Monthly Archives: May 2013

Persecuted

“In the new book Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea chronicle the brutal treatment of Christians by communist governments, as in China and North Korea. But the book’s overwhelming focus is on Islamic regimes, which either officially or unofficially through government-sanctioned mob violence campaigns to exterminate or drive into exile those who regard Jesus Christ as their savior.”  Charlotte Allen

Christian Martyrs to Islam, Past and Present

As in the 15th century, Christians are under attack in Muslim lands.

Charlotte Allen, The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2013, p. A 11

On May 12 Pope Francis officially canonized more than 800 male Catholic residents of the southern Italian port of Otranto, who in 1480 were beheaded en masse IslamChristianityfor refusing to convert to Islam after their city was invaded and captured by a Turkish Muslim fleet. The making of the new saints was a vivid reminder of something that many people, including historians, prefer to gloss over: the pattern over the centuries of Islamic persecution of Christians that continues to this day in many Muslim-majority lands.

In a 2006 lecture at the University of Regensburg, Pope Benedict XVI quoted a remark about Islam made by the 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos: “There you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as [the Prophet Muhammad’s] command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” Benedict’s medieval quotation about forced conversions (the same issue at stake in the Otranto beheadings) reportedly provoked a fatwa against Benedict in Pakistan, church burnings and bombings in the West Bank and Gaza, threats of jihad from al Qaeda, and the murder of a nun in Somalia.

Benedict’s quotation also provoked tut-tuts from Catholic intellectuals: The liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal pronounced the pope’s remarks “ill-conceived.” Benedict eventually apologized, saying the text did not “in any way” express his “personal thought.”

Meanwhile, secular historians have argued that the Otranto victims weren’t really martyrs in the sense of dying for their faith. They were political prisoners executed for rebelling against their new masters. The same academic fate has befallen the ninth-century martyrs of Cordoba, 48 men and women publicly decapitated when most of Spain was under Muslim rule. Continue reading

Advertisements

Is Christianity Good?

“Believers give more to charity.images

“Believers live longer and are healthier

“Believers are more likely to be happy.

“Believers are less likely to commit crime.

“Is the faith good for society? The answer can only be, yes—assuming that it is in society’s interest to encourage quality of life, enhanced health, happiness, coping, less crime, less depression and other such benefits ubiquitously documented to be associated with religious involvement.  And most people, secular or religious, would say that it sure is.”  Mary Eberstadt

Is Christianity Good for Society?

In this excerpt from the new book How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization, the author examines a question that is at the foundation of the culture war.

Mary Eberstadt, Citizen magazine, June/July 2013, p. 26-28

For years now, as Citizen readers know, Christian­ity has been taking a beat­ing in the American public square. The new atheists have re­viled the faith as antiquated, oppres­sive, and superstitious. An aggres­sive secularist minority has berated it with increasing vehemence (and success) for being out of step with the sexual revolution. Debates over same-sex marriage, especially, have reached new rhetorical lows, with religious believers often disparaged by their opponents as “extremists,” “homophobes” and other bullying epithets intended to marginalize people of faith.

Are these adversaries right? Is Christianity really a net minus for society?

There’s a great irony lurking in the answer to that question. For though caricatures of_ Christianity and Christians themselves may be dominating the public square right now, empirical evidence points to the opposite conclusion. The truth is that both believers and unbeliev­ers have a stake in having believers do what they do—and the data that affirm this truth come not from theologians and family-firsters, but rather from a source that even the bitterest enemies of Christian­ity cannot contest: namely, unim­peachable and perfectly secular so­cial science.

Let’s count just a few of the ways. Believers give more to charity. Consider for starters the “char­ity gap” between believers and non-believers.

In the U.S., 91 percent of people who identify themselves as religious conservatives are likely to give to charity, as opposed to 67 percent of those who do not so identify them­selves. They alsp volunteer at a rate 10 points higher than the general population. People who pray ev­ery day are 30 percent more likely to give to charity than people who never pray.

They recover more quickly from ominous life events-— including bereavement, divorce, unemployment ana! serious illness. Religious people are also less likely to get depressed, to become  addicted to alcohol or drugs or to commit suicide. Apparently, hav­ing God as one’s co-pilot reduces the likelihood of self-destructive activities in the cockpit. Continue reading

Free Breakfast

“Why, then, do progressives advocate it [‘Food for Thought’]?  Because it meets three essential characteristics of the left wing:  It strengthens the state; it has governmental authority replace parental authority; and perhaps most importantly, it makes progresses feel good about themselves. The overriding concern of the left is not whether a program does good.  It is whether it feels good” Dennis Prager

THE NANNY STATE

FREE BREAKFASTS: ANOTHER DESTRUCTIVE PROGRESSIVE IDEA

Dennis Prager says L.A. has canceled school handout program for the wrong reasons

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced last week that it will discontinue the free school breakfast plan it initiated last year.breakfast_line

Called “Food for Thought,” the plan provides school breakfasts to about 200,000 students.

It was funded by the LAUSD and the nonprofit Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, whose goal is to raise the number who participate to about 450,000 students (out of a total of 645,000 in the entire district).

If you go to the fund’s website, you are greeted with these messages: “Learn to dream” (in English and in Spanish) and “Imagine your life without limits.” These are essentially meaningless messages. But, as we shall see, the fund’s breakfast program is not only meaningless; it is quite destructive.

The reasons for the announced cancellation were that the program had drawn rodents and insects into classrooms, and that classroom learning time was being wasted by students eating for long periods in class.

But the rodents, insects and disruption of class learning time are nothing in terms of destructiveness compared to the free breakfast itself.

First, the program was created to solve a problem that does not exist.

It is inconceivable that there are five, let alone 200,000 or the projected 450,000, homes in Los Angeles that cannot afford breakfast for their child. A nutritious breakfast can be had for less than a dollar. For examples, go to webmd.com/food-recipes/features/breakfast-ideas-for-a-buck, which lists five “Breakfast Ideas for a Buck.” Continue reading