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No Free Ride Here Print E-mail
by James Reza    Mon, May 9, 2011, 12:22 PM

Now that gas has hit almost $4/gal. here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ($3.80/gal. on average) and much higher in many other places in the U.S., I find it laughable how the media tries to spin the reasons for the high retail gasoline prices.  The media constantly shields the Obama Administration by spoon feeding us their useless predictable nonsense that the turmoil in the Middle East has contributed significantly for the spike in oil, or that the greedy oil companies and oil speculators have purposely increased the price of oil to fill their coffers.  Yet, many of us vividly recall that this same media and their Democrat cronies constantly attacked President George W. Bush for wanting to drill too much (or being “cozy” with the oil industry), while President Obama’s policies are rooted in unilaterally shutting down the domestic oil industry amidst oil related rising prices prompting spiraling food prices along with a struggling economy with an up again 9% unemployment rate.  Yes, the price of gasoline reached historic levels, rising about $4/gal. during Bush’s second term, but that wasn’t due to a lack of him trying to increase domestic supply, which the Democrats constantly blocked.  U.S. domestic supply is but one of many factors in the global price of oil, and thus gas prices.  But when a president, like Obama purposefully chooses to decrease our domestic supply by 13%, with hopes of driving that supply even lower, and objects to U.S. – Canadian pipelines and new forms of exploration, discovery and friendly importation, the price consequences are real, and should be scrutinized.

During the first twenty-six months of President Bush’s first term in office, the price of gasoline increased by 7%.  At the end of his second term, the price had decreased by 9% from the time he took office (adjusted for inflation).  In contrast, during the first twenty-six months of Obama’s term in office, the price of gasoline has spiked over 67% with no relief in site.

Folks, I’m sure that most of you are aware that President Obama, along with his EPA and tree hugging cronies hate the oil industry.  Yet, it is the oil industry with government imposed gas taxes that maintain and build our nation’s infrastructure.  Oil companies spend billions of dollars annually to explore for oil (in land and sea), purchase oil-carrying ships and trucks to ship gas and oil to all parts of the U.S. and throughout the world, plus hire an untold number of workers in the oil industry.  Many of who recently have lost their jobs due to the Obama Administration stopping the exploration and oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere in our country.  Though this Administration and the Democrats hate the oil industry, and don’t have a clue of what it takes to take a barrel oil out of the ground, they readily confiscate in the form of taxes from the products they produce.

Just recently the Obama Administration loaned Brazil several billion dollars to explore for oil there.  Promising the Brazilian president that the United States would be one of their biggest buyers of their oil.  But my friends why not drill here, and keep the money in our own country, plus hire thousands of American workers to work in the oil industry? 

Here’s some interesting verifiable information I found on the Internet.  Several months ago on a news program on oil, one of the Forbes brothers was a guest.  The host asked Mr. Forbes, “How much oil does the U.S. have in the ground?”  Mr. Forbes answered, “More than all the Middle East put together.”

The U.S. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oilmen knew was coming.  It was a revised report that had not been updated since 1995 on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana commonly referred as The Bakken.  As per the scientists and oilmen the Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil.  The Energy Information Administration estimates it at 503 billion barrels.  Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable at $107 a barrel, we’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.  For years, U.S. oil exploration has been considered a dead end.  Even the “Big Oil’ companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago.  However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves and we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels and because this is light, sweet oil, those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 per barrel!  That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2,041 years straight

If the aforementioned comments didn’t throw you on the floor, this next one should — because it’s from 2006!  According to a Stansberry Report online 4/20/2006:  Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world.  It is more than 2 trillion barrels.  On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction.  In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted.  With this mother load of oil, why are we still fighting over offshore drilling and sending our hard earned dollars to the people who hate our guts in the Middle East?

My fellow Americans we have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth.  Here are the official estimates:  • 8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia; • 18 times as much oil as Iraq; • 21 times as much oil as Kuwait;  • 22 times as much oil as Iran; • 500 times as much oil as Yemen; and it’s all right here in the Western United States.

Finally, for all of you who voted for Obama, how do you like the CHANGE?  That is the change you get when you go fill up at the gas pump?  Sorry guys and gals, there’s no free ride at the pump, you have to shell out like the rest of us!

 

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Pakistan's split personality Print E-mail
by Arnaud De Borchgrave    Tue, May 3, 2011, 01:59 PM

Osama Bin Laden established close bonds with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida -- "the base" -- was set up by bin Laden to keep track of volunteers flocking in from all over the Arab world to fight the Soviets.

Following the 1989 Soviet defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan, bin Laden went home to Saudi Arabia where he quickly fell afoul of the royal family for objecting to the arrival of U.S. troops in 1990 to repel the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

Expelled from Saudi Arabia, he found exile in Sudan and began organizing al-Qaida by contacting veterans of the Afghan campaign. Under U.S. pressure, Sudan expelled bin Laden and he opted to go to Afghanistan. No Western power objected.

In Afghanistan he immediately joined forces with Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader who had just occupied Kabul after emerging victorious from the civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal. Pakistan's ISI was Mullah Omar's principal foreign support. Taliban was ISI's creation, designed to give Pakistan "defense in depth" in the event of an Indian invasion.

In the spring of 2001, six months before 9/11, Mullah Omar and bin Laden were joint commencement speakers at the "University for the Education of Truth," a sprawling madrassa in Khattak (on the main road from Islamabad to Peshawar). On June 4 that same year, this reporter and UPI's South Asian consultant Dr. Ammar Turabi, met with Mullah Omar in Kandahar.

It quickly became clear Omar was beginning to find bin Laden's presence overbearing, Thousands of jihadis from all over the Arab world and other Muslim countries were training in some 20 camps. Omar complained openly about "a man who talks too much and issues fatwas for which he has no religious authority."

After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan Oct. 7, 2001, bin Laden ordered his followers to repair ASAP to a series of interlocking caves in a mountain base -- Tora Bora -- that straddled the border with Pakistan and had already played a key role in the war against the Soviets.

Under a constant pounding by B-52 bombers -- some 700,000 pounds, including 15,000-pound Daisy Cutters, between Dec. 4 and 7 -- bin Laden emerged Dec. 9 with some 50 fighters. A fleet of SUVs met them at the exit of the Tirah Valley and drove off in the direction of Peshawar.

Turabi and this reporter had been tipped by a prominent tribal leader in the region -- one with 600,000 pairs of eyes and ears -- where to meet the bin Laden escapees. We arrived Dec. 11 and missed the group by two days. But there was still no Pakistani blocking force in the area as the Pak army said there was.

For the past 10 years, bin Laden has enjoyed the protection of ISI's Section "S," which officially doesn't exist. These are preselected intelligence and special ops officers who retire officially and then take up new duties in Section S. A retired ISI source told this reporter that this system is the umbrella of plausible deniability.

Pakistan has all the earmarks of a split personality. Part of the country's intelligence apparatus has cooperated and unknown parts haven't. The Pakistani establishment sees 65 percent of Americans against the war in Afghanistan. It also knows that America's 44 allies in Afghanistan can't wait to get home. They originally signed up to assist their American friends in the wake of 9/11, fully expecting to be out of Afghanistan in six to nine months, not six to nine years.

Unspoken but firmly believed by Pakistan's powers that be is the return to power in Kabul of a reformed Taliban, with equal rights for women, and shedding its medieval form of government. The guarantor? Pakistan.

Osama bin Laden's demise is an emotional victory for the United States but countless millions of Pakistanis and millions of others in Muslim countries will convince themselves that this is a yet another CIA/Mossad conspiracy; that bin Laden is still alive.

After all, hundreds of millions still believe 9/11 itself was the original conspiracy between U.S. and Israeli intelligence, designed as it was to push back the frontiers of Islam and provide a pretext for getting closer to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and seizing it.

Even Western-educated Pakistani conspiracy buffs feed off some of the more bizarre U.S. retaliatory capabilities.

The sad truth about bin Laden's burial at sea is that it will have little impact on the global war on terrorism. Al-Qaida and Associated Movements have never been dependent on an iconic Osama bin Laden. They operate in the new world of the Internet and the wider jihadist movement in a global electronic caliphate. 

