The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the category “Islam”

US Government: the anti-Christian devourer with Jihadi teeth

OBLToday, I was reading a story about some Iranians who are in trouble and could even be executed in Iran because they converted to Christianity. I’m sure this threat is real and pray they will be delivered.

But I had to wonder. The story was laced with the typical anti-Iranian rhetoric of US condemnation. I started trying to remember when was the last time I had heard of people about to be executed in Saudi Arabia or any other US ally. Read more…

The Religious Motive Behind Rand Paul’s Filibuster

Paul Leaves the Floor, Refuses to Yield Values

As the thirteen-hour filibuster ended, Rand Paul left the floor to a roar of applause. He took the floor alone, but now the entire twittersphere and even the Republican leadership joined his crusade against the Obama administration’s drone policy. In one day’s time he has reached the name recognition of his father for standing for the same sort of issues. Again, like his father, he has forced the Republican establishment to join him as cobelligerants for the cause of liberty.

The past three decades of American politics have been blessed with two generations of men who are unafraid to be political game-changers. Ron and Rand are Leaders seemingly incapable of “relinquishing” their values. Rand’s thirteen-hour filibuster is a good tribute to his father’s legacy of refusing to “yield” to politics as usual.

One has to ask what creates such men?

The answer may be a surprise to many. Presbyterianism.

Read more…

Is Islam A World Threat Without Western Money And Government Aid?

Richard-CobdenAt one point in history, there were these Bedouins in Arabia who no one considered worth worrying about. No one in what is now modern France or Spain ever thought that anything a Bedouin could do could possibly bring about the conquest of Christian culture.

Only a century after the death of Mohammed, Charles Martel had to fight for the defense of Christian civilization in France at the Battle of Tours. Spain was already conquered.

The Bedouins had more potential than anyone gave them credit for. Too bad, instead of the Gospel, they were converted from paganism to a “mutant virus” form of monotheism. It still unleashed more power than anyone would have ever imagined. Paul warns us in Romans against arrogance toward the “Barbarian” and the “foolish.” Islam is a case study in how pride goes before destruction.

Later, however, in the years leading up to the Reformation, Erasmus questioned whether Christians were dealing with the Muslims in a godly way. He wrote in his Manual of the Christian Knight.

The best way and most effectual to overcome and win the Turks, should be if they shall perceive that thing which Christ taught and expressed in his living to shine in us. If they shall perceive that we do not highly gape for their empires, do not desire their gold and good, do not covet their possessions, but that we seek nothing else but only their souls’ health and the glory of God. This is that right true and effectuous divinity, the which in time past subdued unto Christ arrogant and proud philosophers, and also the mighty and invincible princes: and if we thus do, then shall Christ ever be present and help us.

For truly it is not meet nor convenient to declare ourselves Christian men by this proof or token, if we kill very many, but rather if we save very many: not if we send thousands of heathen people to hell, but if we make many infidels faithful: not if we cruelly curse and excommunicate them, but if we with devout prayers and with all our hearts desire their health and pray unto God to send them better minds. If this be not our intent it shall sooner come to pass that we shall degenerate and turn into Turks ourselves, than that we shall cause them to become christian men.

Did Christians learn to deal differently with the Turks? Sadly, they did. They learned to support the Turks in their efforts to diminish and contain other Christian kingdoms. Britain and the other powers supported the Sultan and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Richard Cobden, one of the unremembered heroes of the nineteenth-century, vainly tried to persuade his English countrymen, that it was suicide to support a worldwide Navy and get involved in conflicts over the horizon. He wrote in one tract,

Russia, and no longer France, is the chimera that now haunts us in our apprehension for the safety of Europe: whilst Turkey, for the first time, appears to claim our sympathy and protection against the encroachments of her neighbours; and, strange as it may appear to the politicians of a future age, such is the prevailing sentiment of hostility towards to Russian government at this time in the public mind, that, with but few additional provocatives administered to it by a judicious minister through the public prints, a conflict with that Christian power, in defence of a Mahomedan people, more than a thousand miles distant from our shores, might be made palatable, nay, popular, with the British nation. It would not be difficult to find a cause for this antipathy: the impulse, as usual with large masses of human beings, is a generous one, and arises, in great part, from emotions of pity for the gallant Polish people, and of indignation at the conduct of their oppressors—sentiments in which we cordially and zealously concur: and if it were the province of Great Britain to administer justice to all the people of the earth—in other words, if God has given us, as a nation, the authority and the power, together with the wisdom and the goodness, sufficient to qualify us to deal forth His vengeance—then should we be called upon in this case to rescue the weak from the hands of their spoilers. But do we possess these favoured endowments? Are we armed with the powers of Omnipotence: or, on the contrary, can we discover another people rising into strength with a rapidity that threatens inevitably to overshadow us? Again, do we find ourselves to possess the virtue and the wisdom essential to the possession of supreme power; or, on the other hand, have we not at our side, in the wrongs of a portion of our own people, a proof that we can justly lay claim to neither?…

