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“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, 20 April 2014

What's happening at the Bundy ranch?

There is a story unfolding in America that has gone largely unreported in the media outside Nevada, and yet it may become the violent flash point that sets a highly militarized Federal Agency against its citizens.

Ostensibly it’s about grazing rights on publicly owned land in Nevada.  Cattle rancher Cliven Bundy’s family has been grazing this land since the 1870’s. 

Enter the Federal Government in the form of ‘The Bureau of Land Management’ who have demand more than $1.0M in historical grazing fees going back over the last 20 years from Cliven Bundy.  To back up their claim they seize 400 head of 68 year old Bundy’s cattle.

Cliven Bundey refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Federal Agency, only that of the State of Nevada and Clark County.  In other words, he would obey the request of the local Sheriff, but not the demands of the Bureau of Land Management, so he resisted.

In a move that sounds unbelievable to those of us living outside of the USA, the Bureau of Land Management responded by send in their para-military SWAT team including armored vehicles and snipers to the Bundey Ranch.

Then something happened that could only take place in America.  The story of Cliven Bundy’s plight leaks out to friends and neighbors, and before you know it, there are hundreds armed citizens, many on horseback turning up to support Bundey in his dispute with the Bureau of Land Management.

An armed stand off ensues.

On April 12 the Federal Agency backs down and withdraws their paramilitary, for a season.

But there is another sub plot running through this story.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is the State representative for Nevada where Mr Bundey has his ranch.

Harry Reid’s son is representing a Chinese company looking to establish a $5 Billion solar panel plant right in Clark County, Nevada ostensibly where the Bundey’s cattle have been grazing for more than 100 years.

In an escalating war of words, Senator Harry Reid has now publicly described Bundey and his supporters “domestic terrorists”.  To understand just how chilling this is, his deliberate choice of words has been used to enable him to invoke the Patriot Act, which was passed shortly after 9/11 to defend the citizens of the USA from domestic terrorism, and which allows the Government to suspend certain ‘constitutional rights’ for those so designated.

It is likely that the only reason the April 12th armed standoff did not turn into another ‘Waco Texas’ with the deaths of all those who ‘opposed’ the Government Agency, is the recent ability to record all events on mobile phones, and to either stream live on the Internet, or post video footage on-line in almost real time.

That this scenario is being played out in the USA, or in any civilized nation is almost beyond belief.  Mark Steyn has recently opined on the American par-militarized bureaucracy, where the only agencies without an armed military presence are the military themselves.  Anyone it seems can enter Fort Hood and kill unarmed soldiers at will, while they are forced to take cover and dial 911 for armed police assistance. However, if you are a rancher involved in a grazing dispute, and snipers and armored vehicles from The Bureau of Land Management turn up, who do you call?

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Civil Society reduced to politicians talking amongst themselves.

Over the last fifty years, the intermediating institutions of Church, Family and Non Government Organisations have been all but absorbed into the modern socialist State called New Zealand.

Remember the Salvation Army?  They are still around of course, but in a diminished form.  We used to think of them as the practical arm of the Church and gave generously to their annual street appeal. 

Sixty years ago they ran homes for ‘unwed expectant mothers’.  These are not needed anymore as the State has effectively legalized abortion on demand.  For mothers who recoil from killing their unborn baby, the State now funds mother and child to live in poverty.  This policy has proved to be so popular that more than 20% of the nations children are being raised in these depressing circumstances.  As a result, adoptions have dropped from more than 2,000 in 1973 to just 77 in 2008.

Undeterred, the Salvation Army continues with its homeless shelters, bridge program for recovering alcoholics, problem gamblers, and services to those who are unemployed providing training and skills that will make them more employable, along with helping them prepare their CV, and how to present at an interview.

The big difference between the delivery of these services today, and those they delivered decades ago, is that now they are now delivered primarily with Government funding.

In other words, the once proud and independent Salvation Army has become little more than an operational arm of the State. When it comes to the delivery of social services to the community they are a quasi Government department.

