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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

VERY Sobering Food For Thought

by Macker ( 117 Comments › )
Filed under Christianity, History, Holocaust, Iran, Islam, Israel, Koran, Religion, Saudi Arabia, Turkey at January 26th, 2015 - 8:00 am

HAT TIP: The Osprey
Last Saturday night I watched the following video. I will not embed it here, and it should open in a new tab.
We’ve all been dealing with the approaching day when Iran will have The Bomb. It’s no longer a question of IF, no thanks to أوباما’s constant renegotiating with the Mullahs in Teheran. Israel, rightfully, is GRAVELY CONCERNED with this.
But what if the REAL target for Iran’s first Bomb is neither Israel, nor some other unnamed Western City? This video might shed some very dark light on this question. I cannot speak for anyone else; I have been humbly praying about what really is God’s Plan for this situation.
Not our will, O Lord…but THINE.

Moderate Islam?

by Iron Fist ( 183 Comments › )
Filed under Islam at January 15th, 2015 - 8:44 am

There is an interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times today by a Muslim scholar who poses a question for Muslim leaders. I think the article raises a good point, though I am not a Koranic scholar that I can comment on the accuracy of his citations. Anyway, here’s something to think about:

WILL “moderate Muslims” finally “speak up” against their militant coreligionists? People around the world have asked (but, as in the past, have not all seriously examined) this question since last week’s horrific attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket in Paris.

In fact, Muslim statesmen, clerics and intellectuals have added their voices to condemnations of terror by leaders around the world. But they must undertake another essential task: Address and reinterpret Islam’s traditional take on “blasphemy,” or insult to the sacred.

The Paris terrorists were apparently fueled by the zeal to punish blasphemy, and fervor for the same cause has bred militancy in the name of Islam in various other incidents, ranging from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s fatwa against the writer Salman Rushdie in 1989 to the threats and protests against the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.

Mockery of Muhammad, actual or perceived, has been at the heart of nearly all of these controversies over blasphemy.

I call them “Mohamedans” for the same reason Christians are called “Christian”. They claim not to worship Mohammed, but their actions show that they revere him as much as they do Allah (who is not God, as Christians and Jews know Him). Mohammed is to them what Jesus is to Christians, the Messenger of God. While they don';t proclaim Mohammed as the literal Son of God, they treat him in every respect the same way that Christians do Jesus, except, of course, that Christians aren’t killing people that disrespect Jesus. He goes on:

Mockery of Muhammad, actual or perceived, has been at the heart of nearly all of these controversies over blasphemy.

This might seem unremarkable at first, but there is something curious about it, for the Prophet Muhammad is not the only sacred figure in Islam. The Quran praises other prophets — such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus — and even tells Muslims to “make no distinction” between these messengers of God. Yet for some reason, Islamist extremists seem to obsess only about the Prophet Muhammad.

Even more curiously, mockery of God — what one would expect to see as the most outrageous blasphemy — seems to have escaped their attention as well. Satirical magazines such as Charlie Hebdo have run cartoons ridiculing God (in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim contexts), but they were targeted with violence only when they ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad.

Of course, this is not to say extremists should threaten and harm cartoonists for more diverse theological reasons; obviously, they should not target them at all. But the exclusive focus on the Prophet Muhammad is worth pondering. One obvious explanation is that while God and the other prophets are also sacred for Judaism and Christianity, the Prophet Muhammad is sacred only for Muslims. In other words, the zeal comes not from merely respect for the sacred, but from militancy for what’s sacred to us — us being the community of Muslims. So the unique sensitivity around Muhammad seems to be a case of religious nationalism, with its focus on the earthly community — rather than of true faith, whose main focus should be the divine.