[W]hat are the motives that England can have to desire to preserve the Ottoman Empire at the risk of a war, however trifling? In entering on this question we shall, of course, premise, that no government has the right to plunge its people into hostilities, except in defence of their own national honour or interest. Unless this principle be made the rule of all, there can be no guarantee for the peace of any one country, so long as there may be found a people, whose grievances may attract the sympathy or invite the interference of another State. How, then, do we find our honour or interests concerned in defending the Turkish territory against the encroachments of its Christian neighbour? It is not alleged that we have an alliance with the Ottoman Porte, which binds us to preserve its empire intact; nor does there exist, with regard to this country, a treaty between Russia and Great Britain (as was the case with respect to Poland) by which we became jointly guarantees for its separate national existence. The writer we are quoting puts the motive for our interference in a singular point of view; he says, “This obligation is imposed upon us as members of the European community by the approaching annihilation of another of our compeers. It is imposed upon us by the necessity of maintaining the consideration due to ourselves—the first element of political power and influence.” From this it would appear to be the opinion of our author, that our being one of the nations of Europe imposes on us, besides the defence of our own territory, the task of upholding the rights and perpetuating the existence of all the other powers of the Continent, a sentiment common, we fear, to a very large portion of the English public. In truth, Great Britain has, in contempt of the dictates of prudence and self-interest, an insatiable thirst to become the peace-maker abroad, or if that benevolent task fail her, to assume the office of gendarme, and keep in order, gratuitously, all the refractory nations of Europe. Hence does it arise, that, with an invulnerable island for our territory, more secure against foreign molestation than is any part of the coast of North America, we magnanimously disdain to avail ourselves of the privileges which nature offers to us, but cross the ocean, in quest of quadripartite treaties or quintuple alliances, and, probably, to leave our own good name in pledge for the debts of the poorer members of such confederacies. To the same spirit of overweening national importance may in great part be traced the ruinous was, and yet more ruinous subsidies, of our past history. Who does not now see that, to have shut ourselves in our own ocean fastness, and to have guarded its shores and its commerce by our fleets, was the line of policy we ought never to have departed from—and who is there that is not now feeling, in the burthen of our taxation, the dismal errors of our departure from this rule during the last war? How little wisdom we have gathered along with these bitter fruits of experience, let the subject of our present inquiry determine!

And again:

It will be seen from the arguments and facts we have urged, and are about to lay before our readers, that we entertain no fears that our interests would be likely to suffer from the aggrandisement of a Christian power at the expense of Turkey, even should that power be Russia. On the contrary, we have no hesitation in avowing it as our deliberate conviction, that not merely great Britain, but the entire civilised world, will have reason to congratulate itself, the moment when that territory again falls beneath the sceptre of any other European power whatever. Ages must elapse before its favoured region will become, as it is by nature destined to become, the seat and centre of commerce, civilisation and true religion; but the first step towards this consummation must be to convert Constantinople again into that which every lover of humanity and peace longs to behold it—the capital of a Christian people. Nor let it be objected by more enlightened believers, that the Russians would plant that corrupted branch of our religion, the Greek Church, on the spot where the first Christian monarch erected a temple to the true faith of the Apostles. We are no advocates of that Church, with its idolatrous worship and pantomimic ceremonials, fit only to delude the most degraded and ignorant minds; but we answer—put into a people’s hands the Bible in lieu of the Koran—let the religion of Mahomet give place to that of Jesus Christ; and human reason, aided by the printing press and the commerce of the world, will not fail to erase the errors which time, barbarism, or the cunning of its priesthood, may have engrafted upon it.

Cobden lost his argument with Britain. Resulting in, among other horrors, multitudes of deaths in the Crimean War. Notice however the vast difference between Cobden’s concerns and those of Erasmus earlier. Erasmus saw the Turks as a foe to be dealt with or left alone. In Cobden’s day they are not viewed as a threat, but as a tool to deal with other threats.


Let us jump ahead to the late 1970s as recalled by Zbigniew Brzezinski:

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

I have two responses to this, now that I have gotten over the shock of learning that we basically set Al Qaeda in motion: First, I think Brzezinski’s last statement makes a lot of sense. Some of our (really, our government’s) strongest allies are Islamic nations. Saudi Arabia is the easiest example but not the only one. So that leaves the second response: How have “stirred up Moslems” managed to cause so much trouble and provoke such a reaction?

