Who’s ‘godless’ now? Russia says it’s the U.S.

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In an interesting turnabout, Mr. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has lately become a champion of traditional values. In a related news article, it’s unfortunate to note that I feel that he is quite correct in mentioning how the West has turned its back on God and the moral values that have sustained it through history.

I have always maintained that the West can learn much from Russia.  Its predecessor, the Soviet Union, actually did abolish God from the public sphere with a policy of militant secularism, and an unofficial policy of outright persecution of religious believers. Several generations grew up in the USSR without any spiritual formation, and Russia still tastes the bitter fruit that was planted by that atheistic regime. There is a lot of collective experience there that the West ignores at its own peril.

I found this article in the online edition of The Washington Times

Who’s ‘godless’ now? Russia says it’s U.S. – Washington Times.

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Military Priests Face Arrest for Celebrating Mass in Defiance of Shutdown | CatholicVote.org

military-chaplains-celebrate-EASTER-575x299The inability of the U.S. Congress to agree on a budget has led to the partial shutdown of the U.S. Federal government, the closure of national parks, and the layoff of thousands of government workers. It’s all pure political theatre. Today the Congress agreed to pay federal workers their unearned salaries, but the article indicates that priests may be arrested for choosing to worship for free.

I found the following related article on http://www.Catholicvote.org

Military Priests Face Arrest for Celebrating Mass in Defiance of Shutdown | CatholicVote.org.

(Muslim) Prophet Muhammad’s Letter of Protection to Christians

The months of July and August  (2013) saw terrible violence befall Christians in both Egypt and Syria. It remains to be seen, but Christianity may exterminated from two of its oldest historical homelands within the next several years. The situation for Christians in the Middle East is well past crisis, and is now very dangerous. I have written on this subject before.

The big news over the last several weeks is the many attacks on Egypt’s Christian communities. Several outlets reported that violence by supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat left dozens of Christian churches and Coptic-owned businesses and properties burnt. Fears of widespread sectarian strife seem to be growing among Egypt’s Christian minority.

The violence against Egypt’s Christians reminds us of the important symbolism of the Prophet Muhammad’s letter to the Christian monks at St. Catherine Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai in 628 A.D.

St. Catherine's Monastery; Sinai, Egypt (2010)

St. Catherine’s Monastery; Sinai, Egypt (2010)

In his letter, Muhammad championed universal peace and harmony between Christians and Muslims. Not only did he outline how Muslims should treat Christians, but Muhammad also touched upon human rights, including freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the right to protection in war.

St. Catherine’s is the oldest continuously functioning monastery in the Christian world having been built between 548 and 565 A.D. I visited there as recently as 2010 and can attest that is a special and holy place. The monastery is also the site of the biblical Burning Bush which continues to grow within its walls. St. Catherine’s contains a priceless library of some of the earliest Christian writings as well as iconography that predates the iconoclasm which divided the Christian world in the 700’s and the Muslim conquest of Eqypt that followed.

A Christian text written in the 8th Century (St. Catherine Monastery Library)

A Christian text written in the 8th Century (St. Catherine Monastery Library)

It is easy to forget that the Middle East is the historical heartland of Christianity and today’s Muslim lands were once Christian lands. Significant Christian minorities continued to exist in almost every country of the Middle East well into the 20th Century.

St. Catherine’s welcomes pilgrims from all over the world, and the monks have preserved Muhammad’s letter which is sealed in a representation of the prophet’s own hand. The Muslim populations of Eqypt have respected their prophet’s command, and for centuries they have generally left St. Catherine’s in peace.

Muhammad's Letter of Protection to St. Catherine's Christians (ca. 730 A.D.)

Muhammad’s Letter of Protection to St. Catherine’s Christians (ca. 730 A.D.)

Here is an approximate English translation of the letter:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who profess Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily the servants, the helpers, my followers, and I defend them, because Christians are my citizens, and, by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are you to remove their judges from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they’re my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it can’t take place without her approval. No one is to prevent her from visiting her church to pray. You shall respect their churches. You shall neither prevent them from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey this covenant until the Last Day (end of the world).

The attacks by some Egyptian Muslims on their fellow Egyptian Christian citizens is to be condemned, for the simple fact that the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, would have condemned any violence towards Christians. This applies equally to the situation in Syria as well. One can question whether the Muslims responsible for attacks on their Christian neighbors can be true Muslims with the integrity and legitimacy that the name conveys.

May God protect all the Christians of the Middle East, and may He soften the hearts of their Muslim neighbors who know not what they do.

+++

(From the Gospel of St. Luke)
(Luke 23:33-34)

When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” +++

Sunrise at the summit of Mt. Sinai, Egypt (2010) Photographed by your author

Sunrise from the summit of Mt. Sinai, Egypt (Nov. 2010) Photographed by your author

Encrypted email service used by Snowden mysteriously shuts down — RT USA

The owner of a 10-year old encrypted e-mail business favored by Ed Snowden chooses to blow up his company rather than cave to the USA government pressure. He is now filing suit in federal court.

Excerpt: “I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations,” owner and operator Ladar Levison of Dallas, Texas wrote in the statement. “I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot.”

Source: Russia Today

Encrypted email service used by Snowden mysteriously shuts down — RT USA.

Separated at Birth: Comparing the USA and USSR.

untitledAt one time in the USA, you used to hear people say “just do it, it’s a free country”. People don’t say that anymore, and probably for good reason. Freedom in the USA is rapidly disappearing from living memory as we have become the most taxed, controlled, regulated, monitored, policed, and imprisoned society that has ever existed. The article I’m linking to below should make anyone take pause to consider how history is replete with ironies. Continue reading

Actor Force Fed Guantánamo Style (Very Disturbing!)

An actor volunteers to undergo force-feeding using the same procedure that is standard at Guantanamo.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO MAY BE VERY DISTURBING TO SOME PEOPLE.

Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) force fed under standard Guantánamo Bay procedure – video | World news | guardian.co.uk.

Many people think of force-feeding as a benign medical procedure done out of genuine concern for a deranged person’s health and welfare. Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky recounted in the Washington Post (December 18, 2005) his own experience being involuntarily force-fed:
Continue reading

Way to Go, Guys!

American foreign policy is not immune from the Law of Unintended Consequences. Having survived for 2,000 years, including 1,300 years under Muslim domination, Christianity may disappear from its historical heartland in the Middle East within our lifetime thanks to American foreign policy. It’s important to note that as recently as 1920, upwards of 15% of the people of Palestine were Christian Arabs, and there were sizeable Christian minorities throughout all the Muslim territories of the Middle East and North Africa in the former Ottoman Empire. This article dwells on Iraq, but the problem, and the exodus of Christians from Muslim dominated lands, has been going for decades.

Source: http://www.theamericanconservative.com

How America Helped Kill Middle Eastern Christianity | The American Conservative.