Beyond the Cusp

December 25, 2012

May We Choose to Liberate the Holy Land for All Religions this Christmas

Today is Christmas and in the city of Jesus’s birth, Bethlehem again this year has even less Christians calling it home while the percentage of Muslims continues to creep closer to 100%. Bethlehem has no Jewish presence as it is completely under the control of the Palestinian Authority. This has been the case since the beginning of the Oslo Accords which spelled the death of Christian rights to a normal life with freedom of worship and free from fear of persecution. Twice a year the city of Bethlehem relaxes its Islamic stranglehold and allows Christians to return as it is during the two holidays, Christmas and Easter, provide the lifeblood for the economy of the shops, stores, restaurants, and inns which have very little business the rest of the year. During these Christian holy days the streets fill with merchants selling Christian themed trinkets and other wares which are displayed solely on these two holiday times. This is the sad truth about Bethlehem today where what used to be a majority Christian city with 80% Christian population has now seen the Christian population dwindle to about 15% and continues to drop every year.

From 1948 through 1966 Bethlehem was closed to Christians while it was under Jordanian rule. It was not until the Six Day War and Bethlehem being liberated by Israel that Christians were free to travel to Bethlehem, one of the holiest places for Christians. After the June liberation in 1967 Bethlehem’s Christians entered a golden age where they were free to live in safety and peace and practice their religion free of fears. During the Christian holidays Bethlehem teemed with Christians making the annual pilgrimage to celebrate in the city of Jesus’s birth. This all came to an abrupt end with the enactment of the Oslo accords which turned the rule and security responsibilities for Bethlehem over to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the PLO, under arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat. Since then the Christian presence and flavor of Bethlehem has been stifled and slowly the city has become an Islamic city where Christians are treated as second class humans and often are victims of persecutions, forced marriages, stores stolen or looted, and houses destroyed or stolen. Should this continue within a decade Bethlehem will become totally devoid of Christians and all references to Jesus or Christianity will have completely disappeared possibly never to return should the Palestinian Authority ever be granted total rule and ownership over Bethlehem.

If this news makes you feel as if there has been a great miscarriage of Justice, welcome to the world of the Jews who have witnessed their holy sites which are found in areas under Palestinian control and rule be destroyed repeatedly and requiring IDF security forces escort Jews to visit such sites stealing in and out under the darkness of night to avoid riots. Kever Rachel and Kever Yoseph (Tomb of Rachel and Tomb of Joseph) have been repeatedly burned to the ground with the holy objects smashed, and if made of valuable materials, stolen with Palestinian Arabs rioting and celebrating the defacement. This will soon become the fate of the Christian churches and other holy sites which will be within areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The propaganda which comes to the fore at this time of year and around Easter is always the same lies that it is the Jews who are destroying the Christian societies in Bethlehem and other Christian cities and towns. How this can be believed is beyond any logical thought as Jews are not permitted to enter Area A of the West Bank within which Bethlehem stands. Any Jew who would be caught in Bethlehem would suffer the same fate as <a href=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/969778.stm target=blank> two Israeli reservists who took a wrong turn and ended up in Ramallah and were gruesomely lynched in October of 2000.</a> There are numerous Christian members of the clergy or officers of churches who echo the condemnations of Israel and the Jews blaming them for the plight of the unfortunate Christians who find themselves under Palestinian rule or in Muslim majority towns such as Nazareth has become. The easiest way to find the truth is to simply search and find the population figures for Christians in a number of countries throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa. In every case where there existed a sizeable Christian population in 1950 you will find the Christian population has dramatically decreased over the years in an ever increasing speed with one exception, Israel. The Christian population of Israel within the Green Line has grown steadily over the entire period from 1950 to the present. The few examples within Israel where Christian populations have fallen, such as in Nazareth, you will find that the area has a definitive Muslim majority population and that the Jewish population has declined in similar numbers as have the Christians.

While the Christian numbers have grown within Israel, the Christian populations in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and most especially in Lebanon have fallen and fallen until their numbers are now a mere fraction. What has also escaped mention in the world press is that since the United States “liberated” Iraq its Christian population has begun to flee from increasing Muslim persecution. The Arab Winter (Spring) has also led to drops in the numbers of Christians in each country which has presumably been freed from the horrible rule of their several dictators. These dictators may have had their evils but they had protected the minorities under their rules as they were secular and not Islamist as are the governments being voted into office to replace them. The awakening of Islam throughout the Middle East and North Africa has had a devastating effect on Christians leading to the slow death of their populations. Likely the most devastated Christian population has been Lebanon where once there existed a majority Christian population. The ever increasing disappearance of the Lebanese Christian community began with the civil war which was instigated by Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists who fled to Lebanon after being routed and discharged from Jordan after the Black September coup which failed to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy. The disappearing Christian population in Lebanon has increased in speed since the takeover of Lebanon by Hezballah with their Syrian and Iranian influence.

This begs what is the future of Christians in the Middle East? If the Christians desire to continue to have any presence in the Middle East and to have access to their holy sites in and around Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and the rest of Biblical Israel, their only choice is to pray that Israelis retain all of the lands from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Only under the Jewish Israeli rule have the Christian holy sites been open year round to Christian visitors. Should the world force the existence of a Palestinian State which has control over any of the Christian and Jewish Holy Sites they will either be torn asunder or transformed into Mosques and be recognized by the United Nations as Muslim holy sites and they will be lost to the Christians and Jews. Already the Palestinian Authority has petitioned UNESCO to grant them sole possession and control over the Great Mosque in Bethlehem, the one Christians might have thought was the Church of the Nativity. The Palestinians have similar plans for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount, which they are also claiming is actually a mosque, the whole Temple Mount they are claiming as a Mosque. The same fate of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople is awaiting every holy site which the Palestinians and their allies can place claim upon and they are sure that there is nothing in this world that can prevent their eventual possession of all of Biblical Israel. The only saving grace for both the Jews and the Christians is the salvation and liberation of all of Biblical Israel under Israeli and Jewish control as only in this manner will all three religions be allowed to access their holy sites. That will actually include the Muslims as well as Christians and Jews while if these sites fall under Islam they will be lost forever.

Beyond the Cusp

November 8, 2012

Was This Really a Turning-Point Election?

Time will be the true test of whether or not the United States has turned the corner and fundamentally been transformed as President Obama had promised to do. If the United States has been successfully transformed, then we will likely not see another Republican President in the United States, at least not with a conservative agenda as it is currently understood to represent. Other ramifications of this transformation will be detectable as religious institutions will become less independent from government demands made through requirements to comply with legislation and regulation demands forcing them into actions and policies which currently are an anathema to them. The cusp of the leading wave will originate from the applications of the Affordable Health Care Act, initially with the required insurance coverage for such items and procedures as contraception drugs and abortions.

 

The first challenges of this argument are currently headed for the Federal Courts in lawsuits brought by Catholic with other religious institutions such as schools and hospitals. This argument probably will not reach finality without being reviewed at some point in the future by the United States Supreme Court. But even should the government be permitted this amount of influence over religious institutions such as schools, hospitals and other ancillary institutions; it will not be the final confrontation. It will prove to be only the first of ever increasing and deeper intrusions until religious freedoms as they are currently defined have been redefined favoring the power of government regulation over religious institution’s independence from government influences and intrusions.

 

The full extent of the effects and ramifications of the Affordable Care Act are going to be transformational in many ways and areas beyond what is currently the general understanding of the majority of the population. Should this law and all of its myriad of regulations and requirements be applied and installed into the mechanisms of the varied areas of the American society without any overt resistance or even outright rejection, then the first and largest step towards the transformation of the United States towards a socialist moderated form of capitalism and its inexorable transformation from an individualist society towards a more communal oriented society such as permeates modern day Europe will have been permitted their beachhead from which to attack our freedom and liberty. The real interesting question that must be asked is whether this is the final destination which the newest form of progressives are aiming towards or do they hope to go even further?

 

The answer to this question was hinted at during one of President Obama’s speeches during the campaign. While proclaiming the wonders and magnificence of the bailout of the automobile industry and his saving of General Motors and Chrysler, President Obama went one step further and stated his intention to take this example of cooperation and joint ventures between the government and industry to many other areas where he claimed government partnerships would result in many wondrous and beneficial results. The worrisome thing was the thunderous applause that exploded from those listening to this speech and their seeming embrace of this idea. One has to wonder if anybody who responded so favorably to this idea had any clue that what was being proposed was <a href=http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html target=blank>economic fascism</a> which was considered so favorable in the 1920s and early 1930s until it was abused leading to the greatest war in our planet’s history. This has to make one wonder if perhaps the transformation President Obama and his fellow travelers are seeking bears any resemblance to the economic fascist countries such as Francisco Franco’s Spain or Benito Mussolini’s Italy. As stated at the beginning of the article, time will tell.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 4, 2012

War on Women or War on Religion?

Depending upon which side one stands politically determines how one answers this question. The progressive liberals are claiming that we are fighting a war on women where religious fanatics wish to impose their morality upon the society and deny women of their right to make determinations about their own bodies. The conservative religious people claim that the government is attempting to force religion to compromise their moral standing and provide health coverage for actions which they believe to be abhorrent sins. Needless to say, these two world views have absolutely no middle ground where both sides make some compromises while retaining a core of their political world view. These are diametrically opposing views which society will need to decide which one will be adopted as the policy of the country. Unfortunately, or possibly fortunately, we will not be holding any direct election on this question to determine what result we will adopt. On the other hand, the coming national elections on November 6, 2012, will allow us to elect Representatives, one third of our Senators, and a President who will together decide this issue for the entire country. There is even the possibility that the Federal Government will drop this hot potato leaving it for the individual States to decide. In many ways, such a result might actually be the preferred manner to decide this issue as the country is very divided with the divisions being strangely regional. It could be postulated that the only way that we can satisfy the majority of Americans would be to find a method of making this decision as locally as is feasible. But, should Obama Care or some similar national health initiative remain a part of our Federal Government, then this question will be forced to be decided nationally making it vitally important in deciding the future path of the United States. So, how should we address this question and what should be our compass which points our way forward?

