Col Klink:   No it’s not possible, General Mulendorf
Gestapo Captain Borman: With his arm around your shoulders.  
Col Klink: Yes we were friends
Gestapo Captain Borman: Close Friends, and very possibly associated in za plot to assassinate the Führer
Col Klink: I hardly knew the man, went to school together ten years, saw each other every day but what’s that?
Gestapo Captain Borman: You were also best man at his wedding
Col Klink:  Oh, Well I had nothing else to do that afternoon.

Hogan’s Heroes: The Big Picture 1970

In yesterday’s post on the Montreal Anti-Semitic Imam story I pointed out that the press in their writing seemed to miss that the outrage of the Muslim Community to invited guest Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr didn’t materialize until after the rest of the world saw the translation of his words in English months after he was invited, spoke and the words put online in arabic. Today’s piece touches on a more subtle but even more telling bit from the story is this quote from Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, presumably someone who knows a thing or two about his religion on the verse sited by the Jordanian Sheikh as reported by the CBC.

The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.

Now if your goal is to minimize the role of Islam as understood by Muslims you would do what the CBC did and move directly on, but if you were a reporter interesting is finding the truth, then Imam’s Asali’s quote leads to a rather obvious question:

Is the Hadith and the quote within it considered “Authentic” by Muslims?

Well to answer the question one would need to know what a Hadith is, which one this is and where it came from.

The encyclopedia Britannica defines a Hadith as:

Hadith, Arabic Ḥadīth (“News” or “Story”), also spelled Hadīt , record of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, revered and received as a major source of religious law and moral guidance, second only to the authority of the Qurʾān, the holy book of Islam. It might be defined as the biography of Muhammad perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience. The development of Hadith is a vital element during the first three centuries of Islamic history, and its study provides a broad index to the mind and ethos of Islam.

 

Hmmmm it would seem to me then that being a “major source of religious law and moral guidance” and “second only to the authority of the Qurʾān,” a Hadith is not something to be taken lightly and dismissed in the cavalier fashion. One would think Imam Asali would know this.

But even if this is true about Hadith’s in general, the question still remains, is this Hadith a valid one?

The Hadith in question is titled: The Book of Miscellaneous ahadith of Significant Values which in addition to the offending quote has gems such as:

وعنه رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏ “‏يتبع الدجال من يهود أصبهان سبعون ألفا عليهم الطيالسة‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

or in English

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Dajjal (the Antichrist) will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan and will be dressed in robes of green coloured satin.”

So the question now on the floor would be: Is The Book of Miscellaneous ahadith of Significant Values an authentic book from a credible source?

Well a quick net search answers that question. It comes from a fellow by the name of Imam Al Nawawi. Here is some background:

Al-Imām Muhy al-Dīn Abū Zakariyyā Yahyā ibn Sharaf al-Nawawī, born in the village of Nawa on the Horan Plain of southern Syria in 631 H. He was the imām of the later Shāfiʿī School, the scholar of his time in knowledge, piety, and abstinence, a hadīth master (hāfiẓ), biographer, lexicologist, and Sufi.

So this is a guy who was an early Islamic scholar but we need more than that.  What kind of guy is he, is he a well known scholar credible scholar of Islam?:

His Character

The scholars, elite of his society, and the public greatly respected Imam Nawawi on account of his piety, learning, and excellent character. He dressed and ate simply and humbly. Devout scholars do not care about attaining worldly possessions, they give preference to religious and academic pursuits, and the dissemination and propagation of faith. They experience more heavenly delight and joy in such activities than those who seek satisfaction in luxurious life styles. He was God-fearing who had high ambitions and aims in the dissemination and propagation of faith.

His Works and Death

Imam Nawawi had a very short life (44 years) but even during this short period, he wrote a large number of books on various subjects. Nearly every work is a masterpiece and a treasure of knowledge. Hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from these works.

Some of the prestigious works of Imam Nawawi, apart from the compilation of the “40 Hadith” (al-Arbaʿīn) include:

Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn
Commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī
Commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (Al-Minhāj fi Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
Sharḥ Sunan Abī Dāwūd
Mukhtaṣar Al-Tirmidhī
Kitāb al-Rawḍah
Kitāb al-Adhkār
Al-Taqrīb fī ʿIlm al-Ḥadīth wa al-Irshād fīhi
Al-Tibyān
Bustān al-ʿĀrifīn
After spending 28 years in scholarly pursuits away from home, Imam Nawawi returned to his hometown. Soon after his arrival in Nawā, he fell ill and died. His works are of everlasting value. May Allah bless him.

Emphasis mine.  That seems like a guy whose work is credible, but are they still sought after today?  Here is Kitaabun.com a site that sells Islamic books and items offering his works

The famous 5th Century Hijri, Ahadith compilation by Imam Al-Nawawi, The ahadith are predominantly from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (Other ahadith are from the reliable Books such as Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Muwatta Imam Malik),
Considered by Many as the Most Important Book after the Qur’an Simply because it is a Summary of authentic Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

1900 Ahadith compiled over 372 Chapters and 19 Sections which can be generalised as follows:
The Book of Good Manners – The Book about the Etiquette of Eating – The Book of Dress -The Book of the Etiquette of Sleeping, Lying and Sitting, etc.- The book of Greetings – The Book of Visiting the Sick – The Book of Etiquette of Traveling – The Book of Virtues – The Book of I’tikaf – The Book of Hajj – The Book of Jihad – The Book of Knowledge – The Book of Praise and Gratitude to Allah – The Book of Supplicating Allah to Exalt the Mention of Allah’s Messenger (phuh) – The Book of the Remembrance of Allah – The Book of Du’a (Supplications) – The Book of the Prohibited Actions – The Book of Miscellaneous Ahadith of Significant values – The Book of Forgiveness

About Imam al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277)

Imam Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi was Born in the village of Nawa in Southern Syria, Imam Nawawi spent most of his life in Damascus where he lived in a simple manner, devoted to Allah, engaging single-mindedly in worship, study, writing and teaching various Islamic sciences. .
Although best known for his works in hadith, Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277) was also the Imam of the later Shafi’i school of Jurisprudence, and widely acknowledged as the intellectual heir to Imam Shafi’i. He was a renowned scholar and jurist who dedicated his life to the pursuit of Islamic learning.

emphasis mine. You can see a screen shot here it case it mysteriously disappears tomorrow, but if so you can always go to Amazon.com and find not only his books

but scholarly commentaries on them

Now I don’t claim to be an Islamic scholar, but all this tells me that Imam Al Nawawi is a significant scholar in the History of Islam and that his Hadiths are considered authentic.

So lets get back to his original statement about the Hadith in question from Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects

The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.

The statement is factually true, this is one of more that 100,000 Hadith, there are many books of them and some of those books are considered authentic and some are not.

However the Books of Miscellaneous Ahadith of Significant values isn’t just one of many books. It’s a historically significant book written by reputable and respected early scholar of Islam that is without a doubt considered authentic by Muslims to this day.

Now it’s of course theoretically  possible that all of these facts that I was able to discover in an hour or two on the net about Imam Al Nawawi and his place in Islamic Scholarship, and the Hadith The Book of Miscellaneous Ahadith of Significant Values are completely unknown to Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, but I suspect not. I suspect instead that he rightly assumed that the CBC had no interest in clarifying this question, and he was right.

Alas for Iman Asali, I don’t work for the CBC.


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

This week the Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted a workshop called “Biological Extinction: How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend.”  If you read the declaration on the workshop, or look at the workshop agenda, or read any of the articles linked on the Vatican’s website, it doesn’t seem controversial at all, and fits nicely with the role of the Church around the world.

And then…fake news!

The Pope has urged us to have fewer children! claims Life Site News.

I’m not buying it, for a lot of reasons:

  1. There is NO direct quote from the Pope.  Couldn’t find it in the article, couldn’t find it on Vatican.va.
  2. It doesn’t jive with what he’s said earlier: Large Families are a gift to society.
  3. It doesn’t fit with the narrative of the workshop, which was focused on economic inequality, maintaining biodiversity and proper use of the Earth’s resources.

Nothing actually written by the workshop seemed out of line with the Catholic Church.  If someone would like to comment and prove otherwise, please be my guest, I will gladly post again admitting I missed something.

The Pope needs to realize he has a fake news problem, and it’s hurting his Church.  For reference, see the contrast between the media’s portrayal of Pope Benedict’s comments on homosexuality and Pope Francis’ comments.  Despite saying almost the same thing, Benedict’s were largely ignored, while Francis’ comments were seen as changing fundamental Church doctrine.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The media is using fake news to rip apart the Catholic Church from the inside.  By misquoting Pope Francis, it makes traditional-thinking Catholics think he’s extremely liberal, and it reinforces their wrong belief that Vatican II should be completely rejected.  For Catholics who grew up after the 1960s, the media’s portrayal makes it look like it’s OK to accept ideas that are actually heretical (and ideas they have been pushing for some time now).  For those of us in the middle, who like tradition but also try to understand the spirit of the Catechism, we get marginalized by both sides, and the media simply tries to overwhelm us with volume to silence our voices.

It’s nasty.  As a military planner, this is the sort of thing I would want to do to my adversaries.  The media are using fake news to tear down the Catholic Church in a way that could cause almost all persons to turn away from teaching and towards what makes us comfortable.  We would do well to reject it and focus on understanding our Catechism and why we believe what we believe.


The post represents the views of the author alone, and does not represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

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This last week I asked everyone to pray for Rebecca, my youngest daughter. She had gone in for open heart surgery on Wednesday to repair an Atrial Septal Defect. The surgery was fairly routine (at least, as far as open heart surgery is concerned), and considering that Yale New-Haven was performing the surgery, we couldn’t have had a better team. But as you know from that same post, she wasn’t recovering well.

On Monday, I went to work, only to get called back to the hospital. My wife and I arrived and consulted with the surgeons, who said Rebecca had gone into heart block, where the heart doesn’t pump well and blood flow is sluggish. They wanted to install a temporary pacemaker so that her heart would keep working, and the surgeons were very hopeful that she would heal out of it. We agreed, and they wheeled her down to surgery.

Thirty minutes later, the nurse came up and said we needed to go downstairs. We were rushed to surgery, where the doctor came in and said Rebecca had gone into cardiac arrest after anethesia. He asked if I wanted to continue compressions or put her on bypass. Either way, she had a high chance of death. I told him “You walk into that room and make the best damn medical decision, and I’ll stand by you.”

Rebecca’s heart recovered on its own. Pacing wires were placed. The Code Blue paging stopped. We went back to recovery, and the local priest came in and performed an emergency Confirmation. The surgeon told us she was critical, but stable. We cleared our Tuesday schedule and drove home, an hour away from Yale, scared, but confident that things would work out.

We pulled into our driveway and called the hospital. They told us to come back. We made it back at 10 pm. I walked in and the heart rate monitor was reading zero. The doctor had his stethoscope on Rebecca’s chest, looked at me, and shook his head.  I clutched her tiny hand, desperately hoping she would squeeze, but that movement never came.  I spent the next hours cradling Rebecca in my arms and crying.

Everyone was in shock. We had the best team of pediatric heart surgeons, cardiologists, NICU and PICU nurses that you could assemble in America.  Rebecca had been recovering.  Her echocardiograms had all been good.  The pacing wires had been firing.  Everything should have worked.  It was like the A Team of cardiology teams was on her side.  They simply don’t lose people, certainly not kids like Rebecca.  But as the head surgeon later told us, “One minute she was fine, the next she was in arrest and would not come back.”

The next few days made me wonder, “Why?”  I’m used to death.  As a Naval officer, I know that I willingly place my life on the line for others.  I work with other members that do the same thing.  I’m OK with that. But Rebecca?  She was just a 7 month old kid.  She spent too much time hooked up to tubes and wires.  She didn’t deserve that.  Honestly, as a Catholic, it depressed me.  It didn’t seem fair.

So we started planning a funeral.  And a wake.  And a reception.  We filled out forms.  We called people and sent emails.  And all of a sudden, I realized that I had missed the point.

Rebecca’s death wasn’t about her. It was about everyone else.

It was about the Yale New-Haven team.  The team of doctors, nurses and surgeons that saw us choose life, saw us pray over Rebecca, and watched her emergency Baptism and Confirmation.  Many of them didn’t share our beliefs on abortion and life.  Some of them do now.  Rebecca had tons of people from Yale that came to visit her even when she wasn’t in their ward or on their floor.  I spied on many a nurse and doctor playing with her and making faces to make her smile.  She touched their lives like no one else could.  Rebecca’s death was about that team.

It was about the Down Syndrome community.  It dawned on us when the Eastern Connecticut Down Syndrome group set up a Go Fund Me page that netted over 1,000 dollars in less than a day.  Rebecca was born with Down Syndrome, and the Down Syndrome community in the northeast mobilized to support us.  So many people that we had never met, or only met briefly, were praying for her.  It brought them together.  Rebecca’s death was about that community.

It was about my Navy command.  My Assistant Officer in Charge told my Sailors the next morning what had happened.  Almost immediately, my Sailors and their families began reaching out, asking what they could do to help.  They didn’t have to.  There are plenty of Navy resources, and often the going assumption is that Navy Officers have it all figured out.  But as one Sailor put it in a text message, “He’s our Officer in Charge, and he always helps us. I want to help him.”  Many of the Sailors had only ever seen Rebecca at the occasional family event, yet they wanted to help.  Our Navy team grew closer.  Rebecca’s death was about my Sailors and their families.

It was about people who lacked faith.  People we didn’t know were suddenly reaching out to my wife.  They said that Rebecca brought them to church and they were praying when they hadn’t done so in years.  A friend of my wife that is a very vocal atheist asked people openly on Facebook to pray for Rebecca.  No clauses in her request.  No “If you believe” or “keep her in your thoughts” disclaimers.  She made a genuine request for prayers.  Rebecca’s death was about her.

It was about our family.  I was honestly frightened about the thought of raising a kid that might live with me forever.  It made me do a lot of research and talk to people.  After meeting people from all walks of life who loved people with Down Syndrome, and seeing kids and adults with Down Syndrome do well in life (even swim the English Channel!), I realized that all life matters, even the ones that we view as disabled.  My kids learned to love Rebecca, despite her being very different from other babies.  Or perhaps, it was because she was so different that they cared even more.  Rebecca’s death was about us.

I realized that I made a mistake.  I focused on Rebecca’s pain.  I watched her cry when she was stuck with needles.  I watched her struggle to finish a bottle because her heart wasn’t strong enough to breast feed.  It made me sad, but what I didn’t realize was that she was changing everyone around her.  My focus on her pain blinded me to how she was an instrument to change those around her.

Many of us spend a large part of our adult lives influencing, or trying to influence, those around us.  We read books, we devise arguments, we make PowerPoint presentations, and we argue on Facebook.  And yet here I had a little girl, not even a year old, who came into my life and changed everyone around her, including people she never met.  Her broken heart was changing those with hardened hearts.

She did it without words, without slides, and without a social media account.

It truly was never about her.  It was always about us, about making us better.  And even though it took her death for me to realize it, I’m glad that I did.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18: 1-5


Rebecca will be buried on Tuesday, with a wake on Monday.  If you are in the Eastern Connecticut area, you are welcome to stop by.  Please follow the link for details.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.

The majority of things that come out of Washington DC do not require our assistance. President Trump lays down an order, Congress passes a law, or some agency puts out a regulation and the citizenry does what it can to comply. It sounds Draconian but it’s a system that works. Our participation in the republic is to vote in representatives, empowering them to keep order and hopefully assist us in prosperity.

Today’s rumors that Trump is about to take religious liberties onto his plate will, if true, require our actions. He will need our help. Defense of religious liberties has been a hot topic since before the country was even formed and will continue to be a hot topic long after we’ve left this world. That’s the nature of the most polarizing aspect of human existence.

For eight years, faith-minded Americans have witnessed a government that has positioned religious freedom as a form of discrimination. They say that a baker can’t practice her religion in her own private business and must bake whatever cakes people order. They say a wedding photographer must take pictures at an event even if her religion tells him it isn’t really a wedding. They say that religious organizations cannot express their political opinions because they’re a religious organization.

All of these things are (hopefully) about to change under Trump’s administration. If they do, it’s up to us to support it appropriately.

This is a tricky subject. The cultural promotion of religious freedoms isn’t a black and white issue even though it probably should be. We’re going to have to make tough choices in the near future. One of the toughest is acceptance of other religions. The Judeo-Christian faiths are, in my humble opinion, the most accepting of the other religions. We need to take this up a notch if and when religious freedoms are taken up by the administration. True tolerance is accepting that everyone’s religion, even those with values that run contrary to our own, has an equal right in America. There are those who will say, “but we’re a Christian nation.” I agree, but part of being a Christian nation is accepting the commission to spread the Word of God. It doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to accept others of our faith and ignore or reject other faiths. It’s our right in the Constitution to share our faith and it’s a calling in the Bible to do the same.

When Trump makes his move, it will be first positioned by the left as an attack on LGBT rights. Then, it will be positioned as an attack on atheists. Then, the narrative will shift to this being about Christians only and that other religions aren’t going to be allowed to share in the same freedoms. All of these narratives are pre-packaged and easy to fight, but the President cannot fight them alone. Those of us, regardless of personal religious beliefs, who embrace the freedoms that the 1st Amendment grant us must be vocal in our defense. We must support all righteous decisions at all levels of government. Moreover, we must denounce all perversions of the 1st Amendment that attempt to use the freedoms against us. Yes, that’s going to be a thing at some point in the near future. Watch for it.

Between travel bans, walls, and a flurry of executive orders, it will be easy for religious freedoms to get lost in the sea of issues. It’s our duty as Americans, whether we’re religious or not, to defend the rights of individuals and organizations to freely practice their beliefs. This is the battleground that requires us all to take up spiritual arms. It’s time to stand up for what’s right.

The progressive war on Christmas has become one of the fundamental constants of the universe.  Here is one of the more egregious examples from this year’s annual battle to make sure all things religious are exiled from any property that may be considered public and the dreaded Merry Christmas is never uttered.

Indiana Town Removes Cross From Christmas Tree After ACLU Lawsuit

The mythical separation of church and state was once again used as a justification for vanquishing this cross, which was used for decades.  All it took was one complaint and the ACLU bullied the small town into submission with a lawsuit they could not possibly afford to fight.  Yes, the separation church and state is mythical.  It is a fairytale created by Justice Hugo Black when he wrote his decision for the 1947 Supreme Court case Everson versus Board of Education.  Justice Black claimed that the establishment clause of First Amendment prevented any government organization, at any level, from participating in any type religious activity because that clause built a wall of separation of church and state.  This ruling was a complete departure from the reality that existed in this country from the very instant of the ratification of the Bill of Rights right up until the instant he delivered this ruling.  It completely contradicts the transcripts from the writing of the Bill of Rights and the transcripts of the ratification debates in the States.  Here is what James Madison had to say during the debates when this clause was written:

Mr. Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.

It is quite clear from this quote, the Establishment Clause prevents the federal government from passing laws that would establish an official religion and it prevents the passage of laws that would force individuals to worship in a specific manner.  Rather than use the official transcripts, Justice Black based this sweeping new constitutional doctrine on a personal letter between Thomas Jefferson and the Danbury Baptist Church.  To add insult to injury, he completely distorted the actual text and meaning of that letter.

What makes the Everson ruling even more inaccurate; Justice Black completely disregarded the free exercise of religion clause of the First Amendment.  This clause specifically prevents the federal government from passing laws that would prevent individuals from freely exercising their religious beliefs.  Free exercise of religion is one of the most important god-given natural rights that every individual is endowed with.  Here is what George Mason had to say about free exercise of religion when he wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights in 1776.

That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights served as the model for the US Bill of Rights and George Mason played a prominent role in the writing of the US Constitution,

Justice Hugo Black completely massacred one more fundamental constitutional principle when he wrote the Everson ruling = The United States Bill of Rights only applies to the federal government.  It never applied to the States and it most certainly never applied to cities and towns.  That is abundantly clear from the transcripts of the State ratifying conventions for the Constitution when a Bill of Rights was demanded, from the transcripts in the House of Representatives and Senate when the Bill of Rights was written, and from the transcripts when the Bill of Rights was ratified by the States.  How can the establishment clause prevent a town from having a cross on a Christmas tree or any other type of religious display?  It cannot.  There is no constitutional basis or this lawsuit nor any similar lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

If I was Donald Trump or the head of the RNC that’s the Press Release I would be issuing in English and spanish. The Spanish version saying:

Periódico propiedad de Amazon.com ataca al culto de Nuestra Sra. de Guadalupe durante la época Navideña

after seeing this Headline at the Washington Post.

Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary. As a rape victim, that hurts me.

Yes you’re reading that right.

That a protestant reverend is going after the very first Christian, who said “Yes” to God makes it even more ironic.

Of course if you don’t like my suggest press release or don’t want to hit Amazon which might claim they have no editorial control you could go with this in English:

“Washington Post attacks devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe during the week of her feast”

Or in spanish:

“El Washington Post ataca a Nuestra Sra. de Guadalupe en la semana de su Fiesta”

The best part of such a PR release is it has the virtue of being true.

Oh and I’d repeat this is Spanish during the feast of Our Lady of divine providence (Nuestra Senora de la divina providencia) patron of Puerto Rico and the feast of Our Lady of Altagracia (Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia) the patron of the Dominican Republic too.

You know perhaps if the MSM had at least one or two  devout daily mass Catholics they might have figured out this was a bad idea.

I’d suggest praying for the Reverend Everheart for relief of her trauma and ask Our Lady to help her, The Memorare would be appropriate:

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

You can do the same for the editors at the Post and the folks at Amazon, you might think they are beyond Help but with God all things are possible.

My thanks to Fausta for the Spanish translations.

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Olimometer 2.52

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“..For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace and goodwill towards men.’
“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

– Linus in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” 1965

The secular answer is that it’s a federal holiday, having been established as such (along with New Year’s Day and Independence Day) by an act of Congress in 1870 “to correspond with similar laws of … every State of the Union.” Ironically, the holiday that seems every year to cause such politically-correct angst amongst our friends on the left was originally enacted in part as an act of post-Civil-War unification. While it wasn’t always so, by the mid 1800’s celebrating Christmas was pretty much universal throughout the country. And since the First Amendment is exactly the same now as it was then, how can anyone seriously think that celebrating Christmas, even on public property, could be a problem?

Let’s be clear. As much as the secular, commercial view of Christmas as a Santa Claus-fueled gift-giving frenzy has become the norm, there is still an underlying reason for the season, even if not everyone remembers or is willing to admit it. As Linus so beautifully pointed out, on Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yes, the celebration of this Holy day has taken on additional secular attributes over the years and as a national holiday it can, and should be, celebrated by believers and nonbelievers alike. There is nothing wrong with that. But Jesus’ birth is still the central point of the day.

When my children were little, like most of you we went along with the whole Santa Claus story, leaving cookies and milk out for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer. We even left “Santa’s hat” in the fireplace one year and had a friend call to ask our children to hold onto it so he could pick it up the following year. But our children always understood what we were really celebrating, right down to the baby Jesus appearing in the Nativity scene on Christmas morning. When they got older and we finally told them the truth about Santa Claus, they took it really well. In fact, my daughter said that she felt sorry for people who don’t understand the true meaning of Christmas because, once they find out about Santa Claus, they have nothing left. As a Catholic, I pray that everyone will eventually come to learn the Truth.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, I’d like to remind everyone of the message at the end of that passage that Linus quotes: “on Earth, peace and goodwill towards men.” Wouldn’t it be great if we could all, regardless of religious, political, or any other affiliation, embrace those words?

Merry Christmas to ALL!

christrio

Even with the iconic statue of Jesus Christ watching over the Rio Olympics, NBC and mainstream media outlets have chosen to ignore the importance of religion among athletes.

For example, swimmer Michael Phelps, one of the greatest Olympians ever, lost his way until he found God a few years ago.

“I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost,” Phelps said.

After his second DUI, Phelps got a call from former NFL star Ray Lewis, who helped the swimmer onto the road of religious recovery.

Simone Biles, the gymnast who won four gold medals, carries a rosary in her warmup bag and lights a candle in church before an event. Instead of emphasizing her religious beliefs, NBC and others talk about her mother, a former drug addict.

Katie Ledecky, a Catholic like Biles, says a Hail Mary before each swimming event and proudly makes her religious views known. Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman to earn a gold medal in swimming, praised God after winning the 100-meter freestyle. Her reference to God got edited out when NBC put up the video on YouTube.

After Usain Bolt of Jamaica, the fastest man in the world, won his third gold medal in the 100-meter sprint, he fell to his knees to pray. The NBC commentators apparently couldn’t bring themselves to utter the word “prayer.”

Many other examples exist, but NBC and other mainstream media have focused on less significant details of athletes’ lives rather than their trust in God. Fortunately, faith-based news organizations have chronicled what the athletes themselves consider their most important characteristic: their belief in God.

The Christian Post wrote about U.S. athletes and their faith at http://www.christianpost.com/news/10-christian-team-usa-athletes-at-rio-olympics-2016-who-put-god-first-167556/

Eric Metaxas interviewed religion writer Terry Mattingly about God and the Olympics at https://soundcloud.com/the-eric-metaxas-show/terry-mattingly-5


Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org

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WWII: Germans surrender to Russians outside Moscow

by baldilocks

Daniel Greenfield again documents the terms of Europe’s willing surrender to the Dar al-Islam.

The UN Commission of Experts identified 1,600 actual cases of rape in the Bosnian War that took place in the former Yugoslavia over a period of years. In Germany, 2,000 Muslim migrants sexually assaulted 1,200 women in a single night in cities across Germany.

The former was considered one of the worst war crimes of the decade. Its perpetrators were bombed and then faced war crimes trials. The perpetrators of the latter received a slap on the wrist.

In Cologne, Hassan and Hussein were handed suspended sentences. Hassan, who had demanded that a man hand over two women to him by bellowing, “Give me the girls, give me the girls – or you’re dead” was tried as a juvenile offender and was sentenced to community service and an integration course.

(…)

Selin Goren, a spokeswoman for a left-wing refugee group, admitted to lying that the men who sexually assaulted her were German instead of Arabs because the act of the rape had a “political dimension”. Instead of thinking of the men who had assaulted her, she thought of a pro-refugee rally in which she had called for fighting “against racism and sexism”.

And predictably the former took a back seat to the latter.

When the police officer asked her if refugees had been responsible, she retorted that they had spoken German while resenting the officer for being so racist as to assume, correctly, that Muslim migrants were to blame.

A friend had told her that she acted like a battered wife protecting her abusive husband.

It’s an accurate description of not just her, but of the entire left which has turned its own values inside out in order to protect Muslim rapists from a theocratic culture not fundamentally different than ISIS which believes that women are fair game during their gleeful invasion of Europe.

My opinion: European in general and Germany specifically isn’t done paying the spiritual price for the perpetrating/allowing the massacres of the 20th century. And I’m not only referring to the Jews–Russians, Poles—both Jew and Gentile—Romani…and the list goes on. Europe’s spiritual problems are and have always been about leadership.

The spiritual price(s) for bad leadership: delusion and the desire for death, brought on by godlessness. Of course, godless leaders were the catalysts for the massacres in the first place.

Observing from across the water bids these questions. How many Americans are similarly deluded? And what of our leaders?

Related:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Enjoy your reward, Fr. Jacques Hamel.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game (click on left sidebar image), was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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Red Oak MosqueBy John Ruberry

Muslims, many of them refugees from war, keep coming to America. Other than for the obvious reasons, the opportunity for a much better standard of living than what is expected in their home countries and the opportunity to collect government benefits, who have to wonder why this is happening.

I have some things to say to the Muslims who want to emigrate here.

If you believe in theocracy, in other words, sharia law, as many Muslims do, then America, with its long history of separating religion from government, is not for you.

Although this very recent development is still very controversial, in the United States, men can marry men and women can marry women, and yes, they have sex with each other. Millions of unmarried Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, are sexually active. If this bothers you, then America is not for you.

Women and men in America, and teens too, often where next to no clothing. If this angers you, then America is not for you.

Dogs are beloved animal companions for many Americans. If you believe that Islam teaches you that dogs are unclean and that they should be avoided, then the United States is not for you.

Porky's Rib Fest
Porky’s Rib Fest ad, Bridgeview, IL

While not as popular as beef or chicken, pork is a popular meat choice for many Americans. If this dietary selection gives you anguish because of what is written in the Quran, then America is not for you.

About three-quarters of American adults drink alcoholic beverages several times a week. Beer commercials are a staple of sports television and are common fare on many other TV programs. If you don’t approve because Islam teaches that alcohol is forbidden, then America is not for you.

Of course in this verbal exercise I could easily substitute France for the United States and make the same point.

Amish wagon in Michigan
Amish horse carriage in Michigan

And yes, to be fair, there are members of religious groups who have lived in the United States since before its founding, such as Orthodox Jews and the Amish, who feel uncomfortable with some of these American mores I just pointed out. Mormons too. But there is a big difference in regards to Islam. The first two I just mentioned don’t proselytize–although Orthodox Jews preach to other Jews–they are what I call beehive religions. You don’t bother them and they don’t bother you.

But Islam–read your history, naysayers–is not only a proselytizing faith, it is a conquering one. But three or four million Muslims can’t overthrow America.

Yet they keep coming.

Why?

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Dialogue from the otherwise worthless Jeff Bridges film Wild Bill may shine some light on this paradox. John Hurt’s character remarks to Wild Bill Hickok as they arrive in hedonistic Deadwood, “This town… I really think it’s like something out of the Bible.”

“Which part?” Hickok replies.

“The part right before God gets angry.”

Is this how Muslims view our country?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.