Texting and tweets is their new language. How to make a bomb in ma's kitchen makes for more exciting reading in their online magazine "Inspire" than having to learn the Koran by heart in Arabic over 10 years, as young boys do in Pakistan's 12,500 single-discipline madrassas.

Osama bin Laden's demise is a great victory for the skill and courage of the intelligence community and U.S. Navy SEALs. It is also a global wake-up call for reassessing the global balance of forces, drawing the proper lesson from China's 5.8 million civilian workers on building projects abroad (including 1 million in Africa) versus America's priorities that keep 350,000 soldiers overseas in some 700 bases and facilities.

While the United States spent blood and treasure to the tune of $1 trillion in Iraq and $500 billion in Afghanistan over the past 10 years, a budding superpower in the east is taking a leaf out of the Marshall Plan.

 

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Leave Syria to the Syrians Print E-mail
by Charles Glass    Tue, May 3, 2011, 01:57 PM

This is not a good time to be running the Middle East desk at the State Department. If you happen to be him or her, take my advice: Do nothing. Especially in Syria. Let all the think tanks and lobbyists submit their recommendations. Ask the CIA for the usual analysis. Tell the Israelis, which you would anyway, that you’ll put their suggestions at the top of the pile. Stack that pile high, then burn it. If you stick your hand into this particular tar baby, you will never get out.

Think back to when this mess began, which was a long time before young Mohamed Bouazizi burned himself to death in Tunisia. It was about the time the British and the French decided to save the Arabs from the Ottoman Empire’s oppression. They convinced a few Arabs, who would have remained loyal to their sultan if they had not lost out in one power struggle or another, to overthrow their oppressor. This was only a couple of generations after Britain and France protected the Turks’ empire from encroachment by that other evil empire—the Russian one—in the Crimea. By 1917, when the Turk was looking vulnerable, the time came to rescue his subjects from harsh treatment that the Anglo-French entente had not noticed for a couple of centuries. Soon after the Turks were driven out, the Iraqis were fighting for their lives against the British and the Syrians risked their all to expel the French. Both failed until the Second World War made the maintenance of Levantine and Mesopotamian protectorates too expensive.

Syria is a complex and diverse society in which outside do-gooders risk destroying all they claim to support.”

Liberation from outside is as dangerous a game as revolution. With neither can the outcome be predicted. The Poles were liberated from the Nazis in 1945, only to find themselves under the Red Army. Many Iraqis wanted to depose Saddam Hussein in 2003, but the American Army turned out to be a blunt instrument that made their lives more hellish than Saddam had. I remember when Palestinians in the West Bank complained about Jordanian rule. I suspect that having since 1967 been occupied by Israel’s army and displaced by Israel’s settlers, they would give anything to have the Jordanians back. So before Uncle Sam rides to the rescue in Syria, give it some thought.

There are two people whose analysis of matters Syrian I respect. Both are British journalists and scholars who have lived in the region, speak Arabic, and are at least seventy-five. One is David Hirst, formerly of the Guardian. The other is Patrick Seale, who used to write for the Observer. Seale’s 1965 The Struggle for Syria is the starting point for any serious understanding of the country’s politics. His 1988 Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East tells all you need to know about Syria since Assad père became president in 1970. Hirst’s The Gun and the Olive Branch renders most other histories of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict irrelevant, and his recent Beware of Small States brings the drama up to date by doing the impossible: explaining Lebanon.

Hirst wrote on March 22 in the Guardian that protestors in Dera’a, the southern border town where the anti-regime demonstrations began, burned down the office of a cell-phone company owned by the president’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, and the local headquarters of the Ba’ath Party. The party and the company represent monopoly—one economic, the other political. Many Syrians believe that their lives would be better if they could share in the economy and the government. Those who control both monopolies refuse to share wealth and power, so the contest is on. Hirst writes:

Never would the army and police leaderships abandon the political leadership as they did in Egypt and Tunisia. For them all, so incestuously linked, overthrow is simply not an option.

Civil war, however, is an option.

Seale divides Syria into the regime’s defenders and opponents. Defenders include the

Alawi-led army and security services…the Sunni merchants of Damascus…[and] several thousand of the new affluent bourgeoisie….To these different groups should be added those Syrians of all classes who, having observed the slaughter and destruction across the borders in Lebanon and Iraq, prefer to opt for stability and security, even at the cost of harsh repression and a lack of political freedom.

Among the opponents are

The young working-class poor, who protest in the street because they see no possibility of a better life…the new middle class poor—that is to say, educated or semi-educated young people who, on graduation, find that there are no jobs for them….Intellectuals…small businessmen whose ability to make money has been blocked by the corrupt and greedy men at the top….And then there are the Islamists.

Syria is a complex and diverse society in which outside do-gooders risk destroying all they claim to support.

There may well be interference already, as there is no indication that the Obama Administration has shut down the Bush-era program to finance and promote Syrian exile oppositionists. A Reuters report, published in the Guardian on March 11, indicated that someone was preparing the ground for an armed insurrection in Syria.

The first victims of a war in Syria will be the religious minorities. These include the Alawites and the Christians, who comprise about ten percent of the population and have prospered under the Assad regime. The government, despite the Ottoman-era practice of defining citizens by religious sect, is explicitly secular. Gregory III Laham, the Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, in an interview with Asia Today, praised young Muslim demonstrators in Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs who “offered to protect churches, providing security cordons around the buildings to prevent criminal acts.” He nonetheless fears the “criminals and even fundamentalist Muslims who cry for jihad. This is why we fear that giving way to violence will only lead to chaos.”

As in Iraq, chaos would mean the mass emigration of the Christian communities who have lived there for two millennia. Syria, following the American invasion of Iraq with its concomitant anarchy and sectarian conflict, took in over a million Iraqi refugees, including more than 300,000 Christians. Where would they and Syria’s indigenous Christians find refuge? Do Washington’s holy warriors want them to leave and for Syria to be as purely Sunni as its favorite Mideast statelet, Saudi Arabia?

The Syrians would be wise not to make their ancestors’ mistake of accepting military help from foreigners who have never done them any good. If the West wants parliamentary democracy in Syria, why did the CIA and Britain’s MI6 support the 1949 military coup that destroyed it in the first place? America’s would-be Lawrences of Arabia who believe they can liberate the Syrians would do well to remember that this rebellion began in Dera’a. It was in Dera’a that Lawrence himself was captured and tortured. He wrote that “in Dera’a that night the citadel of my integrity had been irrevocably lost.”

The US is doing enough harm in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya without burying itself in the Syrian tar as well. As the old French saying goes, it is urgent to do nothing.

 

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Right of Secession Inherent in the Organic Law of United States Print E-mail
by Wes Riddle    Mon, May 2, 2011, 08:20 AM

There still is no Constitutional amendment that makes secession unconstitutional per se. As amazing as that sounds, States' rights were at the heart of constitutional dispute in the past, and one would have thought that secession, as the ultimate expression of sovereign states' rights would have been addressed. Many historians will say the issue was ambiguous or unresolved before the War Between the States (1861-65) and that somehow the War resolved the issue once and for all. No doubt for that generation it did. But the central issue remains just as ambiguous and unresolved afterwards in terms of law and political theory, given that no determination was made on that issue, other than for the timeframe and constitutional regime determined by a clash of arms on particular battlefields when might determined right. In those days political-military battles were waged to prevent secession over a complex of particular contemporary issues, most notably the expansion of slavery.  

The politics of war and secession remain the same as it was, however, without a constitutional amendment. Today there would be a host of very different contemporary issues involved of course, should secession be recurred to. The fact is that secession is not addressed or mentioned in the Constitution but is ever a theoretical and potential part of American political culture. It really boils down to politics and perhaps to political brinkmanship. The Union could respond peaceably next time by way of political decision and response. It would not be a violation of the Constitution for the federal government to do so, or be shall we say, a bit more "civil" the next go-round.  

Jefferson Davis the President of the Confederacy, though held prisoner for two years after the War was never tried for treason. Why? The reason has to do with the concept of Organic Law. By most accounts, United States Organic Law includes the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. You can compare it to your Charter and By-Laws. By-Laws can be amended with some effort, but the Charter can't. Some have tried to mess around with Organic Law, and throw in the various Northwest Ordinances-just so they can say Organic Law includes anti-slavery and mandates public education, but that makes no sense as the Northwest Ordinances were for the organization and administration of the Northwest Territory.  

Indeed, if your corporation opens a new business or product line, the associated contracts, checklists and procedures hardly affects the corporate Charter or amends the by-laws. Organic Law is distinct in terms of its ratification too. We celebrate the 4th of July and Constitution Day, and so did the Founders. The Northwest Ordinances are instructive and informative. They might even be presumptive in terms of federally administered territories, but that's it. One could argue the case for the Articles of Confederation as being organic law, but these were specifically superseded by the Constitution-and the original passage of the Northwest Ordinances actually took place under the framework of the Articles.  

So now back to the issue at hand. Why no Constitutional Amendment to repeal the right to secession or to state categorically that no such right ever existed? Southern states before they were allowed back into the Union had to write language into their state constitutions surrendering the right of secession. Of course that means states can write anti-secessionist language back out of their constitutions if they want to! If no such right existed, if the War had been a localized insurrection instead of a constitutional act of political sovereignty, the language in those constitutions would make no sense.  

The reason has to do with Organic Law and particularly with the Declaration of Independence. And note that the Constitution inherently incorporates the Declaration as its Charter, referring in Article VII to the method by which the Constitution was drafted in Convention by Unanimous Consent of the States present, in "the Year of our Lord" 1787 and "of the independence of the United States of America the Twelfth"-dating it to the Declaratory instrument (1776). By invoking the Name of the Lord in time and including the reference to the original Charter, the Constitution also incorporates Natural Law and "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God."  

The War Between the States altered the federal-state relationship to be sure, and the locus of power shifted to the federal government in an immediate and practical sense. But it is important to consider that the War did not and does not justify power beyond the terms of peace or the actual Constitutional amendments that followed. The War Between the States did not change Natural Law or alter, nor could it alter the Organic Law of the United States, which remains the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as amended.  

American federalism was and is fundamental to the structure and conception of the Declaration and the Constitution and cannot be said to have undergone change beyond the amendments to the Constitution. Orbits of respective sovereignty between state and federal levels remain inviolable. The Declaration is primarily a statement of the reasons for which it was right for the United States to secede from Great Britain. It is written in universal terms too, categorically declaring that whenever Government should become tyrannical, that is to say, destructive of the people's unalienable rights or the just purposes for which the government is formed, that "it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish" that government, "and to institute new Government.."  

The Constitution and the federal government have even recognized legal secession under certain circumstances by recognition of the sovereign state of West Virginia, formed out of Virginia. Vermont was formed by the inhabitants out of land claimed by New York and New Hampshire, again in revolutionary circumstance during the American Revolution. The Joint Resolution annexing Texas to the United States authorizes Texans to form an additional four states out of her territory-and although it would be nice to have those Senators in Washington, Texans are not likely to pursue the plan anytime soon!  

In other words, secession under certain circumstances is Constitutional by definition, but it is a political matter whether it will be sustained and tolerated or put down violently. No amendment to invalidate secession was offered after the War Between the States, nor would it have passed given that the theory is part and parcel of Organic Law in the Declaration of Independence and in the subsequent operation of the Constitution of these United States itself. It is unclear how the right to secession could ever be repealed by amendment or any other way, given its centrality to the nation's Charter and the universal language Thomas Jefferson used. Secession can be denied by the federal government in the particular instance it is tried, but that devolves entirely into a political matter of will and raw power-and de facto suspension in the normal operations of the Constitution.  

_____________________

Wesley Allen Riddle is a retired military officer with degrees and honors from West Point and Oxford. Article based on remarks to Sons of Confederate Veterans, Major Robert M. White Camp #1250 in Temple, TX on 9 April 2011. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Were I Not Catholic Print E-mail
by James Reza    Thu, Apr 28, 2011, 01:10 PM

Genesis 27:29 God says, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee."

 

A couple of Sunday’s ago two Christian men from Israel visited our church.  The men have visited our church several times in years past.  The men sell beautiful hand carved wooden religious objects to support their Catholic church in Jerusalem.  During mass one of the men spoke to parishioners asking to purchase their religious artifacts to help their dwindling congregation in Jerusalem.  Shortly thereafter, Father Tom, our pastor, made in my opinion, several Anti-Semitic comments.  Father Tom stated that Jews treat Catholics and Christians in general bad in Jerusalem and sided with the Palestinians in their on going battle with Israel.  As a strong supporter of Israel I was dismayed with Father Tom’s unsavory Jewish comments.

According to historians the term ‘Palestinian’ always referred to both Jews and Arabs.  Both have lived in that region.  It was Judea, the home of the Jews, until the Romans conquered it.  The British later had the mandate over the region of Palestine.  They gave 82% to the Arabs, which is known as the country Jordan.  That left 18%.  The British decided to partition it between the Jewish and Palestinian Arab side by side.  The Jews said yes.  The Arabs said no and threatened war.  In 1948 the armies of six Arab nations attacked the new Jewish state of Israel.  The Arab Commission broadcast on the radio and told the Palestinian Arabs to flee.  The Jews asked the Palestinian Arabs to stay — some did, and today they are full Israeli citizens.  Palestinians who fled were put in terrible refugee camps in Egypt and Jordan and left there to rot.  At the same time, over a million Jewish refugees arrived in Israel who had been kicked out of Arab states.  Israel absorbed them right away.

Contrasting Father Tom’s comments about the Jews, here’s this comment made by Pope John Paul II, “It must be understood that Jews, who for 2,000 years were dispersed among the nations of the world, had decided to return to the land of their ancestors.  That is their right!”

Pope Benedict XVI also made a pro-Israel statement in regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict:  “We are faithful Catholics who support the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.  We wish to draw more attention to the plight of long-suffering Catholics and other Christians in the Muslim world.  We believe there are millions of Catholics who represent an untapped resource for support of the Jewish State and its right to defend itself from terrorism.  We want to be a source of information for Catholics on the Arab-Israeli conflict.  My friends, I support these two aforementioned pontiff’s remarks.

I firmly believe that Father Tom is unaware as to who are the enemies of Christians and Catholics in the Middle East Muslim ruled countries, which I will illustrate in the following paragraphs.

Afghanistan:  The nation’s constitution designates Islam as the state religion and “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.”  As a result, in May 2010 a group of Muslims were sentenced to death for converting to Christianity.  Luckily, they escaped and found asylum in India.

EgyptIn December 2010, Muslim extremists attacked an Orthodox Coptic Church in Upper Egypt during Christmas midnight mass and murdered nine.  On New Years day, twenty mass goers died and seventy others were wounded when a car bomb exploded outside the Church of Saints in AlexandriaEgypt is the home to 20-million Christians — far more than any other country in the region.  Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants are persecuted for allegedly carrying out clandestine evangelization.

Iraq:  Since 2000, over 77% of Iraq’s 700,000 Christians have fled.  In February 2008, the Catholic Archbishop of one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was kidnapped and died in captivity.  His successor, Archbishop Amil Nona, believes that his diocese has suffered “some of the worst persecution to befall the church in a generation.”  On October 31, 2010, 58 people died when an organization linked to al Qaeda attacked Baghdad’s Our Lady of Deliverance Cathedral during Sunday Mass.  Archbishop Louis Sako said, “For us Christians of Iraq, martyrdom is the charisma of our church . . . we are aware that bearing witness to Christ can mean martyrdom.”

I wonder if Father Tom and others who think like him are aware that in 2002, a Nigerian Sharia court sentenced Amina Lawal to be stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock; in contrast, the man who fathered the child denied responsibility and as a result the court dropped the charges against him.

In another case, teenager Bariya Magazu asserted that she was raped by three men and became pregnant.  Because she had sex outside of marriage, a Sharia court sentenced her to one hundred lashes, though seven people corroborated her story.  The men received no punishment.

The extreme bias against women is apparent in sentences of adultery or fornication under Sharia.  Countries such as Nigeria impose flogging, stoning, or severing off a hand . . . all of which are deterrent punishments for serious crimes mentioned in the Koran.

Folks, I was born and raised a Catholic.  However were I not a Catholic I could easily accept the Jewish faith.  After all, wasn’t Jesus Christ a Jew?

 

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