Dependence upon government funding cannot help but have a chilling affect upon the Church’s ability to raise its voice in opposition to the actions of politicians or of Government when it comes to matters of public policy.  The Salvation Army do continue to speak up at least once a year in their ‘state of the Nation’ document, but it is usually just to complain that the socialist State is not doing enough redistribution of tax payer wealth to satisfy them.

Asking socialists politicians to do more taxing and spending is unlikely to be considered an opposing voice.

Similarly, former faith based NGO’s like Banardo’s that once wholly depended upon private donations are now almost entirely dependent upon State funding to deliver their social services.

I have written in a previous post, that we are moving to a ‘post family world’ where the State has assumed the role of parent and economic provider for most families in New Zealand with pre-cradle to the grave welfare.

The family that once stood as an independent mediating institution against the intrusion of the State on the lives of individuals has now been largely co-opted by the State. One of the biggest impacts of State involvement in the family has been the undermining of parental authority in the home.  Children are no longer economically dependent upon parents, and can easily look to the State to provide for them if life at home ‘gets too tough’.  I have seen the State pay for rebellious teens to leave home where loving parents have sought to provide reasonable and responsible boundaries for their child’s protection. 

The outcomes for these young people were tiresomely predictable.

We live in a society today where the family is marginalized, the Church is economically compromised or in cultural retreat, and the NGO’s are too dependent upon the State to speak out publically, except in support of Government policies.

The mediating institutions of Civil Society have been effectively eviscerated such that nothing really stands between the individual and the will of the State.

I was reminded again just how far our culture has been compromised by an article in Stuff yesterday where three Southland local Government Mayors have taken it upon themselves to lobby central Government to ban the sale of Psychoactive Substances, that is ‘legal highs’, from our cities and our communities.  These Mayors have seen first hand just how destructive these drugs are upon young people and have had a guts full.

No one in central Government listens to the concerns of families or the parents of these young people whose lives are being destroyed.

The Church remains silent.

The public square has been reduced to one branch of Government engaging with another branch of Government over social policy.  

Civil Society reduced to politicians talking amongst themselves. 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

1970’s clothing nostalgia - all the fashion you want when you want it.

Some of us were in our late teens in the early 1970’s.  This was the era when rock and roll was in its prime, Sergeant Pepper and psycodelia ruled the fashion world, and while Sears was a more ‘middle America’ department store, they did their best to capture the spirit of the age.

To enjoy their 1973 winter catalog, click here… be brave, there are some enlightening comments next to each photograph on every page.

Politicians and God

It feels a bit awkward these days when politicians talk about their religious beliefs.  It is a rare occurrence, and such is the prevalence of secularism, we have come to expect matters of faith and religion to be excluded from the public square.

David Cameron has broken with this modern tradition and declared that British Christians should be unashamedly 'evangelical', and spoke of the 'healing power' of faith in his own life.

In a declaration of his personal beliefs, he said he had experienced the “healing power” of religion and insisted that Christianity could transform the “spiritual, physical, and moral” state of Britain and even the world.

He also attacked those who demand a strict “neutrality” in public life on religious matters arguing that it would deprive Britain of a vital source of morality.

He even went so far as to declare that Britain was a ‘Christian nation’ while not excluding those of other faith traditions.

It would be easy to be cynical when reflecting upon his statements.  The Conservative party is languishing in the opinion polls, his Government has pushed ‘gay marriage’ through parliament despite Christian opposition, and he has remained silent over the appalling persecution of Christians in the Middle East. 

And yet…

Much of what he says is true.  If you remove the Christian faith from the public square, another ideology will fill the vacuum and take its place.  It will be less generous, less gracious and less accepting of dissenting voices.

And, Christ does have the power to heal the broken hearted, set the captives free and open the eyes of the blind.  In the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘exchange beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for sadness’.

God knows we have an abundance of ashes. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Kiwi jihadist killed in Yemen - Anniversary of Boston Bombings

Both the Herald and Stuff are reporting that a ‘New Zealander’ who was born in this country and who has next of kin and family here, was killed in Yemen by a US drone strike.  Apparently Prime Minister John Key has confirmed that he was being ‘watched by intelligence agencies’.  I’m presuming he means that he was being watched by means other than through the US Predator drone’s ‘sights’.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Boston Bomber)
I’m not sure how many ‘feet on the ground’ our intelligence forces have in Yemen, but we will take the PM’s word for the fact that he was being monitored, along with presumably all the other ‘Kiwis’ who are now operational in Yemen, Syria and all the other theaters of Islamic military engagement, as well as those who are presumably still here in New Zealand. 

For the record, we are advised that it was not another ‘New Zealander’ Mark Taylor, who is alleged to have links with al-Qaeda.  No doubt it will be fun for all the ‘Mark Taylors’ turning up for work tomorrow once their colleagues and employers read this report!

Importantly however The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Anwar Ghani who was approached for comment said he was not aware of the incident or who the man was.  Absolutely.  There are no Muslims hot for jihad to be seen anywhere near my Mosque!

Got that.

This week is the 12-month anniversary of those who were killed by the Boston Marathon bombings at the hands of Islamic jihadists. The death of this young Kiwi male fighting for Islam in Yemen is a timely reminder that we are breeding our own crop of jihadists right here in this country.

This was not a young man radicalized overseas and who subsequently immigrated to New Zealand, he found his lust for jihad while living and being educated right here in this country.  It is inconceivable that he was not part of the local Islamic community and a regular attendant at his local mosque.

It is inconceivable that members of the Islamic community here in New Zealand did not know of this young man’s desire to give violent expression to his ‘faith’, or of his travels to Yemen to join the war against the infidel.

Despite their protestations, it is highly improbable that the leaders of the Islamic community did not know of this man, and others like him who share his views, yet all we get from them are predictable denials.

The clock is ticking.

Sex slavery permitted under Islam

I am often critical of the mainstream media with its reluctance to portray Islam in anything but a highly sanitized ‘approved for Western consumption’ mulitculturally correct format.  Today the Herald has broken with tradition by reporting the abduction of 100 teenage school girls for the purposes of sex slavery, by the followers of Islam in Nigeria.

To be fair, the trafficking of girls and women as sex slaves is not unique to Islam, it is happening in Asia, and if we are to be honest, it exists in New Zealand as well.

What is unique to Islam however, is that it provides theological endorsement for both the capture and sexual abuse of female slaves.

“If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial.” (Qur’an 4:3)

Robert Spencer quotes Islamic scholars interpretation of this verse as follows:

This verse is the basis for Islamic polygamy, allowing a man to take as many as four wives, as long as he believes he is able to “deal justly” with all of them. But justice in these circumstances is in the eye of the beholder. Ibn Kathir says this the requirement to deal justly with one”s wives is no big deal, since treating them justly isn’t the same as treating them equally: “it is not obligatory to treat them equally, rather it is recommended. So if one does so, that is good, and if not, there is no harm on him.”
The verse goes on to say that if a man cannot deal justly with multiple wives, then he should marry only one, or resort to “what your right hands own” — that is, slave girls.
The Qur’an commentator Maulana Bulandshahri explains the wisdom of this practice, and longs for the good old days:
“During Jihad (religion war), many men and women become war captives. The Amirul Mu”minin [leader of the believers, or caliph -- an office now vacant] has the choice of distributing them amongst the Mujahidin [warriors of jihad], in which event they will become the property of these Mujahidin. This enslavement is the penalty for disbelief (kufr).”
He goes on to explain that this is not ancient history:
“None of the injunctions pertaining to slavery have been abrogated in the Shari”ah. The reason that the Muslims of today do not have slaves is because they do not engage in Jihad (religion war). Their wars are fought by the instruction of the disbelievers (kuffar) and are halted by the same felons. The Muslim [sic] have been shackled by such treaties of the disbelievers (kuffar) whereby they cannot enslave anyone in the event of a war. Muslims have been denied a great boon whereby every home could have had a slave. May Allah grant the Muslims the ability to escape the tentacles of the enemy, remain steadfast upon the Din (religion) and engage in Jihad (religion war) according to the injunctions of Shari”ah. Amen!”
This is by no means an eccentric or unorthodox view in Islam. The Egyptian Sheikh Abu-Ishaq al-Huwayni declared in May 2011 that “we are in the era of jihad,” and that as they waged jihad warfare against infidels, Muslims would take slaves. He clarified what he meant in a subsequent interview:
…Jihad is only between Muslims and infidels”¦.Spoils, slaves, and prisoners are only to be taken in war between Muslims and infidels. Muslims in the past conquered, invaded, and took over countries. This is agreed to by all scholars–there is no disagreement on this from any of them, from the smallest to the largest, on the issue of taking spoils and prisoners. The prisoners and spoils are distributed among the fighters, which includes men, women, children, wealth, and so on.
When a slave market is erected, which is a market in which are sold slaves and sex-slaves, which are called in the Qur”an by the name milk al-yamin, “that which your right hands possess” [Qur"an 4:24]. This is a verse from the Qur”an which is still in force, and has not been abrogated. The milk al-yamin are the sex-slaves. You go to the market, look at the sex-slave, and buy her. She becomes like your wife, (but) she doesn’t need a (marriage) contract or a divorce like a free woman, nor does she need a wali. All scholars agree on this point–there is no disagreement from any of them. [...] When I want a sex slave, I just go to the market and choose the woman I like and purchase her.”
Right around the same time, on May 25, 2011, a female Kuwaiti activist and politician, Salwa al-Mutairi, also spoke out in favor of the Islamic practice of sexual slavery of non-Muslim women, emphasizing that the practice accorded with Islamic law and the parameters of Islamic morality.
“…A merchant told me that he would like to have a sex slave. He said he would not be negligent with her, and that Islam permitted this sort of thing. He was speaking the truth”¦.I brought up (this man”s) situation to the muftis in Mecca. I told them that I had a question, since they were men who specialized in what was halal, and what was good, and who loved women. I said, “What is the law of sex slaves?”
The mufti said, “With the law of sex slaves, there must be a Muslim nation at war with a Christian nation, or a nation which is not of the religion, not of the religion of Islam. And there must be prisoners of war.”
“Is this forbidden by Islam?,” I asked.
“Absolutely not. Sex slaves are not forbidden by Islam. On the contrary, sex slaves are under a different law than the free woman. The free woman must be completely covered except for her face and hands. But the sex slave can be naked from the waist up. She differs a lot from the free woman. While the free woman requires a marriage contract, the sex slave does not–she only needs to be purchased by her husband, and that’s it. Therefore the sex slave is different than the free woman. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools

It’s not just the traditional marriage freaks like Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla who are the victims of LGBT identity politics, it appears that ‘coming out’ to a group of 11 year old primary school students can still disrupt your teaching career.   At least that was the experience of Birmingham deputy head teacher Andrew Moffat. 

From the Independent:

Andrew Moffat, author of Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools, was targeted by a group of mainly Muslim parents in the dispute at Chilwell Croft Academy, in Birmingham, The Sunday Times reported. Mr Moffat, who resigned from his post in December and will leave the primary school this month, said some Christian parents had also complained.

His books have been used in literacy lessons for 10- and 11-year-olds, both at Chilwell Croft and other schools.
In a statement, the school said: “A minority group of parents… objected to some of the resource books being used in literacy lessons with some of the oldest children in the school, which explored relationships with different families.
“The… objections were primarily voiced by those whose own religion took an opposing stance to homosexuality.”
Mr Moffat, who has accepted another teaching post outside Birmingham, told The Sunday Times: “In my work I have met with some challenging views from different sections of the community.
“Some Christian and some Muslim parents have told me they don’t want their children learning that it’s OK to be gay.
“I did come out at school in an assembly after a group of 11-year-olds held up a poster they made, with the heading 'Gay is good'. It seemed like the right time to let the children know that they knew a gay person.
“Following my coming out, some parents from different communities complained to the school, but I maintain that my decision was the right one at that time,” he said.
Muslims and Christians around the world need to understand that the only acceptable religious ideology in publically funded State schools is Atheistic ‘political correctness’.  Those who embrace an alternative religious worldview may have been successful in replacing their Gay deputy headmaster at Chilwell Croft Academy in Birmingham, but the tide of history is running against them.

‘Coming out’ for the 11 year olds will soon be the norm, and if it is not possible to fill the quota of Gay teachers at the primary school near you, then the department of ‘diversity and tolerance’ will provide a temporary Gay teacher for your school so your child may have this important experience.

No child must be left behind.

It appears that even now, these important experiences are being reinforced by the use of Andrew’s book ‘Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools’ for your child’s reading and literacy lessons.

The beauty of outsourcing your children’s education to the State is that they will ensure they are exposed to ‘correct thoughts’ early in their social development, thereby making them ideal citizens in a world formed by the new high priests of our religious-political order.

You couldn’t have scripted this just a couple of decades ago. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Mega Mana

The Mana political party has little mana with the voters of New Zealand, but they do appear to have won the heart of Kim Dotcom.  A review of Mana’s policies reveals a mix of the usual leftish, Marxist nanny State regulations, with controls prohibiting the advertizing of this, and the sale of that, followed by increased welfare spending, minim wage rates, a bias towards Maori and against business. 

Predictably they are keen to punish individual success, they are very opposed to intergenerational wealth creation, and have an appalling understanding of how market economies function.

All the usual angst and envy we have come to expect from the perpetually disaffected.

The Internet Party on the other hand has been founded by the Mega-Rich German immigrant Kim Dotcom.  He is unable to stand for parliament in New Zealand himself, but is keen to have an influence in New Zealand Politics.  His motivation appears to be one of revenge, based upon the way the State has treated him and his family following a raid on his premises, and the closure of his Internet business and the freezing of his assets by the FBI.  It’s not the purpose of this article to explore the injustice of these actions, but it’s clear he has ample reason to feel aggrieved.

It appears that Kim Dotcom has made Prime Minister John Key and the National Party the focus of his indignation, and is keen to exact revenge by doing what he can to oppose their reelection.

The Internet party policy is based around cheaper Internet connectivity, less State surveillance, and boosting high tech employment.

The question is what do the Mega-Marxists and the Mega-Rich have in common?  Exactly nothing, except that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.

It’s clear that this is a pragmatic and somewhat casual love affair.  Mana hopes to leverage off Kim Dotcom’s Internet marketing experience, his public profile and his wealth. Kim Dotcom hopes to gain seats in parliament for his Internet Party based upon the MMP rules allowing for MP’s to be brought into parliament on the back of one electorate seat held by the Mana Party.

As long as they don’t have to agree on anything other than getting rid of the National Government then perhaps all will be well.  The relationship is resplendent with irony.  Imagine the leftwing Marxists like Annette Sykes and Sue Bradford sharing a Chardonnay at the end of a busy day with the filthy capitalist mogul Kim Dotcom in his rambling mansion replete with every extravagance, but I guess in politics anything is possible.

Both of these political entities could be described as ‘grievance parties’.  Both of their founders believe that they have been treated appallingly by the Crown, and have been disadvantaged economically as a result.   Mana with historical Maori grievances, and Kim Dotcom over the New Zealand Governments compliance with the FBI’s wishes to close down his Internet business and freeze his considerable assets.

How attractive is the grievance narrative to the wider electorate?  Even Maori have by and large shunned Mana, and apart from the hard core Marxists like Minto, Sykes and Bradford there appears to be few non-Maori supporters of the Mana party.

No doubt Kim Dotcom will attract some of the younger voters who cannot see past cheaper Internet and the prospect of less surveillance. However as with everything in life, foundations are important.  You cannot build or sustain a successful political party, or a nation on a foundation of grievance.  By definition it is a negative emotion and one that is biased towards retribution.   It does not contain within itself the DNA necessary to build a prosperous and cooperative society based upon the necessary mutual trust and respect. 

I have no tasty hat to eat, so having to settle for a prediction alone, my take is they will have little influence on the outcome of this year’s election. There is talk however of a formal coalition. 

Perhaps they could call it Megla-Mania Mega-Mana. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The speech Ayaan Hirsi Ali planned to give students from Brandeis University

Below is an abridged version of the speech Ayaan Hirsi Ali was planning to give to the students of Brandeis University, before she was uninvited at the instance of the followers of Islam.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.
All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.
I read an article recently that said many adults don't remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as "9/11."
You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.
Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.
Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.
Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.
Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women's basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.
Today, however, I am going to predict a better future, because I believe that the pendulum has swung almost as far as it possibly can in the wrong direction.
When I see millions of women in Afghanistan defying threats from the Taliban and lining up to vote; when I see women in Saudi Arabia defying an absurd ban on female driving; and when I see Tunisian women celebrating the conviction of a group of policemen for a heinous gang rape, I feel more optimistic than I did a few years ago. The misnamed Arab Spring has been a revolution full of disappointments. But I believe it has created an opportunity for traditional forms of authority—including patriarchal authority—to be challenged, and even for the religious justifications for the oppression of women to be questioned.
Yet for that opportunity to be fulfilled, we in the West must provide the right kind of encouragement. Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century. When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions.
One of the best places to do that is in our institutions of higher learning. We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I'm used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen.
I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women's and girls' basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.
The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.
So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform. I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.
Is such an argument inadmissible? It surely should not be at a university that was founded in the wake of the Holocaust, at a time when many American universities still imposed quotas on Jews.

The motto of Brandeis University is "Truth even unto its innermost parts." That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.

Decadence weekend New Orleans style.

Around 2003 my wife and I traveled to the UK and Europe to visit family.  Our return journey was via the USA and we decided to visit New Orleans to take in some Jazz and southern culture.

When we arrived our taxi driver said something along the lines of ‘you guys have arrived at a great time, it is decadence weekend’.  My wife thought ‘chocolate’? However I was not so sure.  I had noticed a couple of gay guys sitting next to us at the Denver airport terminus as we transitioned into New Orleans. 

Sure enough when we checked into our hotel in the French Quarter, there was my wife and I, and 400 gay guys who were booked in for the long weekend.  I decided we were going to enjoy the experience; there were plenty of highs and lows.  I remember the lift doors opening as we planned to go downtown for the evening.  There were two guys in the lift, mid 50’s, both bare chested, dressed in leather hot pants, braces and studded leather dog collars. 

These were some of the tamer expressions that I feel able to describe.

There were signs in some of the bars on Bourbon Street saying ‘no public sex acts’.  Apparently this was a problem at the previous decadence weekend.  We stuck it out for a while, but in every cafĂ©, restaurant and bar we visited there were guys making out with each other, and in the end it became somewhat overpowering.

I learned that weekend that there are no stereotypes.  Many of the young men were fit healthy attractive guys that would have had no problem attracting the opposite sex, had they been interested.

Worthy of note was a gathering of Christians at a park just on the edge of the French quarter.  They sang, prayed and marched around the area in protest at the decadence, albeit with horse mounted police protection.  Possibly with the protection of a few angels as well, however there was no noticeable reaction from the gay folks who had gathered; seemingly their attention was elsewhere.

As we flew out of New Orleans three days later, just my wife and I and 150 gay guys on a 737 headed for Denver, I remember praying, ‘Lord you would have spared Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous men, how about an aircraft for the sake of two’? 

We made it safely.

This was almost a decade before the same LGBT political agenda really came into full swing.

A few days ago my wife and I flew out to Sydney from Christchurch to spend time with the family over here.  There were two gay guys fondling each other and smooching in the airport departure lounge, and two gay girls kissing and unable to take their hands off each other just a few seats away.

New Orleans comes to Christchurch Airport, only it’s not decadence weekend, it is now ‘business as usual’.

I mention this because according to the Herald, a church in Northland has found itself on the wrong end of ‘public opinion’ because it apparently advertised a seminar to help people who ‘had problems with same sex attraction’.

The primary mover against the seminar is quoted in the Herald as saying:

If someone was genuinely unhappy or confused by their sexuality, they should seek help from a trained professional, not from someone who's “prayed their gay away"

Well perhaps.

In any event it was a reminder to me how we in the Church are very good at fighting yesterday’s battles; folks this train has well and truly left the station.  If we want to be of service to the gay community, then there are plenty of ways we can do this outside of the four walls of the Church, beginning with listening.

Decadence has pleasure for a season. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

The totalitarian state we are in.

I sent a good friend of mine an article today from thefederalist.com website which postulates that the end goal of same-sex-marriage is not ‘equality’ but the destruction of marriage itself.  I tend not to be a conspiracy theorist, but they do present a well-documented argument.

There are only two institutions capable of resisting the totalitarian State, one is the Christian Church, and the other is the family.  Christianity is in decline in the West, and so is the natural family consisting of mum dad and the kids, and you could be forgiven for thinking that any opportunity the State can provide in assisting their decline is never overlooked.

My friend suggested that it was a great article, but asked: “who is listening”?

Who indeed.

A couple of posts back I outlined the proposition that the three legs of the stool supporting Western civilization were the economy, politics and religion. 

The Christian religion provided the moral framework in which the economy and politics functioned.  As Christianity has declined so have ethical practices in business and the political sphere; a new secular religion has taken its place.  We call it ‘political correctness’.  This secular religion has replaced salvation through Christ with salvation by the law.

As men and women refuse to be self-governing, that is to follow the internalized precepts of the Christian faith be they Christians or not; the only mechanism left to impose personal restraint is the external law of the land.  This is why new laws are passed in a continuous stream, attempting to make markets operate more ethically, parents more responsibly, citizens less discriminatorily, employers more compassionately, company directors more honestly, and so the list goes on.

A reader on my previous post asked the question: “Not trying to defend the political correctness you describe but what choice do the secular have when Christianity can't offer answers to a rational mind?”

It was an honest question, however we are faced with very few choices.  Something or someone will dictate the moral framework for the social, political and economic spheres in which we live.  If we reject Christianity that provided a framework that has served us very well for more than 1,000 years, then we are left with the competing ideologies of Islam, or secular ‘political correctness’ both of which are totalitarian in nature.

Only Christianity offers a rational theological framework for the separation of Church and State, the religious and the secular realms.   Both Political Correctness and Islam combine the religious and the political as a single entity, and the result is totalitarianism.

Ask yourself how well democracy and human rights have flourished in countries that do not have an historical tradition of Judeo Christianity informing their political, legal and justice systems?

Think Egypt and Iraq or Afghanistan when the Americans leave.  Or perhaps China and the former Soviet Union.  How about North Korea where the ‘great leader’ obtained 100% of the popular vote?

The liberties we enjoy in the West are rare and by their very nature, impermanent.

Historically both the family and the church were mediating institutions that stood between the individual and the power of the State.  It is inevitable that as those institutions fail, the State will assume greater power and authority in the lives of individuals.

I outlined the basic precepts of the new secular religion of Political Correctness in a previous post, and I don’t intend to repeat them here, suffice to say that all citizens are expected to participate in correct speech and correct thought, as mandated by our new high priests.  Dissent from the new State supported religious narrative is not tolerated, and those who refuse to publically recant face humiliation and potential loss of employment.

To that end, it seems all organisations are now rushing to get their LGBT affirming credentials out into the public domain. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reportsIn a world first, executives from Australia's major sporting codes made a commitment on Wednesday to rid their sports of homophobia.”

I doubt that Rugby League players were ever afraid of homosexuals (homo-phobia) but we know what they are attempting to say.  “We are on board with the Politically Correct LGBT agenda”, and “we are passing a law stating that it shall no longer be part of our game”.

That should do the trick.

I am amused by these historically male, macho and highly confrontational physical sporting organizations discovering their softer and gentler side.  At best they are well intentioned, but more probably they are simply fearful of legal injunctions from the LGBT community, and are attempting to preempt such action.  I do wonder if they will need to revisit some of their traditional language however; making a pass, scoring, and even ‘handling errors’ may take on new meaning as a flood of homosexuals enter these more ‘gay friendly’ sporting institutions.

But seriously, is an edict from the management likely to change attitudes amongst NRL players any more than the Government passing a law on ‘marriage equality’?  What it will do is drive dissent underground; ensure there is an outward conformity to the new religious narrative, but not necessarily a change in the hearts and minds of players, coaches and supporters.

Furthermore, why must we all conform to the new State endorsed religious narrative?  I’m very conscious that it is possible to love and accept those who have embraced the gay lifestyle, along with those whose values are very different to our own without necessarily agreeing with their choices.  However to express public support for an alternative narrative, unless you are an ordained minister of religion, is to risk marginalization and possible loss of employment as Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla has discovered.

Both Christianity and the natural family stand in the way of the new ‘same-sex-everything’ religious agenda.  They robustly affirm that we are male and female, that both sexes are necessary for procreation, and that all children deserve to be raised by both their mum and their dad.

The LGBT folks were never much into the protection of children’s rights when it comes to being raised by both their mum and their dad.  It is ironic really, given that we are now all reduced to identity groups each with competing rights, that children appear to have missed out on their most basic right, one that we all previously took for granted, and has now been officially abrogated without public discussion.

No mention of this abrogation of Children’s rights from the Children’s Commissioner I note.  No surprises there, as he is an ordained member of the State sponsored high priesthood, where LGBT rights trump the rights of children every day of the week.

What choices do those of a secular mind have, if they are not on board with the religion of Political Correctness?  Conformity or marginalization, there is no third way in the totalitarian state we are in. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

More craven appeasement of Islam in America.

A Somali immigrant, and former Dutch Politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali was about to be presented an honorary degree from the American Brandeis University when the followers of Islam complained, apparently ‘forcing’ the University to withdraw the degree.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim is now a staunch critic of Islam and its treatment of women.

In 2007, Ali, now resident in the USA after living under 7/24 police protection as a politician in Holland has helped establish the AHA Foundation, which works to protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture, according to its website. The foundation also strives to protect basic rights and freedoms of women and girls. This includes control of their own bodies, access to an education and the ability to work outside the home and control their own income, the website says.

However the President of Brandeis in withdrawing the honorary degree said:

"She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women's rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world," said the university's statement. "That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values."
Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006, has been quoted as making comments critical of Islam. That includes a 2007 interview with Reason Magazine in which she said of the religion, "Once it's defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It's very difficult to even talk about peace now. They're not interested in peace. I think that we are at war with Islam. And there's no middle ground in wars."
Ali was raised in a strict Muslim family, but after surviving a civil war, genital mutilation, beatings and an arranged marriage, she renounced the faith in her 30s.

Clearly cowardice trumps truth at Brandeis University.  If anyone can relay first hand her experiences as a women living in an Islamic country it is Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  It was because the followers of Islam threatened her life in Holland for speaking the truth about the religion that she required 7/24 police protection.  It seems that ensuring Muslim feelings are not hurt at Brandeis University is more important than recognizing a women who has risked her life to protect young girls from genital mutilation and Muslim women from religiously sanctioned Islamic oppression.

It was the very religion that sanctioned this oppression that the craven President of Brandeis University sought to appease.  But why?

We know why.  Islam is a protected identity group in the West, just like any other self described minority who believes they are being oppressed by the mainstream culture.

No matter that innocent American blood has been shed in the streets of New York, Boston and Fort Hood in the name of Islam, and that virtually every week other Muslims are arrested in America for plots to commit acts of violence in the name of this religious ideology.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali knows what every American should know by now, that acts of craven appeasement will do nothing to minimise the number of violent acts of Islamic Jihad against the infidel.  She has written a number of compelling books, including Infidel and Nomad.

A courageous woman of whom Brandeis University is not worthy.