I find nothing here that I especially disagree with. He proves my case better than I could that the Mohammedans revere Mohammed in the same respect that Christians revere Jesus. He confirms what I already believed. It is interesting that he calls this “Religious Nationalism”. That comes partly because he i s probably of a more Leftward tilt in his political views, so that Nationalism is automatically a bad thing, but it is a useful way to categorize this phenomenon. It is a pan-Islamic impulse that transcends trace and nationality, and even the Sunni/Shite split. Nationalism isn’t quite correct, I don’t think, because there is no nation-state that is being aggrandized, but I guess you could say that the Islamic State codifies this in its attempt to form a Caliphate that encompasses all of the Middle East and North Africa.

Still, this religious nationalism is guided by religious law — Shariah — that includes clauses about punishing blasphemy as a deadly sin. It is thus of vital importance that Muslim scholars courageously, even audaciously, address this issue today. They can begin by acknowledging that, while Shariah is rooted in the divine, the overwhelming majority of its injunctions are man-made, partly reflecting the values and needs of the seventh to 12th centuries — when no part of the world was liberal, and other religions, such as Christianity, also considered blasphemy a capital crime.

The only source in Islamic law that all Muslims accept indisputably is the Quran. And, conspicuously, the Quran decrees no earthly punishment for blasphemy — or for apostasy (abandonment or renunciation of the faith), a related concept. Nor, for that matter, does the Quran command stoning, female circumcision or a ban on fine arts. All these doctrinal innovations, as it were, were brought into the literature of Islam as medieval scholars interpreted it, according to the norms of their time and milieu.

Tellingly, severe punishments for blasphemy and apostasy appeared when increasingly despotic Muslim empires needed to find a religious justification to eliminate political opponents.

This is an interesting take on it, because it completely ignores the Hadiths, which as I understand it is where the majority of this kind of thing is written into Law. If you take away the Hadiths, you take away the underpinnings of much of the Islamic Ideology.

Before all that politically motivated expansion and toughening of Shariah, though, the Quran told early Muslims, who routinely faced the mockery of their faith by pagans: “God has told you in the Book that when you hear God’s revelations disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse; surely then you would be like them.”

Just “do not sit with them” — that is the response the Quran suggests for mockery. Not violence. Not even censorship.

Wise Muslim religious leaders from the entire world would do Islam a great favor if they preached and reiterated such a nonviolent and nonoppressive stance in the face of insults against Islam. That sort of instruction could also help their more intolerant coreligionists understand that rage is a sign of nothing but immaturity. The power of any faith comes not from its coercion of critics and dissenters. It comes from the moral integrity and the intellectual strength of its believers.

And that would be acceptable. There is nothing in this article that makes Islam intolerable. They are free to do what they will, so long as they aren’t pillaging, raping, and looting. He leaves out a lot of things, though. Islam doesn’t merely proselytize. It demands submission or slavery. It is expansionist, and even in the Koran it is explicitly violent. Get rid of the Hadiths, and you still have a book full of commandments to do evil. Jesus said to his Disciples”Go out into the world and teach the Word of God”. Mohammed said “Go and conquer the world for Allah”. This guy is saying all the right things, and it would be a better world if more Mohammedans agreed with him, but I think he is leaving out a lot of what Islam really teaches. Still, reformation of Islam into a faith that can coexist (yes, coexist) with other faiths, that isn’t expansionist and coercive, is one path that would lead to peace. If that means ditching the Hadiths, I’m all for it. I wonder, though, how well this will sell to his coreligionists.

An Open Letter to PM Tony Abbott…and Deputy PM Julie Bishop #auspol

by 1389AD ( 94 Comments › )
Filed under Australia, Dhimmitude, France, Multiculturalism, Political Correctness at January 13th, 2015 - 4:00 pm
Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop

Dear leaders,

I voted for your ‘Team Australia” at the last election. I could hardly wait to get rid of the previous Labor Governments after seeing the economic mess they had made here, as well as the mess made by their disastrous immigration policies, including the loss of lives caused by it.

It’s true you have stopped the boats but you have failed miserably in stopping our Fifth Column: the ABC – a tax-payer funded organisation that would love to see you fail and disappear into political oblivion!

As I read many blogs and websites I KNOW that many people can’t wait for you to do this.