The answer seems to be Western support. Mujahideen were not just used in Russia, but they were transported to the Balkan’s to suport NATO’s demand for the first Islamic nation in Europe. Perhaps the events of 9/11 dampened this cooperation, but if so, it only lasted less than seven years. Seymour Hersh laid it all out for us in March 2007. For example, the plan for Syria:

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”

There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.

Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.”

And also:

Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.

This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”

Right. Because that worked out so well the first time!

So what has happened since then? Egypt is now being taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda affiliates or Al Qaeda clones have been used to betray Gaddafi on a flimsy humanitarian pretext, unleashing Islamist terrorist on the country. They have been empowered to fly the Al Qaeda flag, ad exterminate sub-Saharan Africans, and to destabilize Mali (perhaps that last one was unintentional). Gaddafi was an evil man. But to see NATO forces get him raped to death by a bayonet is not a sign of Christian victory. It is a sign that Western “foreign policy” is being driven by some of our most homicidal and narcissistic graspers. (Is anyone going to seriously argue that Gaddafi was substantially morally inferior to NATO’s allied rulers in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East?)

This post is already too long. But I submit that any use of Google News to check will demonstrate that our governments did some perfunctory hand-wringing over Al Qaeda “hijacking” an alleged “freedom movement” against Gaddafi, while all the while supporting them and overlooking their atrocities. (And you can also look for information on how Gaddafi was actually killed too). And you can find the same thing is happening in Syria now, complete with butchered Christians and burned down churches. The only difference is, with the corpses of terrorist-killed innocents still fresh in Libya, the European and US governments are making more noise about not giving “direct” military aid. That is all a ruse. The weapons from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are by our governments’ permission and plan.

In the meantime, when I point all this out to conservatives, I discover that Obama is just the perfect president to disguise the truth. No, this isn’t a continual NATO/US policy from at least the seventies (and probably much earlier). It is all the fault of the secret Muslim in the White House.

Between hatred for Obama and stories from the Crusades, along with a huge dose of Zionism, Christians are being played. They are worried about a threat that is mostly propped up by Western money and manipulation (though not an omni-competent manipulation that can ensure that the terrorists always “throw bombs” or aim their planes at the right enemy). Yes, Islam is a false religion and thus an enemy of the Faith. Yes, it enables certain places to be violently resistant to the Gospel. But the viral power that enabled the military might of Islam in the medieval period is no longer there. Christians should pray that God would tear down strongholds. But all the evidence right now is that our governments are building up those strongholds. Forcing the military in Afghanistan to burn Bibles was not an anomaly. It was a picture of our foreign policy.

The surviving Islamic powers were once bolstered to hurt Russia, both in the nineteenth century and the twentieth. Now they are being used as powers to hurt secular dictatorships and the Shiite nation of Iran. But where is the evidence that they can do this on their own? Where is the evidence that, had we left them to rot, anyone would have ever heard of them, or that the Twin towers would not be still standing?

Going back still further, what if England had stayed out of the conflict between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman? What would the Middle East look like today?

What Christians need, in my opinion, is another Richard Cobden.

The Role of Heretical Christianity in the Rise of Islam

Although North Africa enjoyed the blessing of the presence of Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage and Augustine of Hippo, the impact of these great Catholic leaders was unable to maintain a long-lasting effect. The influence of Vandal Arianism supplanted Trinitarian Catholicism to the point that when the Muslims invaded from the East, there was no sufficient, theological base in the North Africans to resist the new Islamic heresies. Through a series of events, over a couple of centuries, the Byzantine people, and their Catholic culture, had become undesirable to the North Africans. When Vandal Arianism arrived on the scene, the North Africans were emotionally and psychologically prepared to have their Catholic dogma replaced. They did not specifically seek it out, but they were unprepared to repel the Vandal Arian heresy. Upon the acceptance of Vandal Arianism, the North Africans rejected Chalcedonian Christology and therefore, had no problem with the Islamic idea that Jesus was only a great prophet and that Mohammed had come as an even greater, and final, prophet. It was this religious difference between North Africa and the rest of Europe and southwest Asia, rather than any economic or socio-political differences, that opened the door for Islam to nearly eradicate Christianity from northern Africa.

Vandal Arianism developed in the Teutonic regions of northern Europe where Christ was viewed as a step above the average man, rather than a “second degree” God as he was viewed in Hellenic Arianism.  Jesus was a hero, a commander, or king, but not God like the divine All-Father.  This is as clearly heresy as the Hellenic version, albeit distinctive in the details.

