A Pakistani Christian was recently sentenced to death for blasphemy against Muhammad.
Pakistani Christians routinely have their property confiscated or destroyed, are imprisoned or sentenced to death on the basis of Pakistan’s blasphemy law which makes it a crime to say anything negative about Muhammad or the Quran.
I’m grateful for the freedom of speech in the United States we still have, where I am allowed to publicly say and preach that Muhammad is a false prophet and that the Quran comes from the devil.
However, Pakistani Christians cannot say such things without the very real risk of death or imprisonment.
And even if they don’t say them, it is easy for them to be prosecuted under the law on the basis of false witness. This can happen when people want to take their land or property, or it can happen simply because people resent the presence of Christians in Pakistan. No doubt in a country where Christians are a despised minority, their presence in the country itself is a walking affront to people who think that Pakistanis should be Muslim.
We are seeing this kind of resentment against Christians just beginning in the United States, although here we are not an affront to Muslims but to “tolerance”; the fact that there are still Christians who haven’t been shamed into agreeing that homosexuality is okay or at least being silent in public provokes more and more people. When pressure is ratcheted up and you don’t deny the faith, it just makes some folks madder, even if you say nothing, because even if you say nothing, the fact that you haven’t given in is a testimony to their condemnation. The fact that you suffer and don’t give in makes them feel even more threatened that maybe what you confess about God’s wrath and judgment is true. That’s what the New Testament is talking about in verses like these:
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. 29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, 30 engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:27-30)
4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:4-10)
At any rate, even though we can see the seeds of this resentment starting to sprout in the US, we still have lots of legal protection. In Pakistan the Christians have few advocates and almost no defense. If they’re hated just for existing, or someone covets their property, all they have to do is get a couple of people together to say that they heard this or that Christian say Muhammad is a fake prophet.
AFP says: “In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that ‘the Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!'” This will no doubt be trumpeted everywhere as evidence that if “extremists” only read the Qur’an that they brandish in the air alongside rifles, they would become “moderates.”
In reality, it is nothing of the kind, and doesn’t represent a “major departure” from anything KSM has said before. Islamic law forbids forced conversion, in line with the Qur’anic dictum, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). Jihad is waged not to force non-Muslims to convert to Islam, but to bring them under the rule of Islamic law, in which they must “pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29), denied basic rights that Muslims enjoy and forced to live in a state of subservience to the Muslims.
In line with that, KSM and the other 9/11 plotters didn’t commit mass murder on September 11, 2001 in order to force Americans to convert to Islam, but to weaken and ultimately destroy American society and government, so that eventually Islamic law can be imposed.
AFP doesn’t know any of this, for it partakes of the same willful ignorance that blankets the mainstream media: to examine how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to incite and justify violence would be “Islamophobic.”
“Quran ‘forbids’ violence to spread Islam: 9/11 mastermind,” from AFP, January 15 (thanks to Block Ness):
WASHINGTON: The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has released a manifesto claiming that the Quran forbids the use of violence to spread Islam.
The document, published Tuesday by The Huffington Post and Britain’s Channel 4 News, marks Mohammed’s first public communication since 2009, when the US government officially accused him of terrorism.
Mohammed, the most high-profile of the five men accused over the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on US soil, has been held at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2006.
In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that “the Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!”
He also tried in the 36-page document to convince his American captors, prosecutors, lawyers and members of his military tribunal to convert to Islam.
“It is my religious duty in dealing with any non-Muslims such as the people in the court (the judge, the prosecution, attorneys, etc.) to invite them to embrace Islam,” Mohammed wrote.
“I realize very well that you have heard about Islam and know much about it. But it is my own belief that Allah will ask me on the Day of Judgment why I did not invite these people to Islam?”
He is doing this in accord with Islamic teaching, but the “people in the court” should take note that if the “invitation” is refused, then comes jihad. According to a hadith, Muhammad said: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.” (Sahih Muslim 4294)
Mohammed said he was “very happy” in his cell, adding: “My spirit is free even while my body is being held captive.”
Mohammed said he has been “neither sad nor distressed” in his confinement “because I have been with the Only One True God.”…
For freedom Christ has made us free; therefore stand firm, and do not again submit to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.
