"The children are educated from an early age to become martyrs in their youth, like their fathers, and their training is carried out by the Mahdi Scouts youth organization... [This organization], which is affiliated with Hizbullah, teaches the children the basic principles of Shi'ite ideology and of Hizbullah's ideology... The first lesson that the children are taught by Hizbullah is 'The Disappearance of Israel,' and it is always an important part of the [training] program...
"The Mahdi Scouts organization was founded in Lebanon on May 5, 1985... According to the organization's website, the number of [scouts] who had undergone training by the end of 2004 was 1,491, and the number of scout groups which had joined [the organization] was 449, with a membership of 41,960. According to the organization's most recent statistics, since 2004, 120 of its members have been ready to become martyrs.
"The organization's goal is to train an exemplary generation of Muslims based on the [principle of] 'the rule of the jurisprudent' [a founding principle of the Islamic Revolution in Iran], and to prepare for the coming of the Imam Mahdi [the Shi'ite messiah]. Its members, including the children, undertake to obey their commanders, to bring honor to the [Muslim] nation, and to prepare themselves for helping the Mahdi [when he comes]."
"A Nation With Child-Martyrs Will Be Victorious"
According to the article, Na'im Qasim, deputy to Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, said in an interview on Radio Canada: "A nation with child-martyrs will be victorious, no matter what difficulties lie in its path. Israel cannot conquer us or violate our territories, because we have martyr sons who will purge the land of the Zionist filth... This will be done through the blood of the martyrs, until we eventually achieve our goals."
Thursday, August 31, 2006
It would be a devil of a job exorcising Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but it would be doing the world a favour.
Like so many other despots like Saddam Hussein who dabble in the occult, Ahmadinejad has laid claim to having supernatural powers.
The Iranian president says that he found himself bathed in light throughout a speech he delivered at the UN. This was not a manmade light of any kind; it was, he said, a light from heaven.
With crackpots ducking in and out of the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld-inspired Meditation Room and with UN physic in residence Sri Chinmoy going about reading peoples’ palms, you never know. But one thing for sure, God does not live at the UN. Nor does he even stop by to visit.
Here is how the loquacious Ahmadinejad describes his self-prescribed halo: "On the last day when I was speaking, one of our group told me that when I started to say `Bismillah Muhammad’, he saw a green light come from around me, and I was placed inside this aura," he says. "I felt it myself. I felt that the atmosphere suddenly changed, and for those 27 or 28 minutes, all the leaders of the world did not blink. When I say they didn’t move an eyelid, I’m not exaggerating. They were looking as if a hand was holding them there, and had just opened their eyes–Alhamduillah!"
Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic is following reaction to exorcist Gabriel Amorth's comments here.
I have not the faintest idea how God hears, but I do know what He hears and it is the cry born of true contrition. It is the property of mercy always to respond to that cry. That is the cry God wants to hear, made without guile, with no affectation or pretence, rent without reservation from the pure, unadulterated honesty of a truly broken and contrite heart.
Then, through the Grace of God, we may look, still in fear and trembling, to the promise of Jesus Christ to the contrite, He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. The cry of the Publican, the cry of the genuinely contrite heart is truly the cry of glory. God be merciful to me, a sinner.
In this couple, the husband is the "romantic one" in the ordinary sense of the word.
In my ongoing attempts to bridge the linguistic chasm between the sexes, I thought I had the meaning of one word down pat: "romantic." After all, how hard is it to define that word?
"Romantic" is a moonlit walk hand-in-hand along the beach. Or a quiet candlelit dinner for two at a quaint out-of-the-way country inn. Or a late night torchlit champagne dip in a backyard whirlpool.
Whatever "romantic" meant, I knew it had to be at night, involve my wife and include a word ending with the suffix "lit." Even a flashlight-lit night camping in a tent should qualify by my reckoning.
But apparently "romantic" has a far more flexible and mysterious meaning, if my wife's lexicon is any indication.
On more than one occasion, Cheryl has suggested some work-related endeavor that the two of us could pursue together. Something like digging up the garden or assembling a piece of IKEA furniture. When proposing such a project, she invariably closes by saying "it would be romantic."
Hilarious. But often women are the romantics and find it odd that candle-lit dinners mean nothing to their husbands, but running the old Filter Queen over the carpets will put a smile on their faces.
I once imagined writing a screenplay or a comical novel about two "mismatched" couples, a romantic woman with a practical man and a practical woman with a romantic man.
The romantics in each couple meet and have an affair. They eventually move in together. The practicals team up at first to commiserate with each other, then they think maybe they would be more compatible. Well, the romantic couple is soon knee-deep in clutter, the trash never gets taken out and soon they're fighting like crazy about who's to blame. Meanwhile, the practical couple is arguing over the best method for alphabetizing the spice rack and find their life together is stultifying.
The four eventually come to realize the terrible mistake they made and return to their original pairings. The romantic needed the practical for grounding and the practical needed the romantic for a sense of imagination and adventure. They complete each other. Too bad we don't recognize that.
But it only has four students this year. The usual number is 10-12. This is a crime.
Here's a post I wrote over at the new blog C.R.A.P. about Augustine College. The picture shows the breakfast seminar in a pub where a group of University of Ottawa professors sketched out the vision for Augustine College on a napkin. This is an excellent program for intellectual and spiritual formation.
We have a challenge before us. Not only as writers and readers but as torchbearers for literature that we can pass on to future generations. But I fear it is going to be a thankless and difficult task.
There's a little one year college that a group of University Ottawa professors set up ten years ago as a labor of love. All Christians, but from many different disciplines, they realized that as they all worked in their little silos that the whole idea of a university had been lost, that everyone was specializing and no one was educating students to show how the various disciplines were related. So, they sketched out the idea for Augustine College on a napkin during one of the breakfast seminars they'd started for fellowship and soon the college was born. It's operated on a shoe string but has been a life-changing experience for the young men and women who have gone there to study the history of the Church, the history of mathematics, science, art, music and literature, with some Latin and some philosophy thrown in as well. Very demanding program with a massive reading list, but the kids that leave this program leave with a grounding in the basics of our civilization and the ability to think critically. While the professors are Christian, they are multi-denominational. There is a stress on Christian community but this is not a Bible college, it is way, way more than that.
But...I found out this morning they only have four students this year. Most years they've had about twelve. It's their tenth anniversary, and they're still having trouble getting the word out. Here are Christians who are being faithful, who are doing some wonderful things, who have been obedient, but they labor in obscurity, on a shoestring and this might end up being the last year if things don't perk up soon.
If you know of a young person wondering what to do with his or her life who might be interested, it's not to late to get in for this year and there might even be some scholarship money available. I can't speak highly enough about this institution.
Francine Prose, an acclaimed author and longtime creative writing teacher, opens her essay in the 2006 Fiction issue with a question: "Can writing be taught?" As she sees it, some aspects of writing, such as judicious editing of one’s own work, can be cultivated. But others, particularly the “gift for storytelling,” cannot be learned.
That's interesting, because I have run across people who want to be journalists who don't know what a story is. They may be exceptionally bright and articulate. They may be able to write excellent essays or opinion pieces. But they don't know a story and they don't know how to tell one.
There's other good advice in this article. Read it.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
As an adult, though, I still am preoccupied with the question. It is not so much would I tell, as in betray secrets, but would I betray my Lord, Jesus Christ if doing so would spare me torture, or spare my life. I know that without grace, I betray Christ all the time for lesser reasons: a job, even human approval. But I would like to be the kind of Christian who would be steadfast.
I often meditate on these verses from Revelation 12:
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
The story about the two kidnapped Fox News journalists who converted to Islam before being released returns me to these verses. I hope and pray that God would prepare me and give me the grace in the moment so I would not betray Christ and convert at the point of a sword. I'm not the only one who's been thinking about this.
Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic entitled her post "Go ahead and shoot me"
I guess they weren't really Christians or whatever in the first place, so it doesn't matter much to them. What God thinks, I couldn't tell you; Peter denied Christ three times and is still a saint...
David Warren writes about this forced conversion in the Ottawa Citizen today.
The degree to which our starch is awash is exhibited in the behaviour of so many of our captives, but especially in these two. They were told to convert to Islam under implicit threat (blindfolded and hand-tied, they could not judge what threat), and agreed to make the propaganda broadcasts to guarantee their own safety. That much we can understand, as conventional cowardice. (Understand; not forgive.) But it is obvious from their later statements that they never thought twice; that they could see nothing wrong in serving the enemy, so long as it meant they’d be safe.
I assume they are not Christians (few journalists are), but had they ever been instructed in that faith, they might have grasped that conversion to Islam means denial of Christ, and that is something many millions of Christians (few of them intellectuals) have refused to do, even at the cost of excruciating deaths. Christianity still lives, because of such martyrs. Not suicide bombers: but truly defenceless martyrs.
You don’t necessarily have to be a Christian, to be Western. Two years ago, an heroic Italian captive, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, asked to make whimpering statements as part of the video of his execution in Iraq, ripped at his hood and instead declared, “This is how an Italian dies!” to his contemptible captors. He must have upset them: for they shot him instead of sawing off his head. In making his stand for human dignity, he also turned one of their propaganda videos, into one of ours.
He concludes (and I think he is absolutely right):
I created a scene with a column, many years ago, when I wrote about the young men in the corridors of the University of Montreal, who stood by and watched while Gamil Garbi (alias Marc Lépine) shot fourteen women to death. To a man (if you could call them men), they explained afterwards, “We couldn’t do anything, he had a gun.” As I pointed out at the time, we have bred young men who will stand by and watch a psychopath shoot defenceless women, so long as he assures them he will not shoot them. And we have bred the young women these young men deserve.
Men without chests, men without character, men who don’t think twice.
Read the whole thing, because Warren talks about the propaganda value these conversions have for the Islamic fascists, how they show the West's weakness and moral decadence.
Dr. Sanity wrote:
I am very glad that Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were released and I wish them well in recovering from their ordeal (Malkin has details). But, must we all be subjected once again to psychologically traumatized people saying things under duress as if it means something other than the fact that their kidnappers are barbaric thugs?
OTTAWA, Canada (CCN) – The Alliance for Marriage and Family (AMF) has filed a factum in the so-called “three parents case,” saying its member groups have a “common cause” to protect the “traditional family unit in Canadian society and law.”
The case, which comes before the Ontario Court of Appeal Sept. 25-26 in Toronto, involves a lesbian couple raising a child conceived by artificial insemination. Both women want to be considered the legal mother of the child. The biological father is also actively involved in the child’s life. If their case is successful, it will mark the first time a child would have three legally recognized parents.
The AMF, composed of the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL), REAL Women of Canada, the Evangelical Fellowship (EFC), Focus on the Family, and the Christian Legal Fellowship, opposes the change on the basis that the law has always recognized two parents for a child.
“This is effectively providing an impetus for affirmation of multiple or group parenting rights,” said CCRL president Phil Horgan in a telephone interview with Canadian Catholic News.
But perhaps the West, cushioned by its material wealth, has altogether too much to lose for it to care about faith or freedom any more. Mark Steyn, currently touring Australia on a speaking tour, asks whether the West can rouse itself from ennui just long enough to feel the knife at its throat. And the horrifying thing is that Steyn on the hustings swings his lamp and cheerfully calls out for company in a dark, unanswering cultural night made all the more tenebrous by the bright Antipodean sunshine. What Deity, race or tribe might we still raise against the horde of Basiji?
My own guess is that neither Israel nor the West at large can long resist radical Islam without some sustaining faith of its own, a faith it will not find unless it makes up its mind to look for it. Men will fight on for as long as there is something left to fight for and not otherwise. Despair comes when we are finally convinced that even our hopes are futile. Winston Smith’s final question in 1984’s Room 101 after having despaired of the existence of God was to ask after the possibility of freedom: the existence of the Brotherhood, the only resistance to Big Brother.
(Winston)”Does the Brotherhood exist?”
(O’Brien) “That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.”
That is the weakness of reason, Winston Smith’s weakness: to stop when there is no reason to continue. And that is the power of faith: to go on without the answers, but to go on.
Gatewaypundit is on the story.
He links to a MSM story that says officials say there is no link to terrorism.
Nekrawesh said that Popal had gone to Afghanistan two months ago for an arranged wedding and that his wife is still there, awaiting immigration clearance. He said Popal was born in Afghanistan but came to California as a young boy. He grew up in Hayward and moved about three years ago to Fremont, where he lives with his parents, a brother and two sisters.
The family, Nekrawesh said, was upset by the news. "They're all sad. The little sisters were crying. The mother was crying," he said.
Officials said they have not determined a motive for the attacks, but they said there is no evidence of a link to terrorism.
That's the problem, folks. As long as we see ourselves in a War on Terror, which is a tactic, we will miss the ideology that we're really at war with: Islamofascism, a viral hybrid of radical Islam and modern totalitarian ideas. That ideology can prompt any individual to carry out his own personal mission.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Welcome Relapsed Catholic Readers!
What a delight to read Kathy Shaidle's words about The Defilers on one of my favorite blogs this morning:
PS: Deborah's debut, The Defilers, is the first fiction book I've read in years. When she sent it to me, she described it as "an airport novel", and indeed, some smart mass market paperback publisher should snap it up. This police procedural has it all: exorcisms and the occult, murder, cultish kiddie p*rn, romance -- but Deborah didn't win this year's Best New Canadian Christian Fiction Award for nothing. Believe it or not, she manages to tell this twisted mystery tale without graphic sex scenes -- or even swearing -- but this isn't "goodie goodie" tacky "Christian" fiction, either.
Each chapter is a cliff-hanger. It was a fun, yet reverent read, with lots of unexpected plot twists (and characters who aren't who you think they are...) to keep you guessing. I think most of my readers would be quite touched by the angry heroine's faltering journey back to the faith.
Deborah's own faith history is harrowing in its own way. She has more about the book, including reviews, at her site.
Other good news on the book front. I received this in an email from Sonia Jones, bestselling author of It All Began With Daisy. I met Sonia and her husband Gordon in Halifax, and both of them came to my book signing August 19 at Blessings Christian Marketplace in Halifax. The top photo shows me on the left and Sonia on the right. Journalist Nicole Myshak took both photos.
I knew it was going to be a suspenseful mystery, well written and well crafted, but it was all that and much more. Reading your book taught me not only a great deal about structuring an exciting plot, but it also reinforced the notion that a great writer can manage to get across some very deep information within a popular genre. It's a hard thing to do, but all the best writers manage to succeed in that way. Cervantes did it, and so did Dickens, Balzac, Galdos, and Gyapong. I found myself turning the pages and reading fast to find out what would happen next, but at the same time I did a lot of thinking and shed the occasional tear. Writing in the first person was quite a tour de force, since the narrator had to spy, eavesdrop, and hide a few times in order to let the reader know what was in the minds of some of the other characters, but she didn't have to do that very often... which again shows the skill of the writer. The very fact that the narrator didn't know what was in the other characters' minds allowed her to be wrong sometimes, too, without making the reader feel hoodwinked. So thanks for a great read.
The second picture shows my friend Actor, Writer and Comedian Judy Savoy and myself at Blessings Christian Marketplace in Halifax August 19 for a book signing.
My fellow Master's Artist Donna Shepherd has reviewed The Defilers here. I respond to her review here.
I'll be going to Dallas, Texas Sept. 21-24 for the American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference. Most of the Masters Artists will be attending, so I'll get a chance to meet my online friends.
The Defilers is now on the shelves in Chapters stores in the Ottawa area. It's also available at Salem Storehouse and Prime Crime Books in the Glebe.
If you'd like to hear my testimony, listen to the Michael Harris Live interview on CFRA 580 AM here.
Pictures of the June 1 Ottawa launch of The Defilers here, a news release on the event here, and Pastor Doug Ward's remarks at the launch here. Doug, who pastors Kanata Baptist Church, was my M.C.
For more on The Defilers, go here. If you'd like to buy a copy, you can go here or find it on Amazon here. Canadians can find it at Amazon.ca here.
"In all my life, I have never known anyone else to concentrate so deeply on writing or work so hard at writing as John. He enjoyed the very act of writing, of wiggling a pencil along to form words, even if only making out a laundry list."
-- John Steinbeck: The Errant Knight, by Nelson Valjean
Nelson Valjean asked his friend, the very private John Steinbeck, for permission to write his biography. The answer was no. Nevertheless, Mr. Valjean, an inveterate newspaperman, book and magazine editor, compulsively interviewed Steinbeck's teachers, relatives and contemporaries.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Lorette Noble, the new national president of Catholic Women's League, hopes to build the organization's profile by focusing on the theme "love one another" for her two-year term.
Noble has been active in the national CWL leadership since she became Quebec's provincial president in 1993. She was installed as national president during the league's national convention in Halifax Aug. 13-16. She takes the helm from Agnes Bedard of Calgary.
In an interview, Noble said she sees her theme as a continuation and enrichment of previous themes.
Her vision, she said, is that in living out the theme "love one another," members will become more enthusiastic, and that will help others to "look at what we are and celebrate it."
A "terrible mistake was made" when Parliament redefined marriage last year, says Pembroke, Ont., Bishop Richard Smith.
Speaking to the national convention of the Catholic Women's League Aug. 15, Smith told more than 800 delegates that a promised vote this fall gives a "rare second chance" to revisit the issue.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Maybe if Artur Pawlowski had been holding a flag of the outlawed terrorist organization Hezbollah, Calgary Police would have left him alone.
Perhaps had they seen him on a street corner smoking crack cocaine -- or selling it -- they would have turned the other cheek, as is so often the case.
But Pawlowski was clearly doing something much more provocative Wednesday afternoon on the corner of 17 Ave. and 8 St. S.W. He -- along with about six other people -- were praying and reading the Bible.
Pawlowski, 33, who has been helping the homeless for years, gave up his lucrative home-building business last year to start up The Street Church full-time.
Monday, August 21, 2006
You can't draw a line between the Christian and the non-Christian, between the evangelical and the non-evangelical, between us and them, and declare everything on one side safe and everything on the other suspect, and then expect the task of discernment to consist of moving people and things like so many checker pieces to one side or another of that line. For one thing, every person and thing is tainted by the fall, which means there are no pure influences under the sun. For another, God's grace and truth are active throughout creation, which means that not only do we get lies from truthtellers, but we also get the truth from liars.
To be discerning, you have to be critically engaged with a particular influence, sifting it, taking from it what is profitable. So you can't be discerning about something and ignorant of it at the same time. Probably the biggest complaint the watchbloggers get from the people they adjudicate against is, "You don't know what you're talking about." And you know what? When I see someone who claims to have knowledge on a wide variety of topics -- enough to be discerning on behalf of the rest of us -- but who is constantly told by those who do have such knowledge that they don't -- well, I start beleiving it. How many times has someone with a minimal knowledge of the subject come along, pontificated long enough to establish "the Christian position on X" and then moved on? Ideas have consequences, but so do seat-of-the-pants accusations.
If you can convince children that objective reality is an illusion; that A does not equal A; that black is white; and that good is bad; if you can make them accept that everything is subjective and relative; then you own them. They will believe any drivel. Through the appropriate manipulation of language, everything can be distorted, without the messy need to resort to facts, logic, or reason.
Without a rational metaphysics--or worldview--that explains the nature of existence and reality; and without an epistemology that says our minds are able to acquire knowledge of that reality; then it is easy to enforce conformity, totalitarian thinking, and political passivity.
Ethics, or the study of how man should behave in the world--or, what is good and what is evil--is totally dependent on both metaphysics and epistemology, because it is impossible to make choices withoug knowledge; just as it is impossible to have knowledge without a reality that can be known by our minds.
What matters in the postmodernist's convoluted thinking is not truth or falsity--only the effectiveness of the language used. Lies, distortions, ad hominem attacks; attempts to silence opposing views--all are strategies that are perfectly satisfactory if they achieve the desired effect. Ideas and reason must make way for reification of feelings; and freedom is replaced by thought control.
My father's alcoholism tore our family apart. His actions shaped my life, crippled my emotions, reverberate inside me to this day. In many ways, he has caused me to sin. But somewhere behind that facade, underneath his rage, was a "little one" whimpering alone in a dark closet.
People aren't born to be alcoholics, thieves and serial killers. There are processes that get them there. While the law may address the crime it cannot address these processes, these "warring instincts," these spiritual, psychological and sociological forces that make monsters out of men.
On August 9, I spoke at a devotional breakfast Wednesday a.m. August 9 at the Christian Booksellers of Canada trade show in Ancaster, Ontario.
From August 14-21 I'll be in Nova Scotia, covering the Catholic Women's League national convention in Halifax some of the time and visiting with my friend Judy Savoy, who is a gifted actor, writer and comedian.
Saturday August 19 I will have two book events in Nova Scotia. From 10:30 a.m. to noon I'll be at Blessings Christian Marketplace in Halifax. From 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. I'll be at the Blessings store in Dartmouth.
The Defilers is now on the shelves in Chapters stores in the Ottawa area. It's also available at Salem Storehouse and Prime Crime Books in the Glebe.
If you'd like to hear my testimony, listen to the Michael Harris Live interview on CFRA 580 AM, click here.
Pictures of the June 1 Ottawa launch of The Defilers here, a news release on the event here, and Pastor Doug Ward's remarks at the launch here. Doug, who pastors Kanata Baptist Church, was my M.C.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
The missionary effort of the Church toward this group has been at least on the surface, a failure, for the Moslems are so far almost unconvertible. The reason is that for a follower of Mohammed to become a Christian is much like a Christian becoming a Jew. The Moslems believe that they have the final and definitive revelation of God to the world and that Christ was only a prophet announcing Mohammed, the last of Gods real prophets.
At the present time, the hatred of the Moslem countries against the West is becoming a hatred against Christianity itself. Although the statesmen have not yet taken it into account, there is still grave danger that the temporal power of Islam may return and, with it, the menace that it may shake off a West which has ceased to be Christian, and affirm itself as a great anti-Christian world power. Moslem writers say, When the locust swarms darken countries, they bear on their wings these Arabic words: We are Gods host, each of us has ninety-nine eggs, and if we had a hundred, we should lay waste the world, with all that is in it.
Read the whole thing. Most interesting.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Jack Todd ("Time for conservatives to let go of the moral monopoly on marriage," Gazette, Aug. 5) is breathtaking in the range of unjustified assumptions, prejudices, insults, ignorance and hatred of religion and religious people that he displays.
First, he assumes that anyone who opposes same-sex marriage is anti-gay, intolerant, bigoted and unfair, and does not respect human rights. I oppose same-sex marriage, yet I do not believe those descriptions would be accurate if applied to me.
I support respect for homosexuals and their rights, in particular, civil unions, but I also support the rights of children. Same-sex marriage presents a clash between these two sets of rights. I choose children for a range of ethical reasons, including that they are the most vulnerable group, they have no choice, and same-sex marriage is a radical social experiment on them.
"Where does a writer's inspiration come from?" Hughes asked.
I sighed. It was a trick question, I knew, because that's the only kind of question Hughes asks. Still, I played along, hoping to teach him a thing or two. So in my haughtiest textbook voice, I answered: "Inspiration comes from two sources: life and art."
Hughes templed his fingers and adopted an annoying contemplative expression, like he was on the verge of making a pronouncment. Only it was a long time in coming -- and I could see why. I might as well have said that inspiration comes from everything, since 'life and art' pretty much covers it all. He was going to have a hard time finding fault with my answer.
"Inspiration," he said, "comes from experiencing the work of others."
"I said life and art, Hughes. Art is work by other people, and I agree that it can be very inspiring. Sometimes when I draw a blank, sitting down with a good book fills me with all sorts of ideas. In fact, reading a bad book can prompt me, too. Or reading a how-to book. Almost any kind of book can do it. But you can't say that's the only source of inspiration because there's also life experience."
Separating character from craft, the artist from her art, is a necessary, but often difficult act to perform. Chesterton said, “Art is the signature of man.” As such, the line between the art and the man is indeed fine.
And it's this notion of "lines" that blurs the issue.
Some would suggest there are none. For the most part, art criticism is a subjective affair, an inexact science. Even more murky, however, is the definition and critique of character. While postmodernism broadens the pallete of art appreciation, it also erodes traditional standards to which artists (and people in general) were once held. As a result, we develop tolerance for -- even acceptance of -- the quirks and indiscretions of the creative community. Nowadays, good work eclipses good behavior. So what if the glitterati can't pass a piss test or keep their pants on. As long as they write good songs and make decent movies, we'll continue to wink at their misconduct.
Read the whole post. He makes some great points.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
This is amazing. Not that I find it surprising, mind you, that news agencies are propaganda organs for Hezbollah. But usually it is not this deliberate, just people thinking they are being objective by giving equal time to all sides, and suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome. A sad day for the MSM. A great day for the blogosphere. Someone said that Qana was the tipping point. This, I hope, will push the whole propaganda edifice over the abyss.
Now Reuters has suspended the photographer.
On Friday afternoon, I sat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with a group of intercessors and we prayed that the lies of the news media would be exposed. I consider this an answered prayer.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
". . . here we are in a war with Islamic fundamentalism, and many on the left seem to think that the U.S. is at risk in having a Christian theocracy imposed and that the Bushitler is more dangerous than Bin Laden.
During the 2004 Presidential campaign, one of my friends was so pre-occupied by this issue, she literally could not understand why I would vote for Bush, since it was clear to her that he intended to usher in a religious state.
Since that time, I can't help but have noticed that all the women of my acquaintance are now wearing nun habits; that holy communion is being forced down the throats of unrepentant leftists; and that there has been a dramatic decline in sexually explicit material everywhere as the purveyors of same have been rounded up and summarily executed by the religious police.
Why, last week I (a professed, unrepentant agnostic) was forced to enter a church to obtain sustenance (they were having a bake sale).
Friday, August 04, 2006
At least 14 children were murdered Wednesday in Baghdad while playing soccer at two different fields where terrorists had buried bombs in the pitch hoping to kill the children who would be playing ball there.
Why isn't the news media focusing itsoutrage on terrorists deliberately targeting children? Why would they rather focus on Israeli attacks such as the one in Qana that was probably faked? Who has killed far more Muslim civilians than the Israelis?
What I don't understand, is why all the civilian casualties in Iraq are being treated as if the United States is responsible for them, as if they are "caused by" the so-called occupation.
It's all horrifying. Maybe too horrifying for journalists who have a vested interest in certain paradigms about human nature and its perfectability---you know the drill--if you only take away the "bad system" (and Western Civilization is responsible with its patriarchy, colonization and the dread ideas of dead white men) and remove the provocation, then everything will be hunkey-dorey and we can all get along ala Rodney King.
I don't think so.
(Please follow all the updates over at EU Referendum.
Here's another piece of evidence that seems to support that view. The green-helmeted rescue worker also happens to be a mortician, who has been riding around with a refrigerated truck full of corpses. That same "rescue-worker" was present ten years ago displaying children's corpses to photographers.
Based on these descriptions, it seems highly likely that Abu Shadi the mortician and Abu Shadi the green-helmeted "civil defense worker" are one and the same. And, in the double role, Abu Shadi was among the first to arrive, before the media did, with his refrigerated truck that in recent days had been carrying around corpses.
"The refrigerated truck that bodies are stored in had just emptied the day before with a mass burial. It is already filling up again, with the bodies of children. "
We have pictures of Abu Shadi Jradi standing by the refrigerator truck, corpse in hand, and then, in different dress, posing with the same corpse in a different location.
Complicating the naming issue is a video which shows him at Qana, addressed in Arabic by a journalist by the named of "Abdel Qader" although -- as in the case of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Yasser Arafat (Abu Amar) and many others -- the "Abu" may be a nom de guerre.
The tantalizing question, which may never be answered, is this: was Abu Shadi's refrigerated truck empty when he arrived at Qana that morning?
EU Referendum also has a piece about the man in a white t-shirt, whose home is a shrine to Hezbollah.
As one of our forum members remarked – what more do you need – a director's chair with "Hezbollah" on it?
Yes, many in this country stubbornly believe the United States, let alone Israel, is not an entirely innocent party in this war. They believe, variously, that terrorists have legitimate grievances that can be mollified through negotiation, that we can rectify those grievances by altering our "imperialistic" policies and that Muslim terrorists have a right to be outraged that we attacked Iraq and had the audacity to help the Iraqis establish a political system whereby they could choose their own leaders instead of submitting to an unelected dictator.
They believe the terrorists have a right to be outraged at our consistent support of the Israelis, which are no different from the terrorists and allegedly have no greater claim to the Holy Land than the Palestinians. They believe the Palestinians are victims who are willing to live in peace with Israel if it will just cede a little more land, and a little more land, and a little more land, and that the United States has no moral authority in demanding the cessation of Iran's nuclear weapons program since we have the world's most formidable nuclear arsenal ourselves. They believe that if we hadn't attacked Iraq, the terrorists wouldn't be so mad at us and might not be at war against us.
So what if they finally badger our policy makers into withdrawing from Iraq before the Iraqi security forces are capable of assuming the job themselves? Will this withdrawal make us less of a target for the terrorists? Or will we have to withdraw our support for Israel as well? Perhaps join the terrorists in attacking Israel? How about our presence in Saudi Arabia?
The uncomplicated answer is that no matter what we do, policy-wise, we will remain infidels with gigantic bull's-eyes on our backs unless we renounce our capitalistic ways, destroy our churches and synagogues, outlaw our pluralistic religious society, convert to a radical Islamic theocracy and join the global jihad en route to a worldwide caliphate.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
So, when metropolitan columnists say Mel's movie makes you want to go Jew-bashing, they're really engaging in a bit of displaced Christian-bashing. Ever since 9/11, there's been a lame trope beloved of the smart set: Yes, these Muslim fundamentalists may be pretty extreme, but let's not forget all our Christian fundamentalists -- the "home-grown Talibans," as The New York Times' Frank Rich called them, in the course of demanding that John Ashcroft, the U.S. attorney general, round them up. Two years on, if this thesis is going to hold up, these Christians really need to get off their fundamentalist butts and start killing more people. Critics berating Gibson for lingering on the physical flaying of Jesus would be more persuasive if they weren't all too desperately flogging their own dead horse of fundamentalist moral equivalence.
Read the whole post, because he includes an assessment of Gibson's The Patriot as well. Interesting.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
To see the Bloody Shirt, as the Hezbollah in Lebanon drag their children from the rubble and parade them before the world, is to want all replaced with the Rainbow Flag immediately -- no matter who must suffer, no matter how many Jews must die in that distant country where, "After all the Israelis aren't so much Jewish as they are Zionist oppressors who, if they just gave up a little more, would be left in peace. I mean, look at that. Children are dying every minute there. Have you no compassion, sir? Have you, at long last, no compassion?"
And the dead are brought out -- once they are determined to be photo-op worthy. The Killed-Kids of the Palestinians film series, like all standard porn films or magazines, almost never varies in its presentation. What you see is almost always dead children presented to the world on a platter like some grim roasted entree to be grabbed up and consumed by the ever-voracious cameras of the media and played in an endless looping celebration of carnage to a world hungry to note the offering and think, deep down, "Well, it is all happening far away and should stop, but at least, thank God, it's not my kid."
Of course, it is "not my kid." But only because the "brave warriors" of Islam couldn't get their hands on him or her.
via Michele Malkin, who like many in the blogosphere is skeptical about whether the bodies in Qana were actually killed by Israeli bombs. And if they were, does not Hezbollah have any responsibility for using women and children as human shields?
Also, check this out.
Visit Michelle's blog for more links.
It takes courage to report the evil of evil regimes; it takes no courage to report on the flaws of decent societies. Reporters who went into Afghanistan without the Soviet Union's permission were killed. Reporters would risk their lives to get critical stories out of Tibet, North Korea and other areas where vicious regimes rule. But to report on America's bad deeds in Iraq (not to mention at home) or Israel's is relatively effortless, and you surely won't get killed. Indeed, you may well win a Pulitzer Prize.
Via Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic.
“Our freedoms are being taken away very quickly. This may end up with one or another of us in jail, because I won’t pay the fine. If that’s what it takes, I’m willing to go behind bars.”
Chandler also warned pro-life and pro-family forces throughout the rest of Canada, that if his case is lost in the Alberta Human Rights Comission, then there is little hope for freedom of speech for the rest of Canada, since Alberta is considered Canada's most conservative province. "If we get defeated out here, no one’s going to survive out East. If you’ve lost in Alberta you’ve lost everywhere. It’s done. We need to unite behind this fight. We need to start realizing in the social conservative movement in this country we’re being relegated to the sidelines because we don’t stand together."
Chandler requested the support of pro-life and pro-family advocates across Canada. Please pray for us," he added. "If you can’t give us money, then surely you can get on your hands and knees. "
LifeSiteNews.com via Kathy Shaidle at Relapsed Catholic.