Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Safia Amajan killed

via Normsblog.

A Taliban commander, Mullah Hayat Khan, declared that Ms Amajan had been "executed". He said: "We have told people again and again that anyone working for the government, and that includes women, will be killed."

Ms Amajan had taken over the post of women's welfare officer soon after Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, fled with the fall of his regime. With the return of the Taliban, as the "war on terror" moved on to Iraq, aid workers - foreign and Afghan, men and women - were intimidated into leaving the region.

Ms Amajan was one of the few who refused to flee. Her secretary, Abdullah Khan, said: "She was very brave. She was also very hard-working. She was always trying her best to improve education for women."

As well as defying the Taliban, Ms Amajan made the mistake of being successful in what she was doing. In Kandahar alone she had opened six schools where a thousand women had learnt how to make and then sell their goods at the market. She was also instrumental in setting up tailoring schools for women, with some of the products making their way to markets in the West.
And more here and here.

Benedict and the Pagans

Lee Harris in The Weekly Standard writing Socrates or Muhammad? Joseph Ratzinger on the destiny of reason. It's strange tha we UU's who count the pagans among us should overlook what Ratzinger's up too. He's outflanking us.
St. Clement argued that Greek philosophy had been given by God to mankind as a second source of truth, comparable to the Hebrew revelation. For St. Clement, Socrates and Plato were not pagan thinkers; they prefigured Christianity. Contrary to what Tertullian believed, Christianity needed more than just Jerusalem: It needed Athens too. Pope Benedict in his address makes a strikingly similar claim: "The encounter between the Biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by chance." This encounter, for Benedict, was providential, just as it had been for St. Clement. Furthermore, Benedict argues that the "inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history." For Benedict, however, this event is not mere ancient history. It is a legacy that we in the West are all duty-bound to keep alive--yet it is a legacy that is under attack, both from those who do not share it, namely Islam, and from those who are its beneficiaries and do not understand it, namely, Western intellectuals.

William Galston on Lakoff's Chico Marxism

Galson reviewing Lakoff's new book over at Democracy. Not theology but UU's the only folks I know who've bought into Lakoff.
To the Berkeley linguist-cum-Democratic guru, what matters are not the facts, but the frames through which the facts are viewed. As he assures us in his new book, Whose Freedom?, "frames trump facts"–that, if facts are inconsistent with frames, they will be ignored. In his view, what ails progressives is that conservatives are far more aware of their guiding assumptions and more self-conscious about using language to "frame" issues to their advantage–regardless of the facts. To regain effectiveness, then, progressives must fight fire with fire. Instead of arguing the facts, Lakoff says, they must substitute their frame for that of the conservatives and reclaim the concept of freedom–in his words, "America’s most important idea."

Lakoff is entirely correct in placing freedom at the center of American identity and politics, yet like Chico, he ignores reality and only endorses as facts the assertions that are consistent with his worldview. Whose Freedom? could have been a provocative book from one of the few members of academia with real influence on Democratic leaders; instead, it is a jerry-rigged polemic built to fit Lakoff’s political agenda. And that’s a shame, because progressives can–and should–enter the debate about what freedom means in America today.

Lakoff’s analysis–as previously laid out in his best-selling Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–has proved appealing to many Democrats. Its underlying message is reassuring: Forget about rethinking anything except your rhetoric; there’s nothing wrong with the party that a more self-conscious and aggressive articulation of the progressive frame can’t cure. Indeed, Lakoff dominated the post-2004-election post-mortems and was showered with invitations to brief Democratic lawmakers and strategists.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sam Harris and Liberal Denial

Harris not my favorite guy but he's more right than wrong here.
I am here to report that liberals and conservatives respond very differently to the notion that religion can be a direct cause of human conflict.

This difference does not bode well for the future of liberalism...

...my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.

On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.

This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that "liberals are soft on terrorism." It is, and they are.
I shouldn't have been so hard on him at Church. But it was never right to get so bent-out-of-shape about Elmer Gantry.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Martin Marty's editorial on Benedict

Marty gives us a perfect example of how some Liberals just doesn't get it on extremists Islam. Here's his comments in today's Sun Times on Benedict's Regensburg speech.

We live today not in the time of Christian Crusades and Inquisitions, but in a time when the pope is needed as a bridge-builder, a linkmaker. Having quoted claims seven centuries old that only "evil and inhuman" things were new in the program of the prophet and in the name of Islam, it will be harder for the pope to have dialogue with the Muslims who do good and human things. Some on the Muslim and American right seem to be craving a war of civilizations, a war about which we know only one thing: Both sides (or the many sides) would lose.

Rather than point to the "evil and inhuman" nature of Islam's, Judaism's, Christianity's, Hinduism's, Buddhism's and other holy wars, the pope will serve better if he can still find dialogue partners in search of the good and human.

All is not lost. Yet.
Ratzinger's fails as bridge builder.

Yet Marty has not a word on the extremist Muslim clerics calling for Benedict's murder. They get a pass. The standards Marty uses to judge the Pope just don't apply to Muslims. The violent demonstrations, a murdered nun, the calls for the Pope's murder don't even qualify for Marty's criticism or suggest to Marty we may be up against a foe who's not going to be appeased.

A few weeks ago, two reporters forced at gun point to convert to Islam. Danny Perl never had an option to convert, but beheaded after saying I am Jew.

I wonder what Marty would do in similar situation. Or what his pastoral guidance would be to a Luthern soldier should they find themselves captured. Build a bridge to the terrorist holding the sword over ones head?

Liberal religious wonder why our Churches bleed members. It's because people listen to mumbo jumbo like this from Marty and tell themselves something has indeed been lost here. Evil has gone right over Marty's head. He ignores the rest of the world.

Marty doesn't take the hijacking of Islam by the likes of Assad, Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad seriously. Maybe he doesn't think it's worthy of him.

xp Bill Baar's West Side

Monday, September 18, 2006

Why does Rev Sinkford not speak out in support of Benedict?

Here's the offending paragraph from Benedict's Regensburg speech.

If Rev Sinkford can speak out against Judge Alito as a threat to civil liberities seems he should not remain silent on those inciting hatred of Benedict for what sounds to me a very liberal defense of reason and faith.

We forsake our own Liberal tradition if we can't join in defense of Benedict against a minority of Islamic thugs who incite Muslims for their own political gains.

We should not remain silent here. When those kidnapped reporters forced to convert to Islam on pain of death we're confronted with a kind of assualt on civilization that makes our own disputes in the US pale in comparison.

Again, the quote from the speech,
In the seventh conversation (διάλεξις - controversy) edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably (σὺν λόγω) is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...".

Victor Davis Hansen: Oriana Fallaci, RIP, the Pope, and a Sad Age

Writes a pessimistic post,
Radical Islam is, among other things, a patriarchal movement, embedded particularly in the cult of the Middle-Eastern male, who occupies a privileged position in a society that can be fairly described as one of abject gender apartheid. Islamism is also at war with the religious infidel, not just the atheist—and, in its envy and victimhood, fueled by a renewal of the age-old hatred of the Christian.

But so far, with very few exceptions other than the lion, Christopher Hitchens, the courageous William Shawcross, and a few others, the Left has either been neutral or anti-American in this struggle. And few Christians in positions of influence and respect have publicly defended their faith and the civilization that birthed it.

Candor, after all, can get one killed, exiled, or ostracized—whether a Danish cartoonist, a Dutch filmmaker, a Wall Street Journal reporter, or a British-Indian novelist. So here, ill and in her seventies, returned Ms. Fallaci one last time to take up the hammer and tongs against radical Islam—a diminutive woman of the Left and self-proclaimed atheist who wrote more bravely on behalf of her civilization than have most who are hale, males, conservatives, or Christians.
But I wouldn't give up on the United States. Here's Samantha Powers writing on the Save Darfur rally,
Sunday’s rally, and the anti-genocide movement it embodies, is essential. Without it, the Bush administration would reflexively focus on Iraq, Iran, and North Korea and leave Darfur to be managed by its in-house humanitarians. U.S. pressure—applied at a far higher level and in a far more sustained manner—has made a profound difference with Khartoum in the past, leading it to expel Osama bin Laden and to make essential compromises with rebels in the South. But, at this juncture, U.S. pressure is not sufficient to do the job, and other countries must be brought around. And, for that to happen, the burgeoning endangered people’s movement must spread beyond U.S. shores.

Walking away from the rally in Washington, a British friend of mine shook his head and said,“You’ll never hear me say this again, but today made me want my kids to grow up American.”When I asked why, he said,“What happened today could never, ever happen in Europe.” Europeans fond of denouncing both the Rwandan genocide and American imperialism had better prove him wrong.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Middle Ages were better

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami speaking in Chicago,
On Saturday afternoon, Khatami took a campaign line from former President Ronald Reagan.

Asking whether the world was better off than it was in the 400 years before the Renaissance, Khatami answered by saying there is 'too much material and materialism.'

The result, Khatami said, is a world of 'insecurity.'
cross posted Bill Baar's West Side

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Drug use, fabrication of alcohol, homosexual activity

Those were some of the charges in the arrest of the Iranian Poet Ali Akbar Saidi Sirjani .

Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami visits Chicago this weekend and will be speaking to various religous leaders while here. They should speak truth to power and ask President Khatami about the questions Iranian dissidents have asked about Sirjani's death in prison.

His daughter Sayed said,
Sayeh, daughter of Iranian poet Ali Akbar Saiidi Sirjani who died in an Iranian jail 12 years ago, accused Khatami of being her father's "murderer" and asked the former president to take part in a public debate over his responsibility in the repression of the opposition in Iran.
And Iranian Woman wrote,

The US State Department has issued the visa for Khatami, and Reverend Peterson is inviting him to The Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation. Reverend Canon John L. Peterson at jpeterson@cathedral.org or (202) 537-5745

Khatami's team MURDERED Saidi Sirjani in 1994. Khatami became the president of the Islamic Republic after this Murder and the system continued killing intellectuals and WHO EVER had a secular belief.

Also the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization on criminalization of homosexuality in Iran including some paragraphs on Sirjani's case.

Gov Blagojevich's Human Rights Commission should be standing in front of that Mosque in Streamwood asking why.

cross posted at Illinoize.