These two theses seem to contradict each other…Both are Paul’s own statements, who says in 1 Cor. 9, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all,” and in Rom. 13, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another.” Love by its very nature is ready to serve and be subject to him who is loved. So Christ, although he was Lord of all, was “born of woman, born under the law”, and therefore was at the same time a free man and a servant, “in the form of God” and “of a servant.” [Philippians 2:6-7]
Martin Luther, “The Freedom of a Christian”
If you don’t believe in your values enough to say “no” when other people try to insist that you give them up, you will lose them. The only question should be whether your values are right.
It’s one thing to be sensitive and hospitable to Muslims who live as foreigners in your country. But when they reject the law of your country and begin to implement their god’s laws in defiance of you, to continue to show kindness is to give in to them, and to allow yourself to be enslaved by them.
The same thing is true for Christians. We should love and pray for the enemies of the church and also unbelievers, and make whatever concessions we can out of love for them. We should bear with weaker Christians in the Church out of compassion for them.
But when enemies of the church, unbelievers, or people in the church who seem to be weak say that we can’t preach or practice some part of the word of God because it is offensive and unloving, we can’t submit to them. To do that is to say that the Word of God can only speak as long as it does not violate human rules.
It’s a good thing, I think, that the Europeans wanted to welcome people from other countries and respect their traditions. But it’s not a good thing to confuse the lawful use of authority with oppression. It was a bad thing that the company sold meat labeled “Halal” even though it had traces of pork in it. But in Denmark people are not summarily beaten or executed for eating pork or for selling it or for lying about selling it.
In the Church we have a similar problem. In our society there are few things that will get people all riled up like it will rile observant Muslims if you mislead them to eat pork. But among the few things that are likely to cause that kind of upset is to be “hateful,” which has become a very broad kind of crime. It’s considered hateful, for the most part, to tell someone that they do or have done something that was not just “a bad choice” but actually evil–sin.
In the Church it is not hateful to tell someone they sinned. We are commanded to do that, but to do it in love for the other person. So if we let it stand that a person in the church is doing wrong when they rebuke another person we end up allowing it to happen that God’s Word is not allowed to be heard in the Church. At least in some areas.
So as Christians we must be ready to sacrifice our own comfort for the sake of weaker Christians, the enemies of the Church, and the world outside. We have to give up legitimate things that cause unnecessary offense, and we should spare ourselves no trouble to do so out of love.
We spare ourselves no trouble, but we also cannot permit the Word of God to be bound or limited, even if people accuse us of being proud, arrogant, loveless, etc. That is because it is not our Word. It is God’s. To take anything away from it is to agree that it is not God’s Word; and to allow it to be silenced at all in the Church is to allow it to be taken away from us.
Since the Word of God is the only power on earth by which God gives us salvation and protects His Church, we can’t allow it to be silenced in any part or forced to follow the rules of human propriety or “political correctness”. If we do that we trade in the righteousness of God, which God counts as ours through faith in the message of the cross, for the righteousness of the godless world, which consists in telling everybody that as long as it works for them, that’s good, no matter what they feel like doing.
- God’s Word Does Everything – Trinity 7 Sermon (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Many are offended because of these things. (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Two men assaulted for selling pork to kebab shops (testpost.typepad.com)
- No Infidels Allowed: Turkish Red Crescent To Make ‘Halal’ Drugs With Muslim-Only Blood (midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)
- Iraq: Muslim Ambulance Driver Refuses To Take Dead Body Of Christian Woman To Church For Funeral (midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)
- Christian Suffering Under Jihadi Extremism Muslim Persecution of Christians: April, 2013 (counterjihadreport.com)
As our government sends money to fund the revolution in Syria, remember the plight of Syrian Christians.
Syrian Christians make up 10% of Syria’s population. Since Syria is a secular state, Christians, as a minority were able to live their lives freely without being ridiculed by the overwhelming Muslim population. Christians were able to go to Church, wear whatever they like and live their lives according to their standards and not by the governments. In fact, Christians and Muslims got along perfectly well in Syria before the fake revolution occurred. Unfortunately the world is unaware that these so called “freedom fighters” are the ones committing a massive genocide in Syria.
Aleppo, which has the largest Armenian population, has been hit hard with countless terrorist attacks. Churches have been destroyed, Christians kidnapped, beheaded, raped and tortured. Damascus has a reasonable about of Christians, but Homs is home to the second largest Christian population in Syria, and unfortunately Homs is the first city where the fake revolution occurred. In…
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President Bush’s theory was that if we made the Middle East safe for democracy, Arabs would get a taste of iphones and unmarried sex and the other glories of Western Civilization and would no longer be attracted to guys who fly airplanes into skyscrapers.
The idea had the merit of being idealistic and invoking America’s better angels. In response to the tragedy of September 11th, we were going to export freedom; help oppressed people in the Middle East exercise their inalienable rights with which they were endowed by their Creator.
Unfortunately the idea ran aground on the usual reef that ideas inspired by Christian charity often do in the political realm. Government and diplomacy have the task of restraining evil, not creating utopia or anything approaching it. The Church preaches grace to evil men, but it does so knowing that crucifixion will follow. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world.
But the U.S. government is of this world. If it wants to protect the innocent and provide safety for its citizens, it has to have clear eyes. It has to understand that sometimes an evil, secularist tyrant does a better job of keeping order and restraining murder of the weak than a popular government that reflects the will of the majority.
Exporting democracy, as President Bush wanted to do, really isn’t consistent with the genius of the American revolution. It has more in common with the fanaticism of the French and Russian revolutions and the bleary-eyed idealism of Woodrow Wilson, who dragged us into a war we didn’t need to be in in the name of democracy. And the foolish idealism that brought us into that conflict ultimately was responsible for the truly monstrous evil that was able to assume control of a shattered and humiliated Germany in the 1930’s.
When Barack Obama ran for president the first time, I was under the impression that he wanted to put an end to the naïve idealism that led us into two wars in the Middle East, which were not perceived as wars of liberation but instead crusades and attempts at colonization. But now Obama seems to be not backing away from Bush’s vision, but instead advancing it, just as he has furthered the Bush policy of spying on American citizens.
He’s been inching toward intervention in Syria for months, and now has decided to put his weight behind toppling al-Assad.
Of course, Assad is a bad guy, just like Saddam was. But when Saddam was in power, a large Christian minority could live in Iraq without their blood being spattered on the walls of their churches by suicide bombers on a near daily basis. At this point nearly all the Christians in Iraq, who have lived there for approaching 2000 years, have fled.
The same thing, of course, has been happening in Syria. Two orthodox bishops were kidnapped in the past few months. The story below of a Syrian Christian being fed to dogs was published in December. Just as in Egypt, al-Qaeda-esque jihadis have quickly taken over the rebellion which we were told would lead to something like western democracy.
Now we’re sending them guns. When they don’t want us there, we’re imperialists. That’s why the soldier was hacked to pieces with meat cleavers in London. When they can’t win without us, we’re heartless and have no concern for human rights. Even after the decision was made to send weapons to the rebels I read headlines saying the rebels complain that it isn’t enough–we need to send them missiles, apparently. Maybe nerve gas?
And the US government assures us that it can make sure that none of the weapons I paid forget into the hands of the same slavering would-be martyrs who killed thousands in New York and got us involved in these wars in the first place. None of the weapons I paid for will get into the hands of the “freedom fighters” who feed Syrian Christians to the dogs.
Sure, Uncle Sam. I’m sure you’ll be able to do that. You couldn’t stop the Boston bombing, even with advance notice about the perpetrators, because you were trying to convince us (and yourself?) that the real terrorist threat was from the Tea Party types and Focus on the Family. Because Uncle Sam doesn’t know what every drooling idiot in America can tell you (unless they went to college). If there’s a terror attack, a Muslim probably did it.
Now you put guns in their hands so that they can slaughter Christians in Syria and force them out of the country in the name of making the Middle East safe for democracy.
Syria rebels ‘beheaded a Christian and fed him to the dogs’ as fears grow over Islamist atrocities
By Nick Fagge
PUBLISHED: 19:41 EST, 30 December 2012 | UPDATED: 04:50 EST, 31 December 2012
Syrian rebels beheaded a Christian man and fed his body to dogs, according to a nun who says the West is ignoring atrocities committed by Islamic extremists.
The nun said taxi driver Andrei Arbashe, 38, was kidnapped after his brother was heard complaining that fighters against the ruling regime behaved like bandits.
She said his headless corpse was found by the side of the road, surrounded by hungry dogs. He had recently married and was soon to be a father.
…the Turk’s Koran, or creed, teaches him to destroy not only the Christian faith, but also the whole temporal government. His Mohammed, as has been said, commands that ruling is to be done by the sword, and in his Koran the sword is the commonest and noblest work. Thus the Turk is, in truth, nothing but a murderer or highwayman, as his deeds show before men’s eyes…
…Who would not rather be dead than live under such a government, where he must say nothing about his Christ, and hear and see such blasphemy and abomination against Him? Yet it takes such a powerful hold, when it wins a land, that people even submit to it willingly. Therefore, let everyone pray who can pray that this abomination may not become lord over us and that we may not be punished with this terrible rod of God’s anger…
…I think…that neither emperor nor princes believe themselves that they are emperor and princes. For they act as though it lay with their own judgment and pleasure whether they would rescue and protect their subjects from the power of the Turk or not; and the princes neither care nor think that they are bound and obligated before God to counsel and help the emperor in this matter with body and goods. Martin Luther, “On War Against the Turk”
LONDON | Thu May 23, 2013 6:58am EDT
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron said the brutal killing of a soldier who was hacked to death in London by two men shouting Jihadist slogans was a betrayal of Islam….
“This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam* that justifies this truly dreadful act.”
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton, editing by Stephen Addison)http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/23/us-britain-killing-cameron-islam-idUSBRE94M0EZ20130523
Really, who gave political officials the authority to pronounce judgments on what is or isn’t an authentic expression of a religion’s piety or theology?
How did David Cameron get to be an authority on Islam?
How did newspaper columnists and TV anchormen become trusted authorities on what is permitted by Islam and what is a betrayal of it?
Many Muslims think it is a betrayal of Islam if a Muslim taxi driver permits someone into his taxi with alcohol; others think it is a betrayal of Islam if a woman fails to wear a hijab in public (i.e. cover her hair.) Could you ever imagine David Cameron, President Obama, or Bill O’ Reilly or whoever going on the record to declare that failures to wear a hijab are a “betrayal of Islam?”
No, they only make these statements when Muslims give incontrovertible evidence that Islam, or at least quite a few of its adherents, are implacable enemies of Western values or virtues like religious tolerance or non-violent resistance to injustice. These values and virtues are often either explicitly Christian or have roots in Christian doctrine and morals.
Cynicism suggests that this is because Western leaders in government and media hate their ancestors and Christianity and want to destroy every memory of either.
“All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall”
But that’s probably not right. It’s probably more that, no longer rooted in Christianity, the West has forgotten (or rejected) the doctrine of original sin, although we have not completely forgotten some Christian virtues–mercy, love for enemies, etc. But virtues without Christ are like chips of stained glass broken out of a pane.
Believing that people are basically good at heart, or at least not believing that they are born evil, the West finds it too painful to distinguish between good and evil. Because Europeans have frequently done evil or killed the innocent because they were sure that they were in the right and that God was on their side, they now are unable to bring themselves to fight against a foreign culture and religion that has no such doubts.
Spiritual and Temporal Authority—the Lost Protestant Doctrine
This self-doubt and willingness to turn the other cheek is part of Christ’s teaching. But the Protestant Reformation–particularly the Lutheran Reformation–rightly recognized that while this is appropriate for private individuals, it is disastrous for rulers and governments (and probably for any calling God gives Christians on earth.) If the Reformers and the princes who accepted the Reformation had allowed Jesus’ commands to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, not judge, and so on, to prevent rulers from fighting wars, executing criminals, and maintaining courts of law, the Reformation (along with society in those regions that accepted the Reformation) would have collapsed. Princes in Protestant lands had to maintain armies and fight for the right to proclaim the pure Word of God in their churches–whether against “the murderous Pope [or] Turk”. If instead of executing or otherwise punishing those guilty of capital crimes they simply absolved them, the states in which the Reformation was introduced would have quickly collapsed.
I think that’s what’s really behind our political leaders’ and media’s insistence, in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, that every act of jihadist terrorism is a “betrayal” of Islam, the “religion of peace.”
It’s not that they are purposely trying to pull the wool over our eyes. I think it’s because the vestiges of Christian faith and morality remaining in the Western cultural psyche, being isolated from the other articles of the faith and thus perverted–make our leaders just as blind as they try to make us. Read more…
“The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one. It is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Shari’a in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? Rather you lot are extreme. You are the ones that when you drop a bomb you think it hits one person? Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? This is the reality. By Allah if I saw your mother today with a buggy I would help her up the stairs. This is my nature. But we are forced by the Qur’an, in Sura At-Tawba, through many ayah in the Qu’ran, we must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? You think politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so can all live in peace. So leave our lands and we can all live in peace. That’s all I have to say. [in Arabic:] Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you.”