I think, if you knew the ratings figures, you would find ‘our’ ABC is not very popular, and most Australians are not keen to see their tax dollars paying for their own destruction.

You had sufficient reasons – we are broke! The ABC/SBS can easily find sponsors for funding, and should there not be enough – well…tough! No one will miss them, will they?

This past week we have seen all too clearly just what Muslim immigration can do.

Whilst Australia has a lower percentage of Muslims it can be assumed that it only needs a small number of people to create havoc as we saw in the Lindt Coffee Shop in Sydney recently.

It is clear to me that whenever there is such an incident more often than not the perpetrators are Islamic.

Oooops, I said the ‘I’ word !!!!

If I can say it why can’t you? Why are you and other world leaders afraid of this word?

You have now begun to call ISIS the “Daesh” or “The Khorasan Group” thinking perhaps, that the majority of Australians won’t catch on, or are you avoiding offending the local Muslim community?

Why? Many of them offend us on a regular basis. We get no apology or reassurances from them – quite the contrary.

Sometimes I get a fanciful notion about conspiracy theories. and when I do I can’t help but wonder whether some faceless cabal from the UN comes to visit each newly-elected leader just to tell them: Do as we say, or else?

Please tell me I am wrong and foolish but it certainly looks that way, or something like it.

Somehow the UN has omitted telling Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Benjamin Netanyahu how to play by their rules.

Of course we all know Mr Netanyahu is World Enemy #1 in the UN’s eyes, and Vladimir Putin is The #1 enemy of NATO and the EU which is why they have spent so much time making him look positively evil.

Putin and Netanyahu have problems with Islam and they call it out when they see it.

It was the incident at Beslan that helped get Putin as much popularity as he has now. Both these leaders actually care about their citizens…a new concept, I know!

When you were going to ‘shirt-front Putin’ I saw a red flag. I know you were concerned about a missing plane and our citizens but we didn’t have enough information to jump to any definite conclusions.It showed me you were at one with the UN.

Now we have just witnessed two atrocities in France: the murder of cartoonists and the murder of hostages at a Kosher (that means Jewish) grocery store.

There has been an outpouring of support for the cartoonists: the Jewish hostages not so much!

It isn’t that long ago since WW2 ended and yet we are seeing an amazing resurgence of anti-Semitism which is most alarming.

Here’s the full list of leaders who met in France today – many have been instrumental in ruining their own countries:

French President Francois Hollande
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker
European Parliament president Martin Schulz
European Union president Donald Tusk
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico
Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga
Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz
Canadian public safety minister Steven Blaney
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman
Jordanian King Abdullah II and Queen Rania
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas
United Arab Emirates foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan
Qatari Sheikh Mohamed Ben Hamad Ben Khalifa Al Thani
Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled ben Ahmed Al Khalifa and Prince Abdullah Ben Hamad al-Khalifa
Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
Gabonese President Ali Bongo
Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou
Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi
Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa
Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra

Russia sent a representative, and Benjamin Netanyahu went also, in spite of the fact that Monsieur Hollande told him not to! How quaint! How insulting! How very French!!!

But the French have always been appeasers.

Over the weekend, Andrew Bolt said, “Are we really all Charlie? No, no and shamefully no”:

Australia also has oppressive racial vilification laws which Prime Minister Tony Abbott had promised to relax but last year decided to keep, saying changing them would become a “complication” in making Muslim Australians side with the rest of us against jihadists.
This will go on. Be sure of it. Your ruling classes will not easily admit to having made an error that cannot now be fixed. It will prefer oppression to freedom, if that brings at least the illusion of peace — and many may even think they are right.

The French Ambassador now tells us – and as if we didn’t know…Paris attacks: French ambassador urges Australia to remember ‘the spirit of Charlie’ – video

The French ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, tells people at a rally in Martin Place, Sydney, to keep in mind the protest ethos of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He says those at Martin Place would be acutely aware of ‘what violence means’. Three days of bloodshed in France saw 17 people and three gunmen killed. Twelve people died at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and there were further attacks at a kosher supermarket and other sites around Paris.