In the early 430’s, the Teutonic general, Geiseric moved down through the Iberian Peninsula across the Straits of Gibraltar into North Africa.  By 439 he had conquered North Africa from present-day Mauritania to Tripoli in Libya.  He had become “master of North Africa”.  As surely as modern politicians show favors to those who will be favorable to advance their campaign, Geiseric, a Vandal Arian, promoted his religion in all the cities of his dominion.  Things were much easier for adherents to Vandal Arianism than for those who maintained the Trinitarian Catholic faith. Many clerics were exiled to Italy and the treasures of the local churches confiscated for Arian use.  To portray Geseric and his successors as merely religious zealots would be to oversimplify the matter, for politics played an important role in establishing their rule over the Berber people of North Africa.  With little to no religious allegiance to Rome or Constantinople, a North African ruler could count on that much more fidelity from his constituency. These anti-Catholic moves by the North African leaders, as well as some dumb moves by the Byzantines and Catholics themselves, solidified the shift from Trinitarian Christianity to Vandal Arianism.

Mohammed crafted his vision in 610 A.D., and within 80 years of his death in 632 A.D., his followers had spread the Muslim religion and kingdom throughout the Middle East, Egypt, North Africa and Spain.  Although the Byzantine generals and troops put up a fight every step of the way, the Arian predisposition of the Berber peoples in North Africa made them prime candidates for conversion to the Muslim faith.  This predisposition to a subordinate Christology aligned them more closely with an Islamic view of Jesus than a Catholic one.  The Quran refers to Jesus as a Prophet and the son of the virgin Mary but also says that Mohammed was a greater servant of God than Jesus. The Vandal Arian heresy had primed the pump for the next greater one than Jesus to come along.  As C.J. Speel surmises,

“Conversion from Teutonic Arianism, the faith of the bulk of North Africa’s population from ca. 450 to ca. 670 A.D., to Islam was an easy step.  In Teutonic Arianism Jesus was not God; neither was He the “Second degree” God of Arius, a philosophical logos.  He was a great tribal leader, or healer, or commander, an historical figure, a man who was manifested as the Son of God. Islam did not seriously alter this picture of Jesus; it simply added another and even more distinguished figure—the Prophet of Mecca to whom was revealed in most recent times the will of God.”

By 698 A.D. Carthage had fallen to Muslim invaders and has not yet risen from the ashes.  This is not simply an accounting of things that happened a long time ago on a continent far, far away.  We are not only concerned for the conversion of North Africans to Christianity, but we must take note of the current state of Christianity in our own land.  If a shift from the Trinitarian Catholic Faith of the historic creeds of the church is a tell-tale sign of what is coming, then we need to hang on tight.  This ride is about to get a lot bumpier.

For example, we are not too far removed from the Republican Mormon that was offered to us for consideration last November.  He was weighed in balances and found wanting, but the sobering thing is that he accomplished being the last “conservative” on the scale.  What are conservative Americans attempting to accomplish if a Mormon is the man for the job?  Trinitarian Christianity cannot be anywhere but on the fringes of American culture if Mitt Romney made it as far as he did.  Not to mention the support he received from overtly Christian organizations like Billy Graham’s, who removed Mormonism from its list of cults on their website a few months before the election.  “Christian” leaders like Joel Osteen, the pastor of a Houston church, with about a million members, says that “Mitt Romney is a believer in Christ like me.”  If Osteen was the exception rather than the rule, it would be different, but American Christians bought it hook, line and sinker, and sent Romney up against Obama.  As least the Vandal Arians imposed the rule on the North Africans as their conquerors, as opposed to the GOP, who has willingly traded Nicaea and Chalcedon for some golden plates found buried on a hill in New York.

This is not meant to be a harsh judgment of folks who view the General Election as a zero-sum game, and therefore felt compelled to vote for one of the two options, however abhorrent the choices were.  It’s not the individual’s vote in November that is as disconcerting as the fact that Romney was ever considered viable by the conservative populace.

I did not intend for this to end up being a rant about last November as much as a recognition that America is following in the footsteps of the North African culture, which has not known Christendom for over 1300 years.  She walked away from orthodoxy and God let her keep walking.  America is just a flash in the pan compared to many cultures, and we’ve already walked away.

Speel II, C.J. “The Disappearance of Christianity from North Africa in the Wake of the Rise of Islam.” Church History 29, no. 4 (1960): 379-397. Accessed February 1, 2013.

Christians Hide Jews, Kill Muslims?

Bonhoeffer Steve Macias Israel Gaza

There remains an experience of incomparable value. We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcasts, the suspects, the maltreated — in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behavior. Christians are called to compassion and to action.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hitler’s Ghettos and Concentration Camps

During the Second World War, German Nazis isolated Jews from the non-Jews, creating thousands of enclosed communities, subjecting Jews to the brutality of the SS and miserable prison-like conditions. These ghettos were a temporary provision until the Nazis decided how to be rid of the “terrorists” within their borders. Once dispersed throughout Germany, Jews were now forced out of their homes into designated areas, and Jews escaping sealed ghettos were shot. Germans carefully monitored what and who went in and out.

Ghetto Uprisings

As conditions in the ghettos worsened, more Jews were deported and sent to killing centers, while the imprisoned became increasingly resistant to the Nazis, to the point that in 1942 Jews began acting in armed rebellion. Using pistols and hand grenades, Jews in Warsaw made sporadic raids against Nazi forces. The Nazis quickly sought to quell such rebellions, reducing the ghetto to ruins and sending the remaining inmates to work camps and killing centers.

Media Teaches “Jews as Aggressors”

Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hitler established his own state media. The “Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment” was headed by Joseph Goebbels, and it taught that Germany had been subverted by the Jews. The Nazi regime story was that Jews were not only subhuman, but also dangerous enemies of the German Reich. Germany was presented as the defender of “Western” culture against the “Judeo-Bolshevik threat, and painted an apocalyptic picture of what would happen if the Soviets won the war. They consistently sought to connect “Jewry” to Soviet communism.

Hitler Abusing Religion

The fact that many Christians then in Germany were nominal cultural Christians who were indoctrinated into the Nazi worldview helps to “explain how the SS troops could perform monstrous acts of cruelty and yet return home for Christmas and attend church and still think of themselves as good Christians. They were not murderers, they were men who were building a race of supermen and helping the inferior people get on with their evolutionary journey” (Lutzer, 1995, p. 95).

Hitler and the Nazis abused the influence of Christianity, using Christian terms to attempt to justify their actions. They published mottos like, “ He who serves our Führer, Adolf Hitler, serves Germany, and he who serves Germany, serves God” (Germany 1918-1945 – by J. A. Cloake), allowing Hitler to attach his ideals to a very non-Christian agenda. Hitler’s SS brainwashed and intimidated pastors to support his goals, to realign their theological standards to fit the anti-Jew propaganda.

Christians Rescuing Jews

Those who escaped killing centers or ghettos hid in annexes, attics, cabinets, or any place where they could be concealed from the German Gestapo. Christians hid Jews as both an act of resistance to the Germans and as acts of charity towards their fellow man. While Christians risked death by hiding them, Jews were at least outwardly saved by following Christian rituals like attending church and learning the New Testament. This type of ministry led to conversions to Jesus Christ, as well. For instance, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jew who hid from the Nazis, was later baptized and then became a priest. The Christianity that had helped them survive the Nazis became the Christianity that saved some eternally.

As a Christian, Would You Hide Jews from Nazi Germany?

If your answer is yes, please consider how that relates to our current situation in the Middle East.

Gaza: Israel’s Concentration Camp

Just after the Second World War, non-Jews, both Muslim and Christian, were forced out of their homes or fled due to fear of terrorist attacks on their homes. Since 1948, they haven’t been allowed to return to their homes, subjected to an open-air ghetto/prison in the Gaza strip. Eighty percent of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are Palestinian refugees. For 60 years, Israel has denied the internationally recognized rights of Palestinian refugees because they are not Jews. Israel is an occupying force in Palestine. It exercises complete control of the West Bank and Gaza. They use brute force and bombs whenever the ghetto gets restless.

Gaza Uprisings

Enter Hamas. Much like the Jews who banded together to rebel against Nazi Germany, Hamas is a response to the bondage under Israel. As Israel encroaches deeper into the West Bank and Gaza, continuing to oppress Muslims in their foreign captivity, groups like Hamas become increasingly resistant to Israel. On November 8, 2012, an Israeli military incursion invading Gaza, killed a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. The men of the open-air prison rebelled, and the next few days were a back-and-forth retaliation between Israel and Gaza rebels. During this time, the Israeli government called a cabinet meeting, and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz urged the government to “cut off the head of the snake… take out the leadership of Hamas in Gaza.” He also called for cutting off water, food, electricity, and fuel shipments to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. 

Israel quickly sought to quell such rebellions, reducing the ghetto to ruins and sending forces in to bomb the area, killing rebels, civilians, women, and children, without discrimination.


 do not condone the terrorist actions of Hamas against innocent civilians, any more than I do on the part of Israel. Neither side is responding in appropriate ways, and both need the tertium quid (third solution): the Gospel and condemnation of all violence and oppression.

Media Teaches “Muslims as Aggressors”

Following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, its “right to self defense” has been promoted in all western media. Now “Islam is the threat to Israel,” and the Jewish terrorists who expelled the Muslims from their homes are portrayed as the victim as they continue a genocide against non-combatants and non-Jews. History has been re-written as we are to believe that Israel is the victim of blood-thirsty, “they hate us for our freedom” Muslim extremists. Like Germany, Israel is presented as the defender of “Western” culture against the “Islam-Jihadist” threat, and an apocalyptic picture is painted of what would happen if the Palestinians returned to their homes. Like German propaganda, the religious hate-fueled support for the continued war crimes is the official line, while Israel is given “victimhood” status.

Think about it: How can it be the Christian solution to uncritically support Israel if Democrats, Republicans, and Obama all agree to it?

Jewish State Abusing Religion

American Christians have been duped– they have attached some extra-Biblical spiritual significance to the Jewish state. We are told by false teachers like John Hagee that God blesses those that bless Israel and so we are to support Israel, no matter what. Back in 2010, I wrote, “Promises to Israel, to the seed of Abraham, to the true Jew are to those who are in Christ. Christians are the only people who will receive God’s covenant promises, by faith. The free pass evangelicals have given the modern Israelite is contrary to the clear and plain teachings of the Scripture. They teach that the Jewish people have a title to the land that transcends virtually any other consideration, including unbelief, rebellion, and hatred toward Christ and His church.”

Israel doesn’t care about protecting Western culture, nor do they want anything to do with Christianity. Israel is one of the least Christian nations in the Middle East for a reason: their Talmud teaches that Christ was sent to Hell along with His adulterous mother Mary and His followers, to all to be tortured in boiling excrement. The Jewish faith today is a religious hatred for Christianity. And they are hardly a beacon of western Christian culture – Israel’s Tel Aviv is “an international gay vacation destination,” one of the “Most Gay-Friendly Cities in the World,” and is famous for its annual “Pride Parade” and “Gay Beach.” Over 20,000 children are aborted in Israel each year, with the country’s lax abortion policies, and Israel has almost no active pro-life movement, which is not surprising at it is Christianity that is the foundation for the pro-life cause.

Yet Israel has allowed itself to attach to Christian Zionism, a modern revision of biblical eschatology, and thus has access the American taxpayer’s pocketbook. Dispensational pastors who want to usher in the “end times,” by helping Jews settle in their “homeland,” where they believe they will all be killed in the Battle of Armageddon, support Israel’s existence and realign their theological standards to fit anti-Muslim propaganda.

Christians Rescuing Muslims

As Dr. Ron Paul has said, “US foreign policy being so one-sided actually results in more loss of life and of security on both sides. Surely Israelis do not enjoy the threat of missiles from Gaza nor do the Palestinians enjoy their Israel-imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza. But as long as Israel can count on its destructive policies being underwritten by the US taxpayer it can continue to engage in reckless behavior. And as long as the Palestinians feel the one-sided US presence lined up against them they will continue to resort to more and more deadly and desperate measures.”

Those who have escaped Israel’s bombings or blockades over Gaza hide. But unlike the Jews in the Holocaust, there are no Christian homes to hide in. Christians in America support pagan Israel. The Muslims either fight or die.

How does this help Christianity in that region of the world?

As a Christian, Would You Hide Muslims in the Gaza Strip From Israel Today?

If your answer is yes, please consider that response in relation to the United States’ support for Israel’s war crimes. It’s easy to hide our conscience behind the propaganda like the many Christian Germans who went along with Hitler, only later to wish they could have stopped him. Let’s hide the Muslims, not because they’re special or better than Jews, but because it is our responsibility to “do justice to the afflicted and needy. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4).

Instead of sending three billion dollars each year to Israel, how about three billion Bibles? Three million missionaries? Three Thousand Churches? This nation is dying and it is in worse condition than any Muslim country out there as long as they continue to believe they are God’s chosen people apart from Christ.

A Review of Children of Heaven

My wife and I recently watched the Iranian film Children of Heaven by director Majid Majidi.  The film debuted in 1997 to rave reviews and won a number of awards, as well as gaining widespread critical and viewer praise.  It is indeed beautiful, or at least poignant,  in some ways.  The director captures a range of emotions, especially from the brother and sister protagonists in a uniquely honest, and penetrating way.  There is a kind of childlike simplicity to the film that, as Roger Ebert noted, is a bit of a breath of fresh air after the almost constant barrage of cynicism and smart-mouth snarkiness of so many modern American  films aimed at children.  Children of Heaven isn’t exactly a children’s film but, like some of Roberto Benignin’s works, it has a childlike character to it, and would probably be enjoyed by many children.

The film’s story revolves around a poor young Iranian boy living with his family in the poorer part of  Tehran who, after picking up his sister’s shoes from the tailor, loses them, innocently enough on his way home.  Fearing their parents’ wrath, the two children conspire to share the boy’s shoes until they can come up with a plan.  This leads to many problems from shame on the part of his sister at having to wear too big boys’ sneakers, to the brother (Ali) being routinely late to school since his sister’s classes end just minutes before his begin.  Finally a plan is hatched for the brother to enter and, not win, but get third place in a city-wide foot race for boys his age, the third place prize for which includes a new pair of sneakers.  I won’t spoil the ending, other than to say that things don’t work out quite as planned.  Nevertheless we are tipped off, through a fleeting shot of the father’s bike cargo, that through some extra money he has made doing gardening for the wealthy in Tehran  he has bought both children a new pair of shoes.  Nevertheless, the film ends with the boy dejected and crestfallen (not knowing of his father’s purchase) at his inability to do for his sister what he had promised.

There is much more that could be said, and there are a few high points in the film (like when a shopkeeper takes pity on the sister who has dropped one of the remaining pair of shoes into a gutter and helps her retrieve it), but in the end I was quite unimpressed with the film.

However, I do think it illustrates some important points about the fundamental differences between Christian, or even vestigial post-Christian cultures, and pre-Christian cultures.  Obviously, being shot in Tehran, the film is set in an Islamic, and non-Christian context.

What stood out to me and my wife both, more than anything, is that the central conflict, the anxiety that riddles the film and creates all the (palpable) tension, was premised upon a fundamental inability of the children to communicate with the adults in their lives.  And the fault was not with the children.  For the first 10-15 minutes  of the film (after the opening sequence), the viewer is subjected to multiple scenes in which it seems that every adult is yelling at either another adult or, more often, one of the children.  But that’s just the beginning.

Think about it.  A 9 year old boy loses a pair of shoes.  Even granting severe poverty, this should not be a cause for the kind of existential angst that the children endure for the next 90+ minutes.  But it is.  There is no ability to simply explain to his parents what has happened.  (What did happen, for context, is that he set the shoes, which were in a plastic bag, down in a sort of cubbyhole between a few crates of a street vendor’s vegetables while he stepped inside the shop to pick up some potatoes for his mother.  While he was selecting the best ones he could find, a street person walked by and, after gaining permission from the vendor to pick up the empty bags, did so, accidentally picking up along with them the bag containing the shoes.  An innocent happenstance by any reckoning.)  Yet this scenario led to a situation in which the children felt doomed, unable to tell their parents for fear of beating, and being shamed, and unable to speak to any other adult in their lives.

But the problem is simply compounded from there as the children try their best to deal with the problem on their own.  Yet everywhere they turn they find hostility, impatience, and a kind of subtle brutality from the adults in their lives.  Ali is struggling to get to school on time after making the shoe switch with his sister.  But it’s as if explaining the situation to the principal is unthinkable.  He is simply berated.  (One of the few adults in the movie that does come off as decent is his teacher, who rescues him from being sent home at one point, but even then, it seems that he does so because Ali is one of his best students, and not because of the fundamental injustice of not hearing the young man out, who is clearly at his wit’s end, stifling tears, and trying to hold himself together.)

I could go on at length with examples, but the point is that while the film takes up the children’s perspective, and show the children’s innocence, it doesn’t exactly make the adults, who treat the children with utter contempt, appear particularly bad.  It’s as if that’s just the way life is.  One can’t help but feel that Ali and his sister will likely grow up to be the same kind of calloused and harsh people their parents are.  It’s as if the director wants to celebrate the innocence of youth, while at the same time giving in to a kind of fatalism that says that innocence must be lost, and when it is, so must be kindness, compassion, care for others, and basic decency.

A couple more examples will help demonstrate.  Their is one notable sequence in the film where the father becomes very jovial, kind, and even playful with his son.  It is when he has made a large sum of money unexpectedly (with his son’s help) doing some gardening for a rich family up-town in Tehran.  Yet this only illustrates the basic problem that throughout the film poverty and hardship are seen as legitimate, or at least unavoidable excuses for cruelty and harshness.  In the ethos of the film it seems entirely natural that the father would go from being a cruel authoritarian to a jocular friend and father with just the addition of some cash.

Likewise, one of the most poignant scenes in the film occurs when Ali and his sister, having discovered that a girl who goes to school with the sister is now wearing the lost shoes follow her to her house.  Clearly they have in mind to confront her or her family, or to somehow try to get her shoes back.  But then, peaking around a corner they see that her father is a blind beggar.  Immediately the two look at each other with knowing glances that communicate that they both realize that they cannot seek to get the shoes back.  They may have been lost unfairly, but you cannot take back even what you need  from a blind man and his daughter who had nothing to do with the initial loss (they had traded for the shoes with the street person who picked them up in the first place).   As I said, this is a beautiful and poignant moment in the film, but what is striking about it is that it demonstrates a moral and ethical sensibility in the children that one simply cannot imagine  being shared by the primary adults in the film.  The children are the mature characters, conspiring against the bickering and hateful adults whose domination they live under.

Finally, the film’s end follows a pattern set which seems determined to mitigate any real sense of hope.  The film is full of one vignette after another where hopes are raised and then dashed.  Ali kindly picks up his sister’s shoes from the tailor and stops at the grocer for his mother, but alas, his sister’s shoes are stolen in the process.  Ali’s father finally finds a way to make some good money for the family, but the scene ends with a brake failure that results in a bike crash and a simultaneous crushing of what had been the most joyous and hopeful moment in the film thus far.  Ali proves to be a very fast runner and excellent athlete, sure to be able to get his sister the shoes she needs, yet things don’t work out.

[Spoiler alert: Don’t read beyond here if you don’t want to know how the film ends.]

It even seems that the director is so intent on continuing the motif of dashed hopes that he will suffer plot holes to retain this theme.  For instance, Ali noted in the film that if he won third place he would have to exchange the shoes he won, as they would be boy’s shoes, and too big for his sister.  Thus the idea of trading a valuable item won for what his sister needed is already introduced.  Yet somehow we are to believe that the first place prize is not of equal or greater value and thus not something that can be traded for a pair of shoes for his sister?  This simply made no sense to me.  Yet it seemed necessary to continue the theme of dashed hopes, and almost victories.

But to get back to the actual ending, the film concludes in such an odd way.  On the one hand we know that the father has purchased new shoes for both children, yet we are left with an image, beautiful as some find it (I actually found it a bit odd) of the dejection of a child who feels that he has failed to remedy a situation that he only felt responsible to remedy in the first place  due to the failure of the adults in his life to truly care for him.  I was at first shocked and baffled when the credits rolled, and then almost angry.

There are other points that could be made about the general setting that I believe represent a sort of pre-Christian reality– a world filled with death, whether it’s the dingy, unclean buildings, the gutter that runs through the center of every street, the wholesale sworn allegiance of small children to the great leader, etc.  but that is an essay for another time.  For now I will just note that there was a sense of despair, hopelessness,  and even death that seemed to hang over the film.  Poverty is indeed a dark thing, but history proves that the light of the gospel can and has created and sustained light and life even in the midst of poverty.  The poverty of this film was not the poverty of those who had hope, but the poverty of the dejected, downtrodden, and those who live in darkness.

What struck me about this film is that, although it is about children, and is in some sense told from their perspective,  it is set in a world that simply doesn’t value children.  Throughout the film children are treated as a bother and an inconvenience, except when they are essentially functioning as labor, or, in the case of the race, as a source of glory for the adults around them.  They are not listened to, or sympathized with (with a few counter-examples such as the shopkeeper mentioned above).  Their childlike wonder and naivete is not appreciated, as it was so famously by Jesus.  And ultimately the whole crux of the film was premised upon the children’s inability to communicate their needs, failures, hopes, desires, and even fears to those whose job it wasto care for them. I found the film poignant in a certain way, but also depressing and even maddening.  My wife described her reaction thus: “You know that sick feeling in your stomach that you got when you were hearing about the wicked Stepmother in Grimm’s Fairy Tales?  I had that feeling all the way through the film.  It’s like the kids were living in the presence of the evil Stepmother all the time.”  So often I couldn’t fathom the adults seeing a child in tears (even, for example, as Ali won the race) and not trying to figure out what was going on, what was wrong.  Instead, the adults gloried in the win of one of theirs even as the winner himself was clearly distraught and in deep emotional pain.

Children of Heaven is valuable in that it gives us a very powerful picture of the experiences of children, unfortunately it gives us a picture of the lives of children in a culture that devalues and uses them, and in the end take a sort of fatalistic, que sera, sera attitude that implies that the innocence of children is good and beautiful but not something that can be a model for us.  Jesus disagreed.

“…Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:3 ESV

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