Since we have raised this question at the Federal level of our governance, it will likely fall upon the Federal Government to find the solution. This makes finding our guidance much easier. Since any decision which is made will absolutely infuriate one side or the other, we are almost guaranteed that the decision will be challenged and end up in the Federal Courts. Once it falls into the realm of the Federal court System, the decision turns on the Constitution and the Amendments. In this case, the applicable section is the First Amendment which covers anything relating to interactions between the Federal Government and religious institutions. So, let us first take a peek at the wording of the First Amendment and find the relevant sections. The First Amendment reads,

<I><B>“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” </B></I>

That makes the applicable language as, <I><B>“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”</B></I> This is a fine example of one of the greatest properties of the Constitution for the United States, it is written in plain language without resorting to Latin phrases or some forms or variations of legalese and states what it means in language everybody can pretty much understand. Where one can attain a College Degree in constitutional Law, such is not required to understand the main ideas and the intent of the writers who authored each section. So, let’s look at this and see what we can discern.

There are those who take the phrases pertaining to religion in the First Amendment and boil it down to the phrase “Separation of Church and State”. By simplifying everything to this phrase implies that the constitution forbids any interaction in either direction. The Government is denied the ability to establish any Church as the preferred or sole religion for all citizens as was often the case in Europe at the time of the founding of the United States. This idea also makes it plain that the government also is forbidden from outlawing any recognized religion, though it does leave blank how one determines exactly what rules define what differentiates religions from cults. Where we agree on what are the major religions, it has not always been that easy when it came to newer or the less recognized religions, which should be given validation and which were merely some form of cultic practice. There was a time in our history where it was debated whether or not Mormonism was an actual religion or merely a cult. If we were to examine intently every claim ever made for inclusion under the Government definitions for religious stature we would find that the actual definition is actually somewhat liquid. It would also show that as time passed we diluted the definition and requirements to be considered and be classified as a religion. This is not needed for this discussion but it does make for interesting postulations as to where we might be heading in defining religions in our future.

The simplification of the religion sections of the First Amendment to the phrase, “Separation of Church and State” also implies that religious institutions are forbidden from making inroads or even attempting to influence governance. The level of denial of religious influence on governance spans the scale from a complete and total denial of influence to a milder idea that religious institutions and figures may not use their religion or pulpit to force, coerce or influence the way people will vote. Simply stated, the agents of religion are forbidden from supporting candidates or political parties using the powers and influence of the church, the religion. So, we see that many people today who take this definition which was never used in any court documents or decision but actually stems from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 where Jefferson actually wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” Jefferson’s actual words have a more traditional and parallel meaning to the actual words of the First Amendment than what they have been used to imply in modernity. So, if the First Amendment does not actually forbid any interactions between the Federal Government or other governmental levels and Religious Institutions, then what does it mean?

Let’s take one last look at the actual phrases from the First Amendment. They state,<I><B> “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” </B></I>The active object in this phrase is the Congress. The passive or recipient object is Religion. So, it directs the Congress to refrain from establishing a State Religion while also forbidding the Congress from taking any steps which might curtail, limit, impinge, or in any way adversely influence anybody from performing actions or observances of a religious nature. That is the entirety and limit of the statements about the relations between our Federal Government and our Religious Institutions. The Constitution places no restraints upon religion or religious institutions from influencing politics or governance. Should a church or religious group determine that all members of their institution or religion be required to vote in a certain way, they are allowed to attempt to have that influence. The restrictions we currently place on our religious leaders that in order to retain their tax exemption they must refrain from making political endorsements or sermonizing as there is a wall of separation between Church and State is erroneous. No such restraint exists within the constitution and if it does exist within the tax codes, then it is unconstitutional and could and likely should be challenged. There is no insistence that we remove religion from the public sphere or that religion must avoid any and all actions within the political sphere. The Founding Fathers fully intended, as is proven in the vast majority of their writings, that G0d, Churches, and Religious Institutions should have as great an influence upon politics and the government as they possibly can. They actually feared that a day would come where we would not allow religion to have a paramount influence on our society or our governance as in such a place morality would suffer and the society would be without the guarantees of common decency which was a product of religious observance. Looking at much we see in our modern world we are witnessing the truth of their apprehensions. Perhaps those men in the silly powdered wigs were not the clowns so many wish to make them out to be. Perhaps, their insistence that G0d and religion should hold a prominent place in both our lives and in the public square might not have been as quaint and outdated as many would have us believe.

Beyond the Cusp

« Previous Page

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: