Book Sale

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Feminists Can’t Solve Domestic Violence Issues


There has been a massive push in the media in Australia recently from the government seeking to address violence against women. Setting aside the fact that Australia is one of the safest countries on the planet for men and women, the media is making the mistake of putting forward the feminist narrative about domestic violence: that it is a men’s problem and women and children are the only victims we should really speak about.

It is for this basic reason that feminists will never be able to solve the domestic violence problem, because they are ideologically dedicated to only seeing part of the problem, violence against women and not the totality of the problem.

I think two points really drive this point home. First, should not we consider abortion domestic violence? Yes, we should. Abortion is violence between a mother, sometimes a mother and father, towards a child. This fits the basic societal understanding of domestic violence. When you factor this in then we see that women influenced by feminism are actually far more likely to be violent towards a family member than our society likes to admit. Secondly, should we also not consider a woman cheating on her husband, leaving him for another man, using the courts to take his home and his dignity, as forms of domestic violence? If coercion is domestic violence, is not a woman threating to do that to her husband or live-in-boyfriend, or actially doing it, also guilty of domestic violence? You see the issue here, feminists look at a very limited range of problems in the home and trumpet them as the totality of the issues involved, which leads to a situation where many other issues are just being neglected.

The Goodsauce has addressed this in a fantastic piece this week, it is well worth reading,

“Women are victims, men are violent”

IF YOU’VE BEEN listening to the Lying Harlot Media, politicians or feminists for the past few weeks, you’d have noticed an increasing volume of complaints about “violence against women”.

One headline shocks:

A woman is being violently killed in Australia every four days this year.

Is there any other way of being killed – “non-violent murder”?

The article uses the same gendered, exclusive language as is seen everywhere – men are killing women. It quotes a professional lobbyist who’s organisation only exists to end violence against women:

“…Another woman has been killed allegedly by men’s violence…”

“…A shocking rate of violent deaths of women this year that exceeds anything Australia has experienced in recent years.”

Last year saw 64 Australian women “violently killed”: a rate of one per 5.7 days. Of course anything over zero is terrible.

This year, after 114 days, 26 women have been murdered: a rate of one per 4.4 days.

But that’s including the psychopathic mass murder event in Bondi which any responsible statistician would exclude as an outlier, not part of a relevant sample of endemic male behaviours. If you do exclude Joel Cauchi’s psychotic rampage in honestly assessing our culture, the rate reduces to one per 5.4 days this year, just slightly higher than last year.

But we’re told this is a “crisis”, and I can’t help noticing our media and governments love using that word.

Here’s why I’m not buying that narrative.

Only 31% of homicides in Australia in 2022 (most recent data from ABS) were women.

Let me interpret that for you.

Men are being killed at more than twice the rate of women, and no one thinks that’s a crisis. No one’s holding rallies or protests or marches or vigils or starting DV shelters or getting government funding to “solve” the problem or getting wall to wall media coverage or high profile, major party politicians speeches clutching their pearls about violence against men.

The modern proverb “follow the money” might cause critical thinkers to observe the federal budget is only weeks away, the perfect time to pressure governments to be seen to be “doing something”. Like every grievance industry, real solutions only mean an end to rivers of cash from government to charities, so this won’t end well for any victims of violence or vulnerable others.”[1]

Looking at the issue of domestic violence honestly is not good for the bottom lines of many feminist organizations in Australia. There is a vested financial interest in making sure that people are continually fed a particular narrative on this issue, rather than the full truth. But refusing to look at this issue wholistically and addressing the full truth is not just wrong, it actually takes a terrible toll on society, especially on children, as the article notes,

“The third example of feminist hypocrisy is their aribtrary scale of horror which holds violence in the home as more evil than violence outside the home, the place where about 70% of female victims experience violence, as opposed to male victims, 70% of whom experience violence elsewhere.

The inconsistent standard is their typical, shameless, political support for a cultural normalisation of making the womb the most dangerous place in Australia for anyone.

Cancer killed 29,300 Australians, heart disease killed 24,400, and dementia killed 13,700 in 2017. These top three causes of death according to the ABS killed 67,400 people, while the number of living humans killed in abortion clinics numbered between 70,000 to 100,000. That’s at least 95 little girls, deliberately killed, every day.

No, the home is not even close to the most dangerous place in Australia to be a female.

The godless amorality of feminism dares to claim a vain right to “violently kill” (poison and/or tear limb from limb) a unique, living human being at any stage of gestation for literally any reason – including just being female – and then has the two-faced audacity to say that violence in the home is worse than all other violent behaviours.

Every argument “violence against women” alarmists offer is hypocritical at best, and maliciously divisive at worst.”[2]

Many Christians are aware that abortion is a great evil in society, and it is really good to see this issue addressed in the context of a discussion of domestic violence. Whether you want to put the blame for this at the feet of feminists, and to a degree we should, or at the feet of the weakness of modern Australian men, and to a degree we should, as this article points out the most dangerous place in Australia, at least in raw numbers, is the womb. THIS SHOULD NOT BE!! This is a terrible evil, a terrible wrong, and we constantly see politicians stand up and grandstand about stopping violence against women and then allow tens of thousands of baby girls and boys to be aborted each year. It needs to stop, and it needs to be recognized that this issue should be framed in the context of the wider domestic violence issue.

Feminists are not capable of stopping domestic violence because their ideology requires violence against children in the womb, including young girls, to be allowed. And the way their industry gets funding requires they present a misleading narrative about the issues surrounding domestic violence in society. If they were to be more honest about these two facts, much of their industry and much of what they profit off would disappear. This would actually have a net positive effect on society, because rather than politicians feeling pressured to address this issue from one very narrow perspective, it would allow society to honestly address the full range of problems of violence that our society has not yet dealt with.

I think working towards a society where no violence ever happens is a utopian goal, as long as sinful humans live in this world, there will be some who give themselves over to violence. But I do believe we can tackle certain issues of violence successfully to a large degree, and it is obvious that we have achieved this in many aspects of our society. The irony is that feminists claim a victims status that they exaggerate whilst also proclaiming an ideology which perpetuates the most violent act in our society today; abortion. And as Christians we should work tirelessly to see this evil overturned in our lifetime. It can happen. Pray it does.

List of References

[2] Ibid.

Monday 29 April 2024

Karens - Another Win For Biblical Wisdom


Because of some things I have seen on social media, and in wider society, lately, I have been reflecting a bit on what the Bible says about ‘busybodies’. There are countless examples of this. If there is one issue I could identify in the Australian culture that underlies many other problems in our society, it is that we have a society where so many people are busybodies. So many people in our culture want to find ways to insert themselves into the business of others or take control of other people’s lives in some way. From local government all the way up to senior federal government positions we see this emphasis on seeking to control the minutia of people’s lives. But it does not just happen in government. Throughout our society in lobby groups, social groups, sporting groups, religious groups and more, we see this unceasing stream of busybodies flooding across our society coming up with new rules, new laws, new proposed rules and laws, new guidelines and more, and new things people must do. They are everywhere. 

These kinds of people got to achieve their dream society in 2020 to early 2023. You could see how much delight busybodies were taking in making and enforcing rules. This was their dream come true, the ability, and the so-called moral and ethical backing, to make their dreams of petty power become a reality. But this is not their only imprint on society. This was just an opportunity for them to be let loose in a way that they could only previously hope to imagine.

The Bible speaks of these troublesome people and indicates at least where some of them come from. We read this in 1 Timothy,  

“11 But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry 12 and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. 13 Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 14 So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. 15 For some have already strayed after Satan” (1 Tim. 5:11-15).

Now, even though Paul is directly addressing widows in this passage, we know that he has a similar understanding for single women in general, because he says earlier in 1 Timothy, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Tim. 2:15). Paul is addressing women in general here, but particularly those who are seeking to teach in the church, and he tells them that they are not to teach, not to assume authority, but rather are to live out their faith by seeking to be godly mothers. When Paul says by this they will “be saved”, I do not think this means in the sense of salvation from sins, but in the sense of being rescued from the devil’s schemes, because this advice here matches very precisely with his advice to widows, and it also fits with protecting women from the same deception by the devil that Eve fell for (1 Tim. 2:13-14).

In other words, Paul is saying that if women do not recognize what God has called them to in life, and that is generally to be wives and mothers, they will be in danger of deception from the devil, just like Eve was. They will become troublemakers, busybodies, gossips, saying what they should not. They will become people who think they should assume an authority that they should not. They will become people who invade other people’s lives in unhealthy and sinful ways. They will be deceived and follow after Satan, just as Eve was deceived and followed after the devil.

What is interesting is how many young Christian women I have met across my life, who believed that they were not yet called to settle down, marry, and have a family, but instead were called to be social activists, or called to this or that ministry, life of service or to some other cause or thing. While I do believe in some instances God does call women to singleness, as Paul seems to indicate in 1 Corinthians 7:17-40, this does not mean that they are called to ignore Paul’s advice here in Timothy. In fact, in 1 Corinthians Paul says, “And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit” (1 Cor. 7:34). Paul is not saying that single women should be called to activism, ministry or social causes, or other things like this. He is simply saying that they have less concerns. How can they have less concerns if they go and dedicate their life to fighting some nation or international cause? They can’t.

In other words, Paul is saying in general women should marry and have children, and manage the home so that they do not become people who are tempted to interfere in other people's lives and affairs. Any woman who takes on this role, especially those who educate their children in the home, knows that this will fill their time. There is no time to be a busybody if you are doing this role diligently. So many young women ignore this, and indeed many pastors do not teach this, and you see the many issues this causes in society. The subversive 19th century Suffragette and “evangelical” Feminist movement would be the most powerful example of the issues this can cause for a society. The modern degradation in progressive Christian churches is another. 

In fact, Paul seems to say that if a woman has the time, she should find a way to help her relatives rather than look to influence society, “If any believing woman has relatives who are widows, let her care for them. Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows” (1 Tim. 5:16). Rather than take her free time and try to change the world, and therefore become a Karen who wants to rule the daily lives of countless people through an ever increasing pile of rules and decrees, she should use her time to make sure her extended family is well cared for. If you don’t have extended family, than ask the Church how you can help, so the church is not burdened. 

If our churches were to apply this, and if young women were properly taught this, there would be a lot less troublesome young women seeking to invade other peoples lives, and far less lonely single women in their forties and fifties angry that no one told them to get their act together before it was too late. But it is not just women who have an issue here. 

Paul also says,

“10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living” (2 Thess 3:10-12).

This passage is saying that men who do not work should not eat, "If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." The work women should do is keeping the home, if they are not engaged in this they can become troublesome. The work men should do is providing for their relatives, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). If men are not diligent in this, they too become troublesome. They too will find ways to be busybodies.

The truth is, I see this sort of busybody type behaviour less in men, than I do in women, though it does exist in men. If you include the online annoying gamma commenter it probably increases how much it exists in men, though. I think the reason you see this less for men is that society is far harsher to men who do not fulfil their God-given role, than it is to women who do not fulfill theirs. Women are actually encouraged to not be home keepers, and to not be people who take care of their relatives. Not just encouraged, but really propagandised to leave the home and work. But men are brutally and correctly told that they should be income earners, who do not live off others. So it is harder for men to be busybodies. However, just because it is less common does not mean it does not exist.

So, Paul helps us understand at least part of where this phenomenon comes from. It comes, in part, from men and women not fulfilling their God given roles diligently. The good thing about this is that once you become aware of this you can easily speak to it, or correct it in your own life. The bad news is that many people, even many Christians, have no intention of believing that Paul had better insight than them when it came to understanding our God-given roles in society. Most people think that Paul was an out of date misogynist who was simply perpetuating the outdated morality and social conventions of his day, or among those who think he was progressive for his day and a step towards the egalitarian "utopia" our society is pursuing. I think they are wrong and I think the fact that our society is filled with so many busybodies is proof that Paul was correct to tell women their role is in managing the home. The fact that our modern culture has come up with a whole new term to describe women who act this way - 'Karens' - shows that even though our society does not know the reasons for this issue, or even understands the solutions, it at least recognizes the issue is real and troublesome.

I would say this is another win for the Bible and its practical wisdom. We should have listened to it. 

List of References

Saturday 27 April 2024

Protesting Israel’s War is Antisemitic?


There have been an increasing number of protests against Israel’s war in Gaza across the world, but also notably in American universities. Many in the media and political scene have been calling these univerity protests antisemitic. For instance Benjamin “Netanyahu Calls U.S. Student Protests Antisemitic and Says They Must Be Quelled. “What’s happening in America’s college campuses is horrific,” the Israeli prime minister said in a televised statement. “Antisemitic mobs have taken over leading universities.”[1]

The Times goes on to report,

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said on Wednesday that protests at U.S. universities against Israel’s war in Gaza were “horrific” and should be stopped, using his first public comments on the subject to castigate the student demonstrators and portray them as antisemitic.

Mr. Netanyahu’s comments could harden division over the demonstrations. They could also give ammunition to Republican leaders who have criticized the protesters and accused university administrators and Democrats of failing to protect Jewish students from attack.”[2]

But are they antisemitic? For one the idea that it is inherently antisemitic to protest this war is blatantly absurd, the coalition of people who oppose the ongoing hostilities is far reaching and broadly represented across society, and criticism of a first world army killing such large numbers of civilians is easily justifiable. But this term is being used in much the same way that the term 'antivaxxer' was used during covid; to label any criticism of the lockdowns or the mandates as simply fringe views. In the same way some use the term 'antisemitic' simply to seek to pigeon whole opponents to what the IDF is doing is Gaza as fringe dwellers. But it is especially inaccurate to describe these protests as antisemitic, when many of the protestors themselves are Jewish, and they are specifically Jewish opponents of the war.

For example the Jewish Voice for Peace website says,

“Our elected officials and the U.S. media, desperate to maintain unquestioning support for the Israeli war machine in service of their own interests, have responded by exploiting fears of rising antisemitism and smearing peaceful, anti-war protests as dangerous, anti-semitic mobs.

As the largest anti-Zionist Jewish organization in the world, we unequivocally reject the conflation of antisemitism with anti-Zionism and reaffirm in the strongest terms that there is no place for antisemitism in our movements. We condemn the false accusations of antisemitism leveled against principled, anti-war protesters to discredit our movements.

We understand these accusations for what they are: a cynical distraction from the ongoing atrocities in Gaza. Over 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, with thousands more feared dead. They are currently unearthing the bodies of their loved ones in mass graves. In Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have taken shelter, Israel’s military is preparing to invade.”[3]

These Jewish advocates clearly are not basing their opposition to the war in support for Hamas, or anti-Jewish sentiment, but rather in their understanding of the Passover event from the book of Exodus.

Here is another example,

“Judaism has a history that goes back probably around 3,000 years, and Zionism [as a political ideology] has history that goes back around 200,” he tells Teen Vogue. “While I think the Jews have a historic connection to the land that's currently controlled by Israel, that does not necessarily mean that Zionism is part of the Jewish religion.”

For more than a week, students at Columbia and neighboring Barnard have occupied the main lawn in tents. They’ve been arrested, suspended, and evicted from university housing. They’ve braced for a visit from US House Speaker Mike Johnson, who said the Ivy League school ought to send the National Guard to campus. These protesters are demanding that the university divest from companies with economic ties to or investments in Israel, and grant amnesty to demonstrators who have been punished. Similar encampments have popped up at dozens of colleges across the US, and hundreds of students have been arrested, some in violent clashes with police.

Amid this backdrop, young Jewish people who oppose the war in Gaza are finding creative ways to use their faith to resist the violence arguably being waged in their name. Just last week Columbia students organized a ceasefire seder on campus for Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the liberation of Jews from bondage in Egypt. Nearly 300 people were arrested at a similar demonstration outside Senator Chuck Schumer’s house in Brooklyn.”[4]

Some Christians confuse Zionism with Jewish identity. This stems from a misunderstanding that all Jews are on the same page when it comes to the reestablishment of the nation of Israel today, and also a misreading of the scriptures that imports much of what is said about ancient Israel and attributes it to the modern Israeli nation. But Zionism and Judaism are not synonymous. Just as evangelical and Protestant are not synonymous, the picture is far more complicated and much of what passes for Protestantism today is far from any of its biblical foundations and roots. So is this also true with the Jewish community, there are wide and diverse opinions on many issues. 

Some Christians may be afraid to criticize this war openly, because they fear they will be seen as antisemitic, or not standing in solidarity with the Jewish people. But the Jewish people themselves do not agree on the morality or practicality of this war, and how could they? Every nation or people has its divisions.

The important thing we should do, is not look at this through a lens of solidarity, but instead we should be dedicated to examining the truth of what is happening at every level. I think these Jewish protestors are correct, the accusations of antisemitism towards those calling for a ceasefire, or peace, are cynically seeking to turn criticism away from their actions towards those who are protesting those actions, as they say,

“We understand these accusations for what they are: a cynical distraction from the ongoing atrocities in Gaza. Over 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, with thousands more feared dead. They are currently unearthing the bodies of their loved ones in mass graves. In Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have taken shelter, Israel’s military is preparing to invade.”

One can walk and talk at the same time. By that I mean it is possible to despise and condemn Hamas and it is possible to say that Israel is not justified in doing all that it is doing. And you are not antisemitic for saying so. It is in fact the plain truth.

Friday 26 April 2024

Was Jesus A Hate Preacher?


Was Jesus a hate preacher? We have to ask the question, because there is no doubt his message encountered hate, inspired hate in others, and he was eventually dealt with in a hateful and violent fashion.

Look at this response to something Jesus said, “3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming” (Matt. 9:3).

Here is another response to the message of Jesus, “34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons” (Matt. 9:34).

Again we see this response to Jesus, “6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:6-7).

Many saw Jesus as an incredible danger, “19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” (John 10:19-20).

And he was considered so dangerous that some were even provoked to the most severe response, John 7:25, “Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill?” And Matthew 12:14, “But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”

Surely someone who inspired such a response of hate, anger and violence, must have been a man of hate himself, right? No. But the reason I ask this question is because in the wake of the stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, we read this in some of the media,

“‘Hate me, accept me or reject me’: The inflammatory words of bishop stabbed in Sydney attack.

The bishop targeted in Monday night’s stabbing attack in western Sydney has previously claimed the Islamic prophet Muhammad and other religious figures cannot be compared to Jesus, made inflammatory comments toward the LGBTQI+ community and fought against COVID lockdowns and vaccines…

According to the church website, Emmanuel was ordained as a priest in 2009 and as a bishop in 2011. He has amassed a large online following – a Facebook page associated with him has 294,000 followers.

Often livestreaming his services on YouTube and social media, he has attracted radical Christians for his anti-LGBTQ sermons.”[1]

It is in very poor taste to come after a man’s teachings who has been violently attacked, isn’t it? Especially if you do not take into account everything that man has said. Let me be clear this article does not say that Mari inspired these attacks against himself. But painting the man as an “inflammatory” preacher right after he got attacked is pretty low. Mar Mari Emmanuel is anything but a hate preacher, as you can see in this short clip where he addresses “My beloved Muslim world” in an incredibly gracious and caring way.

However, he is a speaker of the truth, and those who speak the truth will create offense, they will draw criticism, and some of them will get violently attacked. Not because that is what they are seeking to provoke, but because the truth is very offensive in a world that hates the truth. And by the standard of this media piece you could argue that Jesus was an inflammatory preacher as well.

Jesus claimed to have the authority of the God of the Jews right in front of their faces by forgiving a sick and sinful man (Matt. 9:1-8, Mark 2:6-7).

Jesus was able to cast out demons in a way that terrified the religious leaders of his day (Matt. 9:32-34), and he did not listen to their calls to explain how he could do this.   

Jesus’ teaching was so cutting and so insightful, and had such authority, that it created divisions among the Jews because he claimed to be speaking directly on behalf of God the father (John 10:1-19). Because of this many people thought he was the Christ, the rightful king of the Jews, though not everyone (John 7:24-31). Because he had such authority he was not afraid to flout their religious traditions and challenge their leadership (Matt. 12:9-14).

So, Jesus was a man who was not afraid of speaking uncomfortable truths, and sometimes even right in front of those who hated what he was saying. And their response to him shows how inflammatory these things were in their eyes. They hated him for these kinds of actions and statements.  

Now let’s evaluate Jesus in light of modern audiences. Jesus said marriage was only between one man and one woman (Matt. 191-12), calling into question same sex marriage, and all other forms of sexual relationships that are not between a man and a woman who are married to each other.

Jesus told people to love their enemies and forgive those who have seriously sinned against us, or we would not be forgiven (Matt. 5:43-6:15). Do you know how offensive this teaching is to the unredeemed mind? I have seen people snarl at the injustice of the fact that God would punish the person who did not forgive, harder than the person who repented for their wrong and sought forgiveness from God. Many people hate this teaching and even many Christians struggle with it.

Jesus told us to put loyalty to him up and over our family (Luke 14:25-26). Do you realize how many people despise this kind of teaching? This breaks so many honour codes in so many societies, that for this reason alone some people hate Jesus. Simply because he says that following him is more important than following your family.

According to the standards of Jesus’ day and according to some standards of our day, you could accuse Jesus of being an inflammatory preacher. Look at the way he spoke at times. He called his own listeners adulterers (Matt. 5:27-28), hateful (Matt. 5:21-26), hypocrites (Matt. 7:5), evil (Matt. 7:11), and told them they were dangerously obsessed with money (Matt. 6:19-24). And this is all just in the sermon of the Mount. Of all these things telling people how they should let go of or use their money probably stokes up the most anger. And later in his ministry he called the Jewish leaders, the scribes and Pharisees, fools (Matt. 23:17), blind men (Matt. 23:19), blind guides (Matt. 23:24), hypocrites (Matt. 23:25), whitewashed tombs (Matt. 23:27), lawless (Matt. 23:28), serpents, and a brood of vipers (Matt. 23:33). These are some strong words, especially when you put them together like all of this.

Of course, if the modern media existed in Jesus’ day someone may have been able to write, “local former Jewish carpenter turned inflammatory preacher dies by crucifixion. This man has blasphemed, called his listeners evil hypocrites, and accused the Jewish leadership of being whitewashed tombs.” This might be true in what it says, but it leaves out so much as to present a false perspective. If you were to present Jesus in such a fashion you would be speaking roughly equivalent to how many of his opponents then and now see him, simply as an insurrectionist or criminal, who died at the hands of the Roman overlords who ruled Judea at the time.  

Taking some of the harder things a preacher like Mari says and not putting it alongside of the whole work of the man, his gracious addressing of those he disagrees with, his loving actions to the community, and much more, is incredibly unjust. But it fits in with what Jesus and Peter told us we should expect to see happen to Christian preachers in this world,

“12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pet. 4:12-14).

As Christians we have been told to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But we were also told this would not always go down well, that we would be imperfect at how we did this, and that we should expect a fiery trial from time to time because we are seeking to speak the truth. And we are to allow none of this stop us from being the people of the truth who are not afraid to speak it. 

We don’t know exactly why Mar Mari was attacked, though it has been called a religiously motivated terrorist attack. What we do know is that how he has responded since the attack is a model of graciousness. He has forgiven his attacker, and called for his community to do the same. We Christians are going to face many different kinds of unfair framing or criticisms for seeking to speak the truth in the world. I hope we can all listen to the words of Jesus and seek to bless those who view us an unnecessarily “inflammatory.” I hope we can learn from Mari’s example of putting this into practice, so that we can silence the foolish talk of those who would criticize us (1 Peter 2:15) simply for seeking to be faithful to message of the scriptures, and our Lord Jesus Christ. And I hope we remain courageous in speaking the truth. 

List of References

[1] Patrick Begley 2024, “‘Hate me, accept me or reject me’: The inflammatory words of bishop stabbed in Sydney attack” The Sydney Morning Herald, accessed 26/04/2024.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Not Just Culture Wars


Image: Unsplash

While Christian leaders and pastors’ debate over whether or not Christians should be involved in the culture wars, two Chinese Colonels have long ago already outlined that there are forces at work seeking to wage war on society on many other fronts,

“Aside from what we have discussed above, we can point out a number of other means and methods used to fight a non-military war, some which already exist and some of which may exist in the future. Such means and methods include psychological warfare (spreading rumors to intimidate the enemy and break down his will); smuggling warfare (throwing markets into confusion and attacking economic order); media warfare (manipulating what people see and hear in order to lead public opinion along); drug warfare (obtaining sudden and huge illicit profits by spreading disaster in other countries); network warfare (venturing out in secret and concealing one's identity in a type of warfare that is virtually impossible to guard against); technological warfare (creating monopolies by setting standards independently); fabrication warfare (presenting a counterfeit appearance of real strength before the eyes of the enemy); resources warfare (grabbing riches by plundering stores of resources); economic aid warfare (bestowing favor in the open and contriving to control matters in secret); cultural warfare (leading cultural trends along in order to assimilate those with different views); and international law warfare (seizing the earliest opportunity to set up regulations), etc., etc. In addition, there are other types of non-military warfare which are too numerous to mention. In this age, when the plethora of new technologies can in turn give rise to a plethora of new means and methods of fighting war (not to mention the cross-combining and creative use of these means and methods), it would simply be senseless and a waste of effort to list all of the means and methods one by one. What is significant is that all of these warfighting means, along with their corresponding applications, that have entered, are entering, or will enter, the ranks of warfighting means in the service of war, have already begun to quietly change the view of warfare held by all of mankind.”[1]

While many Christian pastors naively argue that there are no culture wars and that Christians should not be seeking to advocate for the right kind of culture, these two Chinese Colonels have pointed out that “cultural warfare” is only one means of seeking to influence and defeat a nation. There are many other types, all of which we have seen examples of in our own nation in recent years. 

During Covid psychological warfare was unleashed against whole populations.

Drug warfare has been going on for decades.

International law warfare is a continual thorn in the side of those who seek to expell illegal immigrants, or who seek to engage in various fields like coal and nuclear power, or even make reliable cars. 

Many more examples can be given.

Those who say that there are no culture wars are incredibly naïve, foolish, or downright deceptive. We live in a world where nations are competing for supremacy and dominance, and as the Church we have a responsibility to speak into this space with the truth of God, to call leaders to repent and to be active in spreading the message of the kingdom of God. We should not be naïve to the many ways that other forces are seeking to undermine our society.

There is not just a culture war, far more is going on in our society and world than we realize. 

List of References

[1] Col. Qiao Liang and Col. Wang Xiangsui 1999, Unrestricted Warfare, Echo Points Books and Media, pp42-43.

Monday 22 April 2024

Israel Has Targeted Civilians Before


Image: Unsplash

One of the most incredulous things that people say about the Israeli Defence Force is that it is “the most moral army in the world”. Putting aside how ridiculous this is in the context of the current war on Gaza, this should be incredibly offensive to members of the military of Switzerland, among other places. Switzerland has long take an stance of neutrality in many of the world’s wars, creating for itself a large level of prosperity, but also keeping it from being accused of a variety of war crimes that many modern armies are accused of. It is hard to be immoral in war, if you say no to invading other countries, bombing other countries, and aligning in battle with other countries.  

Part of the basis of this statement about the morality of the Israeli army is the assertion that they go more out of their way to prevent the deaths of civilians than any other state force. But after having read more deeply into the history of the war on Palestine in the last 100 years, I can say that this is certainly not the case. There have been many instances of the IDF targeting civilians. That is not to say that their enemies are particularly moral, because they are not. I wrote about how evil and counterproductive how Hamas fights is, in a previous piece. They are not moral in any way. Fighting hard and dirty appears to be the norm in the Middle East, as it is in many contexts where wars are unceasing. Constant war hardens people. A very good example of this is when you look at how in World War 2 at the start of the war Americans were horrified at Britain’s tactic of bombing civilian cities, but by the end of the war they were going above and beyond what even the Brits had done. War is a corrupting force, it hardens the human soul, especially if it is ongoing.

I also think it could be argued that one of the natures of war anywhere in the Middle East is that it corrupts all sides equally and drags them all down to a pretty deplorable level. A friend of mine has a saying, “Don’t argue with stupid people, because they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” You could adjust this to say, “Don’t get involved in fighting quarrelsome people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

Khalidi shows in his book, The 100 Years’ War on Palestine, just how ridiculous the assertion is that the IDF always goes out of its way not to target civilians. He writes about what happened with Israel’s war in Lebanon against the PLO in the early 1980’s,

“It is not hard to understand the reasoning of these leaders and the communities they represented. Southerners, most of them Shi‘ites, had suffered more than any other Lebanese from the PLO’s actions. Besides its own violations and transgressions against the population in the south, the PLO’s very presence had exposed them to Israeli attacks, forcing many to flee their villages and towns repeatedly. It was understood by all that Israel was intentionally punishing civilians to alienate them from the Palestinians, but there was nevertheless much bitterness against the PLO as a result.”[1]

I want to stress here that this is not an argument from Khalidi or myself asserting that the enemies of Israel are any more moral, as he notes here, they too were committing crimes against civilian populations in Lebanon. But the point stands that Israel are happy to use collective punishment when they believe it suits their aims. The current war in Gaza is an example of this, with the IDF setting up a medieval style siege against the Gaza strip to limit severely any food or supplies coming into the city. When Hamas numbers around 30,000 fighters, whereas the population of Gaza is over 2 million people, this amounts to collective punishment and starvation of a civilian populace. This is targeting civilians, but Khalidi goes on to show how Israel have done this previously, as well,  

For the Sunnis, in particular those in West Beirut, the bombardment and siege of the Lebanese capital put an end to their staunch support for the PLO...This was a crucial shift: without the support of Beirut’s largely Sunni population, together with its many Shi‘a residents, prolonged resistance by the PLO to the Israeli offensive was ultimately futile...

...A few more weeks into the war, however, the leaders of the three Lebanese Muslim communities changed their position significantly and became more supportive of the PLO. This shift came after the PLO consented to withdraw from Beirut in exchange for ironclad guarantees for the protection of the civilians who would be left behind.

On July 8, the PLO presented its Eleven-Point Plan for withdrawal of its forces from Beirut. This plan called for establishing a buffer zone between Israeli forces and West Beirut, coupled with a limited withdrawal of the Israeli army, the lasting deployment of international forces, and international safeguards for the Palestinian (and Lebanese) populations, which would be left behind virtually without defenses once the PLO’s fighters had departed. On the strength of this plan, the Lebanese Muslim leaders were convinced that the PLO was sincere in its willingness to depart as a move to save the city. Also, they were deeply disconcerted by mounting evidence of Israel’s overt backing for the mainly Maronite LF, since it underlined the vulnerability of their communities in a post-PLO Lebanon dominated by Israel and its militant allies.

These concerns had been reinforced by the arrival of the LF militias in the Shouf in late June, and the widespread massacres, abductions, and murders that they carried out there and in the areas of the south under Israeli control. At this stage, after seven years of civil war, such sectarian slaughter was commonplace, and the PLO’s forces had served as a primary defender of the country’s Muslims and leftists. The Sunni, Shi‘a, and Druze leaders therefore redoubled their backing for the PLO’s demands in its Eleven-Point Plan.

There is a vital thread of US responsibility that must be followed to understand what happened next. The consequences were not just the result of decisions by Sharon, Begin, and other Israeli leaders, or of the actions of Lebanese militias who were Israel’s allies. They were also the direct responsibility of the Reagan administration, which, under pressure from Israel, stubbornly refused to accept the need for any formal safeguards for civilians, rejected the provision of international guarantees, and blocked the long-term deployment of international forces that might have protected noncombatants. Instead, to secure the PLO’s evacuation, Philip Habib, operating via Lebanese intermediaries, provided the Palestinians with solemn, categorical written pledges to shield the civilians in the refugee camps and neighborhoods of West Beirut...An American note of August 18 to the Lebanese foreign minister enshrining these pledges stated that

Law-abiding Palestinian non-combatants remaining in Beirut, including the families of those who have departed, will be authorized to live in peace and security. The Lebanese and US governments will provide appropriate security guarantees . . . on the basis of assurances received from the government of Israel and from the leaders of certain Lebanese groups with which it has been in contact.

These assurances were taken by the PLO to constitute binding commitments, and it was on their basis that it agreed to leave Beirut.”[2]

So, having lost the support of the Lebanese population, the PLO agreed to leave the city of Beirut, clear the region, and give it over to Israeli control on the provision that the United States and Lebanon made sure the Palestinians civilians, and others, were protected. But what actually happened? This:

“On August 12, after epic negotiations, final terms were reached for the PLO’s departure. The talks were conducted while Israel carried out a second day of the most intense bombardment and ground attacks of the entire siege. The air and artillery assault on that day alone—over a month after the PLO had agreed in principle to leave Beirut—caused more than five hundred casualties. It was so unrelenting that even Ronald Reagan was moved to demand that Begin halt the carnage. Reagan’s diary relates that he called the Israeli prime minister during the ferocious offensive, adding, “I was angry—I told him it had to stop or our entire future relationship was endangered. I used the word holocaust deliberately & said the symbol of his war was becoming a picture of a 7 month old baby with its arms blown off.” This sharp phone call impelled Begin’s government to halt its rain of fire almost immediately, but Israel refused to budge on the crucial issue of international protection for the Palestinian civilian population as a quid pro quo for the PLO’s evacuation.”[3]

So, Israel continued to bomb the area, even though negotiations to cease fighting were ongoing. This bombing was so horrific that even Ronald Regan, a famously pro-Israel President, called on Israel to stop the onslaught. That is an incredible fact. Note, though the PLO had not yet left, this was still an area filled with civilians, but this did not stop the relentless Israeli bombing. Let’s keep reading,  

The departure from Beirut of thousands of the PLO’s militants and fighting forces between August 21 and September 1 was accompanied by a broad outpouring of emotion in West Beirut. Weeping, singing, ululating crowds lined the routes as convoys of trucks carried the Palestinian militants to the port. They watched as the PLO was forced to evacuate the Lebanese capital, with its leaders, cadres, and fighters going to an unknown destiny. They ended up scattered by land and sea over a half dozen Arab countries...

...As their convoys rolled through Beirut, no one was aware that a sudden and unilateral American decision, taken under Israeli pressure, meant that the international forces supervising the evacuation—American, French, and Italian troops—would be withdrawn as soon as the last ship left. Israeli obduracy and US acquiescence had left the civilian population unprotected.”[4]

The PLO had agreed to leave, but they did not know that America was not intending to keep up their end of the bargain. And of course, it was not an official agreement, as Khalidi notes. The Palestinians had not read their American history, if they had, they would know that America has a long track record of betraying those it makes treaties or agreements with, when it suits them. The Native American peoples found this out the hard way, continually. We read a little further on,

“…The next day, September 16, I was sitting with Kerr and several of my AUB colleagues on the veranda of his residence when a breathless university guard came to tell him that Israeli officers at the head of a column of armored vehicles were demanding to enter the campus to search for terrorists…On the same night, September 16, Raja and I were perplexed as we watched a surreal scene: Israeli flares floating down in the darkness in complete silence, one after another, over the southern reaches of Beirut, for what seemed like an eternity. As we saw the flares descend, we were baffled: armies normally use flares to illuminate a battlefield, but the cease-fire had been signed a month earlier, all the Palestinian fighters had left weeks ago, and any meager Lebanese resistance to the Israeli troops’ arrival in West Beirut had ended the previous day. We could hear no explosions and no shooting. The city was quiet and fearful.

The following evening, two shaken American journalists, Loren Jenkins and Jonathan Randal of the Washington Post, among the first Westerners to enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, came to tell us what they had seen. They had been with Ryan Crocker, who was the first American diplomat to file a report on what the three of them witnessed: the hideous evidence of a massacre. Throughout the previous night, we learned, the flares fired by the Israeli army had illuminated the camps for the LF militias—whom it had sent there to “mop up”—as they slaughtered defenseless civilians. Between September 16 and the morning of September 18, the militiamen murdered more than thirteen hundred Palestinian and Lebanese men, women, and children...

...In Waltz with Bashir, Folman refers to concentric circles of responsibility for the mass murder that was facilitated by this act, suggesting that those in the outer circles were also implicated. In his mind, “the murderers and the circles around them were one and the same.”

The statement is as true of the war as a whole as it is of the massacres in Sabra and Shatila. A commission of inquiry set up after the events, chaired by Israeli Supreme Court Justice Yitzhak Kahan, established the direct and indirect responsibility of Begin, Sharon, and senior Israeli military commanders for the massacres. Most of those named lost their posts as a result of both the inquiry and the general revulsion in Israel over the massacres. However, documents released by the Israel State Archives in 201246 and the unpublished secret appendices to the Kahan Commission reveal even more damning evidence of these individuals’ culpability, which was far greater than the original 1983 report lays out. The documents expose long-deliberated decisions by Sharon and others to send the practiced Phalangist killers into the Palestinian refugee camps, with the aim of massacring and driving away their populations. They also show how American diplomats were repeatedly browbeaten by their Israeli interlocutors and failed to stop the slaughter that the US government had promised to prevent.”[5]

What is important to note here is that the Israeli investigation itself found the senior Israeli military leaders responsible for this massacre. One of those leaders would eventually become the Prime Minister of Israel. We also read,

“According to these documents, after the entire PLO military contingent had left Beirut at the end of August 1982, Begin, Shamir, Sharon, and other Israeli officials falsely asserted that some two thousand Palestinian fighters and heavy weaponry remained in the city, in violation of the evacuation accords. Shamir made the claim in a meeting with an American diplomat on September 17,49 even though the United States government knew for certain that this was not the case—Sharon himself told the Israeli cabinet a day earlier that “15,000 armed terrorists had been withdrawn from Beirut.” Moreover, Israeli military intelligence undoubtedly knew that this number included every single regular PLO military unit in Beirut.”[6]

Consider the import of these words. This was planned and carried out and the United States did not stop it. The US knew that all of the fighters had left, but they did nothing to actually stop this event. And the reason why this is significant will be seen soon. The Israel military did not do these attacks directly, but through their proxies, 

...Unbeknown to Draper or the US government, at that very moment the LF militias that Sharon’s forces had sent into the refugee camps were carrying out the killing of which he spoke—but of unarmed old people, women, and children, not supposed terrorists. If Sharon’s forces did not carry out the actual slaughter, they had nonetheless armed the LF to the tune of $118.5 million, trained them, sent them to do the job, and illuminated and facilitated their bloody task with flares.”[7]

This is incredibly chilling. As is how closely America supported its ally in this attack which killed thousands of civilians, by arming them in this conflict. To avoid American interference in this war, which they had faced in 1956 when they wanted to attack Egypt, Israel made sure that they had full US backing before they attacked,  

“Now, in 1982, launching this “war of choice,” as many Israeli commentators called it, was entirely dependent on the green light given by Alexander Haig, a point confirmed by well-informed Israeli journalists soon after the war. The new and fuller details revealed in previously unavailable documents make the case clearly: Sharon told Haig exactly what he was about to do in great detail, and Haig gave his endorsement, amounting to another US declaration of war on the Palestinians. Even after a public outcry over the deaths of so many Lebanese and Palestinians civilians, after the televised images of the bombardment of Beirut, after the Sabra and Shatila massacres, American support continued undiminished.

In terms of what Ari Folman called the outer circles of responsibility, American culpability for Israel’s invasion extends even further than Haig’s green light: the United States supplied the lethal weapons-systems that killed thousands of civilians and that were manifestly not used in keeping with the exclusively defensive purposes mandated by American law…

…Because of this knowledge, because of American backing for Israel and tolerance of its actions, its supplies of arms and munitions for use against civilians, its coercion of the PLO to leave Beirut and refusal to deal directly with it, and its worthless assurances of protection, the 1982 invasion must be seen as a joint Israeli-US military endeavor—their first war aimed specifically against the Palestinians."[8]

They say history does not repeat, but that it rhymes. And when it comes to Israel’s wars against Palestinians, there have been previously recorded and investigated examples of civilians being targeted. The United States is on record having known what was happening and supplying them the weapons which they used in these attacks. And yet still Israel claims that it has "the most moral military in the world." What we see recorded in history with these attacks is being repeated today and yet still people make this claim. 

This all does not mean that Israel’s enemies are any more moral, Hamas is known for targeting civilians regularly, they are not the friends of civilisation or the West. But Israel is guilty of targeting civilians as well, and the US is guilty of not doing anything to stop it. And this is on record. Many people are ill-informed about the nature of the ongoing war in Gaza. It stretches back about a century now, and both sides have committed atrocities. This is not a situation where westerners should be getting involved in defending one side as “good”. It is a situation where the entire world should be divorcing itself from the problems of the Middle East, cutting aid, especially military aid, to the any of these nations, and judging each nations actions according to an objective standard. Israel is not the innocent party many westerners think it is. And getting involved in wars in the Middle East is a recipe for moral corruption. 

List of References

[1] Khalidi, Rashid . The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: The New York Times Bestseller, Profile. Kindle Edition. Chapter 4.

[2] Ibid, chapter 4.

[3] Ibid, chapter 4.

[4] Ibid, chapter 4.

[5] Ibid, chapter 4.

[6] Ibid, chapter 4.

[7] Ibid, chapter 4.

[8] Ibid, chapter 4.