Implodes in Europe
Dr Thomas D. Williams
James McConnell — the Northern Irish Pastor charged with making “grossly offensive” remarks about Islam — has had his request for the “ridiculous” trial to be dropped rejected, and will be sentenced next month. The prosecution told the Belfast Magistrates Court that the comments were not “a slip of the tongue”, and accused the Pastor of “intend[ing] to use those words”.The days of James I and the Star Chamber seem like a bad dream, part of an ignorant, less enlightened past. Church ministers hauled before the state and punished for preaching the Bible. