Beyond the Cusp

January 27, 2014

Netanyahu Releases Trial Balloon Immediately Shot Down by Palestinians

Back at the start to the year we commented about the reaction by Palestinian Authority President Abbas or other Palestinian spokespeople to almost reflexively announce a new Palestinian position as a “Red Line” countering any proposal which was floated by the Israelis in the article “Kerry’s Great Accomplishments and Future Peace Plans.” We got to witness this reflex when predictably Saeb Erekat, lead Palestinian negotiator in the current talks, came out within hours and proclaimed that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s idea that the Jewish settlers should be allowed to continue to reside in their homes under Palestinian rule after the establishing of the Palestinian state was absolutely a Palestinian “Red Line” and that no Jewish settlers would be permitted to live within the Palestinian state. Truth of the matter is that Prime Minister Netanyahu did not make such a statement though that was how it was reported by some news outlets. What the Israeli leader had stated in his address at the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland was that he would not evict any of the settlers and later commented that he saw no reason why the Palestinian state would have to be “mono-ethnic.” In an effort to be accurate, after the idea was made public by the media, a number of Israeli leaders came out denouncing the idea as absurd, unworkable and unacceptable. The most noteworthy Israelis reacting negatively to the idea were Economics Minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party and coalition member along with Deputy Defense Minister MK Danny Danon and Deputy Minister of Transportation, MK Tzipi Hotovely, both from the Prime Minister’s own Likud Party. Of course most people would realize the absurdity of leaving the Jewish residents in their present homes and allowing the area to be placed under Palestinian Authority rule would lead almost immediately to their deaths as there would be no IDF or other Israeli forces to protect them from ethnic violence. The truth of this was revealed on October 12, 2000, when two IDF reservists, Vadim Nurzhitz and Yossi Avrahami, got lost and ended up in Ramallah where initially the Palestinian Police took them into custody for their own safety. Soon afterwards a mob of angered Palestinians surrounded the police station demanding to be permitted to kill the Israeli soldiers. When the situation became life threatening the Palestinian police deserted their station and the mob literally tore the two reservists apart murdering them in a most horrific and barbarous manner. A similar fate would likely be the inevitable fate of any Israeli Jews left under Palestinian rule within the Palestinian state.

 

So, obviously Prime Minister Netanyahu could not have honestly had any intent to desert Israelis, settlers or otherwise, to the whims of the Palestinians which makes the entire series of events around this idea almost completely absurd. The only objective that could have potentially been gained from this was to make a concrete example of the automatic setting by the Palestinian leadership of a new “Red Line” countering any proposal or idea the Israelis make concerning the peace process. Even with this example, by the end of the week it will have been allocated to the memory hole and disappeared from any future discourse, so any gains which might have been accrued will be short lived. Perhaps this entire episode from the Israeli side was simply to have a demonstration for the benefit of United States Secretary of State Kerry and any others attending the Davos conference as to one of the main stumbling blocks which is making it near to impossible for any peace to be forthcoming from the current talks. The problem with that idea is anybody who has missed the point demonstrated in this event by now is probably not going to accrue any additional knowledge from these events as their minds are locked in the “Blame Israel” position.

 

Meanwhile, on other fronts the European Union Parliament has continued their assault against circumcision calling it dangerous and damaging to the child. The European Union recommended to member countries that they initiate and pass legislation to place limitations to under which circumstances and by whom a circumcision can be performed. Their plans would completely ban the ritual religious practice of circumcision as it is practiced by both Muslims and Jews. In Judaism the rite of circumcision is considered to be a vital part of the Covenant between the Jewish people and G0d and as such an essential cornerstone of the faith. This considered along with the attempts across Europe to ban Shechita, the procedure used to produce Kosher meats, is just one additional proof of the war being carried out against Jews and the practice of Judaism. Many of the Jewish practices also are applicable to the practice of Islam and Christianity thus the truth is that the European governances are actually declaring a war on historic religions while attempting through legal pressures and manipulation of education and societal standards to enforce a secular and atheistic socialist humanism as the religion of the new age. This quasi-faith substitutes the government for God by claiming that all things which are good and worthwhile come from government and that the government is the sole arbiter of good and evil. The main consequence thus far of this war against established religions aside from the worship of the bounty and goodness of the State has been a rekindling of anti-Semitism across much of Europe. This was recently made obvious in Rome where boxes containing pig’s heads were delivered to the Israeli Embassy, one of the main Synagogues and a Jewish Museum currently having a Holocaust memorial on display for Holocaust Remembrance day which is today, January 27, 2014. Included with the vile contents of these boxes were notes refuting the actual events of the Holocaust and defaming Anne Frank as a hoax and imaginary individual used by Jews in their ploys to control governments and financial institutions. That was just one of the most recent anti-Semitic events which have also caused the desecration of numerous Jewish cemeteries, Holocaust memorials, graffiti with Nazi references upon synagogues and Jewish schools and centers and, worst of all, attacks on people wearing Jewish garments such as a Yarmulke. As a consequence of such anti-Semitic events and attacks, many Jews are leaving Europe and heading to either Israel or the United States. It is unfortunate to have to state that those European Jews who are seeking protection and a healthier environment in the United States may very well find themselves under the same rising tide of anti-Semitism even there where, due to a cultural practice occurring in numerous cities called the “Knockout Game” or “Knock Out The Jew” or “Get the Jew”, Jews have become subjects for being struck in the head with the full force of the assailant intending to knock their Jewish victim out cold or, minimally, knock them to the ground. In some of these attacks once the Jew has been knocked to the ground they are set upon and kicked and punched severely injuring them and some cases have left the Jew dead in the street. It is seemingly the position of some, and hopefully a very small group, are of the belief that the Jews should not be permitted to live in their society or even their nation while also holding to the position that the Jews should be forced from Israel and all of the lands be given to the Palestinians. That begs the question, if Jews are to be denied their own nation in Israel and banned from every other nation on Earth, then where are we to live, and I do understand what the answer would be. Sometimes there are those in the world which are revolting in their hatreds and these people must be stood up against and refuted by good people before their hatreds lead to another disgraceful disaster for the human race.

 

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

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