Seems he can’t say the “J” word! And he can’t say the “I” word either!!

So what we have now is a situation where we must rely on our own cartoonists for the truth, and for showing principles leadership.

Mr Larry Pickering:

Halal certified Muhammad-piggie ready for roasting on a pencil spit over a pile of Qurans - and wearing nipple clamps!

Mr Bill Leak:

Bill Leak cartoon: Free speech as long as it doesn't offend - with Aussie Labor/Green senators in front

Perhaps these two gentleman would better serve the Australian public!

Oddly enough, US President Barack Hussein Obama didn’t attend with the group of world leaders. He sent his AG to France, not his VP, but Holder didn’t attend either!

Obama: ‘The Future Must Not Belong To Those Who Slander the Prophet of Islam…’

That’s a very telling little sentence! What does he know that you don’t know?

PS: That lovely picture of you both is courtesy of Mr Larry Pickering!


AQAP (al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula) funded, trained Charlie Hebdo attackers

by 1389AD ( 59 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, France at January 12th, 2015 - 4:00 pm

Jihadi recruitment, training, propaganda, infiltration, terrorism, and warfare cannot be perpetrated without money. The blog Money Jihad exposes terrorist financing. I highly recommend it.

Money Jihad author A. D. Kendall writes: “One wonders when France will begin air strikes against AQAP targets in Yemen.”


ALL jihadi cells are dangerous

Evidently, the French police underestimated the local jihadi cell in France that gave rise to the Charlie Hebdo attack. This small and seemingly insignificant group of committed jihadis had no difficulty in making contact with AQAP, and obtaining money, training, and weapons from them.

The French prison system, much like prison systems in the US and elsewhere, has become a venue for jihadi networking and recruitment. NYT has the story on that: Jihadism Born in a Paris Park and Fueled in the Prison Yard. When will western nations muster the political will to do whatever it takes to put an end to prison jihad?

Radical Mennonites Attack French Magazine!

by coldwarrior ( 131 Comments › )
Filed under Islam, Islamic Invasion, Jihad, Open thread, Terrorism at January 8th, 2015 - 5:22 am

Oh, wait….sorry. It was the peaceful, honorable, and well-integrated muzz!

islam and Western Civilization are not compatible. One will win this war.


Mais Non! Quell Horror!


Today’s Drudge Headlines:

Before attack, French began ceding control of neighborhoods to Islamists...
Video Threatened Jihad...
Jewish residents fleeing...
White House Questioned French Magazine's 'Judgment'...
Attack Reflects 'Dangerous Moment' for Europe...
Le Pen: 'Time's up for denial and hypocrisy'...
Islamic immigration to USA on rise...



Toronto: JDL Canada offers elite Krav Maga classes starting January 5, 2015

by 1389AD ( 2 Comments › )
Filed under Anti-Jihad, Canada, Headlines at January 2nd, 2015 - 12:05 pm
JDL Canada logo

JDL Canada is pleased to announce that Krav Maga classes will begin again this Monday night – January 05, 2015 at 7 PM. at the Toronto Zionist Centre. This new elite training program is restricted to individuals who have a demonstrated background in martial arts or other athletic disciplines. Due to the rising threat level within the community, classes are currently restricted to participants who will comprise the team of JDL marshals.

The focus of this elite training program will be on bodyguard protection and crowd control.

Based on demand, we will also be providing basic Krav Maga classes for members of the public who are interested in learning techniques of self-defence. If you are interested in attending these classes please contact the office at:


JDL Canada | (416) 736-7000 | jdl@jdl-canada.com | http://jdl-canada.com/
788 Marlee Ave., Suite 207
Toronto, M6B 3K1


ISIS releases moms’ guidebook to raising ‘jihadi babies’

by 1389AD ( 65 Comments › )
Filed under Iraq, Jihad, Syria at January 1st, 2015 - 9:00 pm

RT has the story…

The Islamic State has released a guidebook for young mothers with “helpful tips” on how to raise a Mujahid Child, outlining techniques they believe will develop the body and jihadi spirit of the new generation of extremist fighters.

Entitled Sister’s Role in Jihad, the latest propaganda move by the extremist organization tries to convince their loyal followers that the “most important” role women can play in Jihad is to raise their kids “not only in spirit”, but also to develop their physical ability and training.

The key to success, IS argues lies in introducing these values in them while they are babies. “Don’t wait until they are seven to start, for it may be too late by then!,” the handbook that recently surfaced online states.

It encourages the jihadi mothers to tell bedtime stories about extremist fighters, while completely banning TV, which the guide says results in “mental and physical loss.” The only thing it allows, is the use of multimedia that will strengthen their “jihadi spirit.”

In order to get children “interested in jihad” and encourage them to “become like Mujahideen” the handbook suggests “getting military books (preferably with pictures) and other similar books, CDs, videos, and by visiting web sites along with your children, and utilizing other internet resources.”

In addition, the handbook advises mothers to make “a makeshift enemy” or a punching bag for building the child’s strength and to “control and direct their anger.”

In terms of physical training, IS encourages mothers to introduce their young ones to “target-shooting”,through toy guns and toy military sets. The Islamic State argues that darts, for instance, develops a good hand-eye coordination. Adding military games, the guidebook says, should increase the toddler’s interest in military matters and will allow practice time of mothers in front of their kids using their toys.

IS also believes that complete child soldiers should also be able to perform martial arts, be capable swimmers, drivers and horse-back riders with refined archery skills. Ability to navigate oneself in an unfamiliar environment is also expected, with camping encouraged.

Continue reading…

ISIS pancakes are waaaaay too salty…

RT: Pancakes for jihadists: ISIS shares new online cooking tips

ISIS is presenting the campaign as an institute for women, designed to “prepare sisters for the battlefields for jihad” and to support Islamic State fighters, Vocativ cited the group’s mission statement as saying.

The latest update from Al-Zawra published a step-by-step method of preparing jihadist-style pancakes. The precise instructions are accompanied by pictures.

The ingredients include: one egg, four tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of oil, 4 teaspoons of salt, one cup of milk, and one cup of flour.

Continue reading…


Addendum, for non-jihadi pancakes:

Why use so much sugar in the batter when you’re going to pour honey or maple syrup on the finished pancakes? The sugar could be omitted entirely. A better recipe would use only a pinch of salt to one cup of flour. For fluffier and more flavorful pancakes, use cultured buttermilk with a small pinch of baking soda in place of ordinary milk. Whip the batter with a whisk, pour it onto a hot oiled pan or griddle, flip it over, and you’re good to go.

Murderer of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu was a Muslim jihadi

by 1389AD ( 85 Comments › )
Filed under Islamic Terrorism, Jihad at December 30th, 2014 - 4:44 pm
Slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu
Slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu

Don’t believe the news media guff that this killing was solely motivated by the belief that the NYPD officers somehow “shared culpability” in the earlier deaths of Garner and Brown, together with the killer’s mental instability and history of failure.

The murder was all about jihad.

The killer’s name was Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley and he was an avowed Muslim. His murderous act was very likely triggered by an ISIS call-to-arms.

1389 Blog warned of ISIS using the Ferguson riots to trigger lone-wolf jihadis:
ISIS to Ferguson rioters: “We hear you and we will help you if you accept Islam”.

A history of personal failures, unrestrained violence, and mental illness has never stopped anyone from becoming a jihadi! Islam is catnip for angry people in general, and for crazy angry people in particular. More to the point, Islam is catnip for ghetto thugs, both in and out of prison. There’s a reason why Islam holds a special attraction for convicts and for those pursuing a criminal lifestyle. That is because Islam endorses criminal behavior as long as it is perpetrated against infidels (that’s us). And for many decades, Muslim organizations have waged a successful campaign to convert and radicalize African-American men to Islam. In fact, Jihad Watch has a category link for jihad in prisons.

Dr. Andrew Bostom has the story on Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley:

…Whether such violence is fueled, additionally, by mental illness, etc., or not, we know that Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, official spokesman for, and a senior leader of, the Islamic State, openly encouraged Western Muslims to attack non-Muslims within their own societies in a September 22, 2014 pronouncement.Consistent with traditional, authoritative Islamic jihad war jurisprudence’s designation of even enemy non-combatant “harbis” (those non-Muslims from the “dar al-harb” [“lands of war”] not submitted to Islamic law) as licit targets of sanguinary attacks, al-Adnani, gave broad license to murderous assaults on Western “disbelievers”:

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war [the civilian by belonging to a state waging war against the Muslims]. Both of their blood and wealth is legal for you to destroy, for blood does not become illegal or legal to spill by the clothes being worn.

But attacks on law enforcement merited a specific priority for al-Adnani:

Strike their police, security, and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents.Destroy their beds. Embitter their lives for them and busy them with themselves.

Read Dr. Bostom’s article here; he provides conclusive evidence.

Neither criminals nor jihadis obey gun control laws!

Like other lawbreakers, jihadis all over the world steal, smuggle, or manufacture whatever weapons they require for their activities.

As AWR Hawkins points out:

Washington DC - -(Ammoland.com)- NYPD officer killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley previously acquired guns by stealing them, according to a new report.

According to ABC 13 WHAM, Brinsley pleaded guilty to “theft, property damage, possession of a gun by a felon and discharging a gun near a public park” in Cobb County, Georgia in 2011. The gun he used in the crime was a .25 caliber semi-automatic which he stole before opening fire on a gold Chevy Malibu.

In that instance, no amount of gun control would have stopped Brinsley: He sidestepped every law to acquire his firearm unlawfully.

More here…

ISIS and other jihadi organizations are at war with us. This war is taking place on battlefields all over the world, including on American soil. Failure to recognize this jihad as a real, ongoing war of Islam against the non-Muslim world is the road to defeat.

19 December (06 December old calendar), 2014: Sermon for St. Nicholas

by 1389AD ( 45 Comments › )
Filed under Christianity, History, Orthodox Christianity at December 19th, 2014 - 7:00 am

From: Archimandrite Philip (Speranza)
Sent: Saturday, December 13, 2014 7:26 AM

Everybody loves jolly ol’ Saint Nicholas, right? But in truth, the “jolly old elf” of Clement Clarke Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” a pipe-smoking grandpa with a bucket full of coal for naughty boys who don’t eat their cauliflower, is fantasy and a far cry from the wiry bishop who, at the 1st Ecumenical Council, pulled Arius’ beard and punched him in the face for teaching heresy.

Still, some of our images of St. Nicholas are reality-based. Consider our picture of Santa Claus (a corruption of the Dutch “Sinterklaas,” “St. Nicholas”) as the gift-bringer. That’s rooted in the real St. Nicholas tossing three bags of gold through a worried father’s window. Why? Let’s begin at the beginning. Nicholas was born in Lycia on the southwest coast of modern Turkey. His wealthy, pious parents, Theophanes and Nonna, read the Bible to him and faithfully taught him his prayers, but died while he was still young. His uncle, Bishop Nicholas of Patara, ordained young Nicholas a priest and made him his personal assistant. The zealous youth proved himself an inspiring catechist in the Christian community and an obedient servant to his uncle. During these years he showed great kind-heartedness and generosity by distributing his inheritance to the poor.

And it was during this time, when the three grown daughters of a formerly rich inhabitant were in danger of being sold into prostitution because of their father’s pennilessness, that young Nicholas literally threw his money around. Hearing of their plight, young Nicholas secretly visited the man’s house at night and threw a bag of gold in at the window to provide a dowry for one of the girls. The eldest daughter was soon married, and Nicholas again made secret donations for the other two daughters, with equally happy results. And according to one version of the story, one of St. Nicholas’ gifts landed in a sock that was hanging by the fire to dry.

But what’s crucial here is that Nicholas lived the truth of Proverbs 14:21, that “he who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.” To put it another way, the “old elf” was jolly because he’s generous. And he was generous because, firstly of all, he looked beyond himself, and took the time and made the effort to notice what was happening to other people, like that family. Others likely stayed away from them, because a man who’d lost his fortune was “bad luck” or “bad news” or just plain “bad.” But St. Nicholas took the Lord Jesus at His word in Matthew 25:40, “Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” And secondly, Nicholas took Sacred Scripture seriously when, in 2 Corinthians 9:11 the Apostle teaches that we “are enriched in everything for all liberality [generosity];” that whatever we have over and above our own needs God intends us to share with the poor. Nicholas had a heart for obedience to the written word of God and the living Word of God, Jesus Christ; and he both talked the talk and walked the walk.

When he was young, St. Nicholas made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During the voyage, a fierce storm came up; but through the prayers of the saint, the waves were calmed, and passengers and crew were saved. When he returned some three years later to Asia Minor, Nicholas was made archbishop of Myra. Difficult years followed for the archbishop and his flock, forced underground by the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s brutal, pitiless persecution of Christians. The archbishop, himself in hiding, nonetheless did his best to encourage his people, until the day he too was betrayed and thrown into prison. In jail Nicholas continued to sustain and exhort his fellow believers to endure torture and death for the love of Christ. Mercifully, Diocletian’s died; the persecution ended; and Nicholas was released and returned to his duties.

As a bishop, Nicholas attended the first Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in AD 325, where he assailed the heretic Arius. In the middle of his hearing, Arius stood up on his seat in order to be better heard. Enraged by Arius’ denial that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, Nicholas lost it, strode quickly over to Arius, pulled him down by his beard, and punched him in the face. The scandalized Council fathers sprang upon Nicholas, stripped him of his omophorion (defrocked him as a bishop), and threw him in prison for his brutish behavior. That night Nicholas was visited by the Theotokos who loosed his bonds and vested him again in his apostolic garb. The bishops, astonished by this miracle, realized that Nicholas’ anger, although improperly expressed, was nonetheless righteous; and he was honorably restored to his episcopal see.

During one session of the Council, Nicholas appeared to be dozing. But he actually appeared miraculously to and by his intercession saved sailors whose ship was in danger of sinking during a storm at sea. The Council fathers resentfully charged Nicholas with sleeping through the entire council, whereupon the saint answered, “While you were talking, I was busy rescuing a disaster-driven ship at sea.” Some of the pious brethren took the ship to be a metaphor for the Church. Others dismissed his words as the babblings of an old man. But not long after the council, the rescued sailors returned safely home and, traveling through Myra, recognized Nicholas as their deliverer. Not surprisingly, every Orthodox Christian sailor for the past 1500 years has sailed under the protection of St. Nicholas.

Archbishop Nicholas peacefully fell asleep in the Lord on December 6, 343. He was immediately recognized as a saint and the patron of travelers; and Christians around the world still seek his intercession to be delivered from flood, poverty, or any misfortune. St. Nicholas’ incorrupt relics were venerated for centuries in the local cathedral church of Myra. Like those of many other saints, his bones exude sweet-smelling myrrh, through which God has worked many miracles of healing for those anointed with it. During the Middle Ages the Turks conquered Byzantine Asia Minor and were a constant threat to Christianity in that region. In 1087, solicitous for the safety of St. Nicholas’ venerable remains, Italian sailors, who were devoted to this saint, plotted to steal the body and in May of that year brought it back to their home village. St. Nicholas’ relics were thus taken from Myra to the city of Bari, where the saint’s body continues to exude holy myrrh 17 centuries after his death. Every year, on May 9th, the rector of the basilica in Bari crawls into a small opening in the crypt to drain the holy myrrh out of St. Nicholas’ tomb into a glass jar. The myrrh is diluted with water and serves as anointing oil for pilgrims to Bari from across the globe, including the late Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kiev, of blessed memory.

Sadly, here in North America, we’ve forgotten the true St. Nicholas, who’s not nearly as much fun as our Santa: a funny, fat, white-bearded egalitarian who gives kids whatever they want (and knitted sweaters from Grandma that they don’t want) whether they were nice or naughty, because he’s a fair Santa. The real St. Nicholas seems to just spoil the story. (And if children stop believing in the Santa who flies down from the North Pole with his reindeer, won’t they stop getting presents?) And if we tell Orthodox children different St. Nicholas stories, won’t it wreck Christmas for someone’s precious child when she hears one of our kids tell her at school: “Santa doesn’t live at the North Pole. He sleeps by the Adriatic Sea, sweating off myrrh for lame pilgrims”?

Maybe. But telling the truth is not being a spoil-sport; it’s spreading the good news. The wonderful reality of St. Nicholas’ life is that he deeply loved the Lord Jesus Christ and so ardently believed Christmas is about the incarnation of God that even at the risk of his own life he took the Lord Jesus at His word when, in Luke 12:8, the Lord promises, “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God;” and he was willing to courageously proclaim and defend his faith, despite Diocletian’s tortures. And if he accosted the deceiving unbeliever Arius, it was because the real St. Nicholas was passionate enough to both defend the truth of Christ’s divinity and provide just reproof to a sinner. It’s a privilege to be corrected from the Word of God by a godly person, even if Arius was too foolish to receive it. As Proverbs 17:10 so wisely observes, “A rebuke goes deeper into a wise man than a hundred blows into a fool.”

Look: far from being unexciting or overly religious, the real story of the real St. Nicholas is exactly the gift kids (and grownups) need today. Most of us do not need more stuff. What we do need is someone who inspires our moral imagination and both challenges and encourages us in the virtues of love, generosity, courage, justice, and evangelism. And through his example of following Jesus Christ no matter what, St. Nicholas gives us exactly that gift we so need.

Much more here.

PSA: Before selling a vehicle, be sure to remove all advertising stickers and logos

by 1389AD ( 88 Comments › )
Filed under Cars & Trucks, Jihad, Open thread, Syria, Terrorism at December 18th, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Texas City is a busy deep water Gulf Coast seaport. While we may never know how the truck got to Syria, it is possible that the vehicle was stolen from a used car lot or other subsequent owner and then sent to the Middle East in a shipping container.

Older vehicles are likelier to be stolen because they lack anti-theft electronic keying systems. It’s wise to install anti-theft mechanisms on any work truck that carries advertising decals and insignia, and to remove or paint over these insignia before disposing of the vehicle.

BizPac Review: Shocked Texas plumber’s former work truck shows up in jihad terror mission photo; his phone blows up

(h/t: Grumpy Elder)

Former Mark-1 plumbing truck

It doesn’t always pay to advertise.

That’s what a Texas plumber is learning after getting barraged with threats from people who’ve seen a Ford truck he used to own show up in a picture posted on Twitter by an Islamist militant group — fighting in Syria!

Mark Oberholtzer, the longtime owner/operator of Mark-1 Plumbing in Texas City, told the Galveston Daily News he doesn’t have a clue how his old truck ended up in Syria. But he wishes it hadn’t – particularly with the distinctive “Mark-1 Plumbing” decal on the driver’s side a door and an anti-aircraft gun blazing away in the bed.

He said he sold the truck three years ago, and expected the decals would have been removed by the dealer.

AutoNation told KHOU-TV that the truck would have likely been sold at auction and would have changed owners multiple times before ending up in Syria.

“How it ended up in Syria, I’ll never know,” he told the Daily News.

The phone calls started Monday, he said. By the next day, more than a 1,000 calls and faxes had come in, he said – some of them threatening.

“A few of the people are really ugly,” Oberholtzer said.

Oberholtzer’s son, Jeff, was amazed by the turn of events.

“To think something we would use to pull trailers, now is being used for terror, it’s crazy,” he told KHOU. “Never in my lifetime would think something like that.”

Seriously, who would?

More here.

Not every vehicle shipped overseas is stolen. But too many of them are: