the scheming political activist in me that wants to win elections rejoices that McCotter’s combination of conservative social values, strong-national-defense advocacy, and blue-collar (both factory and farm) sympathies will appeal to precisely those same working-class voters who enabled Ronald Reagan to win the White House, introducing the term “Reagan Democrats” to the American political lexicon.

McCotter can win those people in the middle who voted for Obama in 2008 because they’d bought the lie that Obama was a “moderate” and a “uniter.” Those people, now disillusioned, are more than ready to vote for a Republican, provided that they feel that he or she understands their concerns. Most importantly, Thad McCotter will win them not by watering down conservatism, but by explaining it so well that he will persuade people of the logic and rightness of conservatism. Just as Reagan did.

Congressman Pat Tiberi of Ohio says that McCotter represents an important part of the Reagan coalition that the GOP is going to have to win again to be a successful national party. “When my dad voted for Ronald Reagan, it was the first Republican he ever voted for,” Tiberi says. “He was a Catholic, a union worker, an immigrant. We need to reach voters like that who share our values but identify with the Democrats for demographic reasons.” McCotter, he says, “clearly and confidently communicates what he believes” in a way that “speaks to them.”

All right, enough about Thad McCotter. Check him out for yourself. Here he is in Whitmore Lake, MI, announcing his candidacy at a July 4th weekend “Freedom Fest”:

As you can see,  Joshua Sharf got it right when he said, “McCotter takes his politics seriously, but not himself, a rare characteristic in a politician.”

McCotter has a solid worldview, not just a set of talking points; a philosophy, not just a personal promotion strategy.

His book, Seize Freedom!, is available from Amazon; many of his speeches and interviews are online at YouTube (I’ve added one of my favorite McCotter speeches to the “Great Speeches” page here at this blog); and the best profiles I’ve seen of the man are at American Spectator and the New York Daily News.

Check out his campaign website, McCotter 2012.

As for me, I’m counting down the days until the Iowa Straw Poll. McCotter’s going to rock it — in more ways than one.

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While the nation was busy obsessing over Anthony Weiner’s private parts, we missed what should have been by far the more important story: his wife, Huma Abedin. As deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and by many accounts, her closest aide — Huma Abedin is privy to many state secrets. This is disturbing because Abedin’s immediate family members are more than tangentially involved in the Islamist cause. Not just Muslim. Islamist. As in: militant Islam. The enemy. In plain English: Someone with close ties to our enemies has an extremely high-level position in our State Department. Hello? Anyone awake?

According to Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack writing at Pajamas Media, Huma Abedin’s mother, Saleha Abedin, who lives in Saudi Arabia, is a member of the Muslim Sisterhood (also known as the International Women’s Organization), the women’s arm of the radical, terrorist-spawning Muslim Brotherhood. In addition, Huma’s brother, Hassan Abedin, has worked to promote the Islamic agenda from his base at Oxford University.

Oxford, which has long been infiltrated by Islamists who founded the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), has Huma’s brother listed as a fellow and partner with a number of Muslim Brotherhood members on the Board — including al-Qaeda associate Omar Naseef and the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi. Both have been listed as OCIS trustees. Naseef continues to serve as Board chairman.

A report from 2007 identifies Naseef as the likely force behind the Abedin family’s abrupt departure from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, circa 1977 – the same year that the Muslim Sisterhood was established.

In 2009, Qaradawi’s role within Oxford and the Muslim Brotherhood was championed by the notorious Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi of Al-Nahda – a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate now active in Tunisia. OCIS has even presented an award for great scholarly achievement to Brotherhood member Shaykh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Gudda, whose personal history goes back to the Brotherhood’s founder, Hasan al-Banna.

Even the Sunday Times acknowledges that the cradle of Islamic jihad — Al-Azhar University — actively attempts to establish links with OCIS, where Huma’s brother serves.

Huma’s brother, Hassan, has also worked on projects with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose goal is “spreading Islam to the west.” Alwaleed bin Talal  is one of those Saudi princes who has credibility with many in America because of his personal connections, philanthropic donations, and investments (notably, he owns seven percent of NewsCorp, the parent of FOX News, making him the second-largest individual shareholder). But meanwhile, the prince gives huge financial support to radical Islamist groups masquerading as “moderate” — including the Cordoba Initiative (Ground Zero mosque), CAIR, and the Islamic Development Bank (promoting shariah-compliant finance, which inherently and by design promotes the spread of shariah).

Was Huma unaware of all this as she accompanied Hillary Clinton to the Dar El-Hekma women’s college in Saudi Arabia? Huma’s mother is co-founder and vice dean at the college and an active missionary on issues regarding Muslim women.

I got so confused while trying to make my way through the tangled web of connections that I had to make a diagram — somewhat simplified — to keep it all straight. (In case you’re wondering, the dotted line from Weiner to Hillary is there because of Hillary’s support — at least, until recently! — of Weiner’s political ambitions. Bill Clinton was even the officiator at Weiner’s and Abedin’s wedding.)

 

 

In 2008, Dr. Mumen Muhammad wrote about why Huma vowed to stay with Hillary even if the latter were to lose the presidential nomination to Obama:

Abedin assures in press releases of her continuance on the path with Hillary Clinton, even if Clinton failed as a candidate. The candidate’s aides and other influential figures in the Democratic Party assure that they do not disregard Abedin running for election or taking her position in the political arena with the help in successive political administrations of the Clinton family itself [emphasis added].

Hillary Clinton signed a document less than one month prior to her trip to Saudi Arabia with Huma that lifted the ban on Tariq Ramadan, allowing him entry into the United States. (Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna, and has ties to Islamic terrorist groups.) The Clinton family played a key role in promoting Fethullah Gülen, the extremely powerful Turkish imam and notorious Islamist conspirator, as he fled Turkey for the United States after attempting to overthrow Turkey’s secular government. (He was indicted on this charge in 2000.) In 2008, the former president heaped praise on Gülen, giving him a clean slate. Gülen has been given refuge and has even had sermons aired on Turkish television during which he explained to his followers how to best seize power from the Turkish government:

You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers… until the conditions are ripe….Until that time, any step taken would be too early — like breaking an egg without waiting the full forty days for it to hatch. [emphasis added].

Gülen expressed this sentiment in another sermon as well:

The philosophy of our service is that we open a house somewhere and, with the patience of a spider, we lay our web to wait for people to get caught in the web; and we teach those who do [emphasis added].

 Serving with Huma’s brother as an Oxford Centre trustee is Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s [current] president himself. [Gül, who poses as a moderate but has strong Islamist roots] considers himself a follower of Fethullah Gülen, according to Wikileaks.

Besides the Abedin family’s numerous Islamist connections, another thing that raises red flags is the lack of Muslim outrage over Huma’s marriage to a Jewish man. Given how well-known the Abedins are in the Islamic world (and in the Islamist world), how is it that Huma was able to marry a non-Muslim, which is absolutely prohibited in Muslim law? Even in the West, there have been “honor killings” of girls from Muslim families for dating a non-Muslim, much less marrying one. (Note: A non-Muslim woman is allowed to marry a Muslim man — because the man is dominant in Islam. However, the reverse — a Muslim woman, such as Huma Abedin, marrying a non-Muslim man, such as Anthony Weiner, is absolutely forbidden by shariah because such an arrangement puts a non-Muslim in a position of dominance over a Muslim — which, in Islam, is intolerable.)

Since the penalty for such apostasy is death, why has Huma not been the victim of an “honor killing”? Ex-Muslim Walid Shoebat offers two possible explanations. One is that Huma and her family are using taqiyya — the obligation of a devout Muslim to lie and dissemble when dealing with non-Muslims in order to advance the greater cause of Islam. That would mean that Huma has been given a “pass”  in service of the greater Islamist/Muslim Brotherhood goal:  to infiltrate the highest levels of our government.

A second possible explanation is that Anthony Weiner might have converted to Islam. This is not as unlikely as it sounds at first blush, especially given that Weiner was raised as a secular Jew. New York imam Omar Abu-Namous, a close associate of Ground Zero mosque imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, encouraged Huma, in the wake of the recent scandals, to stand by her husband — but such advice would not be expected from an imam if Huma were in fact married to a non-Muslim.

As corruptive of our culture — and fraught with the potential for political blackmail — as Anthony Weiner’s peccadilloes have been, they pale in comparison to the potential dangers created by his wife, Huma Abedin, being a top, trusted aide to the Secretary of State of the United States.  Can you say “Alger Hiss“?

Cross-posted at Unified Patriots and RedState

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Here is a chillingly prophetic piece dating from January 7, 2009. Think back, for a minute, to those days after Obama had been elected but before he’d been inaugurated… those days of “The Office of the President-Elect” and the cheap-imitation presidential seal… And then, only 25 days after this piece was written, Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize — after being in office less than two weeks. I never saw this article at the time. As I read it today, I got goosebumps — and not the good kind — as I compared what we know now with what people such as Henry Kissinger were thinking 29 months ago as they looked forward to the age of “hope and change”….

WASHINGTON, DC, January 7, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an interview with CNBC Monday, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that President-Elect Barack Obama’s most important, or defining task would be the creation of “a new world order.”

“The president-elect is coming into office at a moment when there is upheaval in many parts of the world simultaneously,” said Kissinger.

“Upheaval,” he says. Isn’t that cute? And that was before Greece went up in flames, Spain erupted in protests, Hezbollah dug in near Tijuana, Mexico descended into total chaos, North Korea sank a South Korean ship and attacked one of their islands, the Deepwater Horizon oil well blew out, China (or someone) test-fired a missile off the coast of Los Angeles, a Muslim U.S. Army doctor massacred soldiers at Ft. Hood, Iran started building missile bases in Venezuela, Iranian protesters got slaughtered in the streets, Syrian protesters got slaughtered in the streets, Libyan protesters got slaughtered in the streets, Bahraini protesters got slaughtered…. are we seeing a pattern here? Kissinger continues:

“You have India, Pakistan; you have the jihadist movement. So he [Obama] can’t really say there is one problem, that it’s the most important one. But he can give new impetus to American foreign policy partly because the reception of him is so extraordinary around the world. [Right, Henry. Especially from the queen of England. And the prime minister of Israel. And French president Sarkozy.]  I think his task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period when, really, a new world order can be created.”

“It’s a great opportunity, it isn’t just a crisis.”

Henry is sounding nearly word-for-word like Rahm Emanuel here. And Frances Fox Piven. And Saul Alinsky. Ah, yes, Kissinger the “community organizer” — who knew?

Some commentators have suggested that the highly escalated conflicts in the Middle East and the world financial crisis have made the time ripe for a long-anticipated and foreshadowed “New World Order” to come to fruition.  Celebrated Canadian author Michael O’Brien, who has written extensively on the ‘new world order,’ spoke with LifeSiteNews.com about Kissinger’s statement.

“Only in one sense is Kissinger’s analysis correct,” said O’Brien.  “The current world situation is presently one of a multitude of crises and at the same time a moment of opportunity.  However, positing a leap towards what he calls a ‘new world order’ is fraught with difficulties.

“What does the term mean? In all likelihood it can only mean an imposed top-down global social-political revolution.  In other words, solutions would then come from a reigning authority over all nations putting aside individual conscience and principles of national self-determination.”

O’Brien added: “A true and healthy order in the human community can only arise from an internal revolution of the moral order. It cannot be imposed without imposing greater ills.  In all likelihood, Kissinger and like-minded globalists, see the present world configuration as a creative disintegration which would usher in a new form of world government.  In such a situation, management by crisis overrides authentic exercise of human freedom and responsibility.”

Because the real agenda of the one-world control freaks revolves around global population control, pro-lifers are ahead of the game in recognizing the core dynamic of the globalists.

For pro-life advocates, the proposal of a ‘new world order’ has been linked to the anti-life principles promoted at the United Nations.  Pope Benedict, while still a Cardinal, expounded on this matter in the introduction to a book published in 1997.  Then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the preface to a book by Michel Schooyans, entitled “The Gospel: Confronting World Disorder.

…Ratzinger first denounces the “new world order” describing it as more or less a culmination of Marxism. He goes on to say that a Christian is “obliged to protest” against it.

Christian protest, if it is truly Christian, will have a different character than Leftist/secular protests — both in what we advocate, and in how we advocate it. In my opinion, the starting point for every citizen who is a Christian should be signing the Manhattan Declaration of Christian Conscience. As we stand for our principles in the political sphere, we need to remember that the root problem is spiritual in nature, and that is where the real war must be fought, both within ourselves as individuals, and within the culture: “an internal revolution of the moral order,” in Michael O’Brien’s wise words.

The world-government control freaks and their initiatives, from the United Nations to the Bilderberg Group, from Agenda 21 to the Millennium Goals, represent a mind-set that, far from being limited to the Kissingers of the world conferring in dark-paneled rooms, is right out in the open and pervades our public life. That mind-set is materialism —  the unspoken assumption that man is nothing more than an evolved combination of chemicals, therefore any individual life is worth little to nothing, and the great masses of human beings should be managed by their self-appointed “superiors.” If there is no soul, if all that exists is what we see with our eyes, why not have government-forced abortions in America, as Obama’s science czar, John Holdren, has advocated? If an individual life is worth nothing, why not impose social uniformity by “eliminating” 25 million Americans in “re-education camps,” as Obama’s friend Bill Ayers and his Weather Underground terror group once discussed?

It’s quite telling that Saul Alinsky, the father of “community organizing,” dedicated his book to Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan. You may recall that when Jesus was tempted in the desert, one of the temptations Satan proffered was global rule — worldly power — the only kind of power that an Alinsky, a Kissinger, or an Obama seems to recognize. But Jesus did not choose that kind of power. He chose — and enables every one of us to choose — the power of self-giving love. And that is the only power that can change the world for the better.

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What exactly is the nature of Islam?

Specifically:

  • Is Islam itself evil — or only certain interpretations of it?
  • Can Islam be reformed — or is that impossible by its very nature?
  • Should we encourage “moderate” Muslims — or is that just wasted effort?

Ever since 9/11, Americans have been asking themselves these questions.

Christians often ask an additional question:

  • Is it worthwhile, or even morally right, for the Church to “dialogue” with Muslims — or should all our effort be focused on converting them?

Personally, I’ve gone back and forth on these questions more times than Barack Obama’s head goes back and forth when he gives a speech. As a Christian, and particularly as a Catholic, I feel like I get mixed messages from Scripture, history, Church teaching, and reason. Christians from St. Thomas Aquinas to C.S. Lewis, and all the way back to St. Paul (see Romans 1:19-20; Acts 17:22-28), have explained that God reveals Himself even to those who have never heard the name of Jesus, and that glimmerings of truth exist within other religions. In the words of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II declaration on the relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions,

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. [emphasis mine]

Of Muslims (note: Muslim persons, not Islam itself) the document states:

The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth….

On the other hand, St. Paul said to “test the spirits” to discern whether they’re good or evil, and Jesus said we can judge a tree by its fruit.

Roy H. Schoeman, a Jewish Catholic, in his book Salvation Is from the Jews, has this to say about Islam:

[Satan] has one goal — to deprive man of salvation, of eternal happiness — and one of the ways to achieve that is through the propagation of false religion, the primary victims of which are its own adherents…. Of all the major religions of the world, only Islam arose after God’s full revelation of Himself to man in His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ…. Only Islam’s revelation came after Christ, aware of Christianity yet contradicting it. Hence one must ask what the source of the revelation was — was it of human or of supernatural origin? If of supernatural origin, did it come from God or from fallen spirits?… One must ask just what spiritual entity lies behind the revelation of Islam. [pp. 295-300]

And yet… I believe that beauty is one of God’s attributes, and I have personally seen and heard things within Islam that are stunningly beautiful — Sufi dancing (in which I have even participated), the poetry of Rumi, the goosebump-inducing sound of certain Muslim melodies.

On the other hand, when I tried to read the Qur’an for myself, I had to stop, because it so disgusted and outraged me that I could not continue. It’s as if someone tore all the pages out of the Bible, discarded 90% of them, put the remaining 10% through a shredder, cut and pasted the shreds together randomly, then tried to cover the ugliness of the pastiche by throwing a lot of overly flowery language over it. But that’s just my subjective opinion. If we want to stick to more objective criteria, we can look at the statistics on the cold, hard facts of life in Islamic countries, such as clitorectomy, polygamy, burqas, honor killings, forced child marriages, wife-beating, domestic imprisonment, acid attacks, gang rapes, and other cruelties toward Muslim women and girls.

So… Is Islam the direct work of the devil, and was Muhammad possessed by demons? Or, is Islam merely a very faulty instrument through which God in His omnipotence and mercy can nevertheless reach people — the way a cheap toy flute, with misspaced holes and flimsy keys, might still make music in the hands of a master?

Should Western Christians band together with virtuous atheists, such as the late Oriana Fallaci, to fight the anti-human cult of Islam? Or, should we join forces with Muslims of goodwill in order to combat what may be the even greater evil of secularism, what Pope Benedict XVI termed the “dictatorship of relativism”?

Can Islam be reformed and made compatible with the modern world of progress, liberty and individual rights? Or, is it inherently unreformable?

To stage a debate on that last question, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more qualified and articulate principals than the two men you’ll see in the video below.

For the affirmative, we have Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, who is, hands down, my favorite Muslim in public life. He’s earnest, likable, accomplished, patriotic, has integrity and goodwill, and is engagingly smart and articulate. A medical doctor and formerly an officer in the U.S. Navy, Jasser is founder and head of a group called the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), whose goal is genuine Islamic reformation. He has started programs to inculcate young Muslim Americans with the principles of our Founding Fathers, a love of liberty, and commitment to the Constitutional rule of law, and separation of mosque and state.

If you can’t watch the whole debate, try to at least watch from the 5:10 mark to the 10:20 mark, which is the first segment in which Dr. Jasser comments. If you’ve never seen Jasser interviewed or read his articles, you owe it to yourself to hear his views, for he is an entirely different breed from the duplicitous, seditious CAIR types who dominate the discussion of Islam in our media. I don’t agree with everything Jasser says, but I appreciate having his perspective; he makes me think. I believe he is completely sincere — which makes him a very brave man.

On the other side is Dr. Robert Spencer, head of Jihad Watch, co-founder of Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), and one of my longtime personal heroes — right up there with Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, all of whom face constant death threats because of their leadership in the fight to defend liberty and human rights against the creeping imposition of shariah all over the globe.

Moderating the discussion is Andrew McCarthy, author of Willful Blindness and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. McCarthy headed the legal team that prosecuted and convicted Sheikh Abdel Rahman, “the blind sheikh,” who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy knows more about Islam than 99% of Americans — but on the questions raised in my first paragraph, he freely admits he’s ambivalent. Introducing the debate topic, he says, “I’ve been having this argument with myself for about eighteen years!”

I’ll be honest. Although I, like McCarthy, am ambivalent, I mostly tend to think that, while countless individual Muslims are good people, Islam itself is an evil ideology, Muhammad was demonically possessed, and the Twelfth Imam in Iran is probably the Antichrist. There. I’ve said it.

But, if there is anyone who could make me doubt all that, it would be Zuhdi Jasser.

The debate took place on April 3 at a retreat sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Enjoy!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYK3uicC%5D

UPDATE: Walid Shoebat, former Muslim, has given a lot of thought to this issue, particularly to Dr. Jasser’s arguments, which Shoebat rebuts in his piece “The Problem With Reforming Islam.”

Cross-posted at Creative Tension

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From The Jawa Report:

Islampolicy, the website run by former members of Revolution Muslim, had this reaction to Osama bin Laden’s death. The image of Osama bin Laden you see is from a YouTube video they embedded. It is a nasheed (hymn) dedicated to bin Laden.

islampolicy_osama_bin_laden.jpg
A coblogger, Yusuf in New York, didn’t want to believe the news and had this to say:

But if it is true than May Allah accept him as a Martyr and may he be in the highest level of Jannah. Ameen

Yeah, but you don’t support al Qaeda.

Can we get SEAL Team Six to Queens? STAT!!

My sentiments exactly.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit

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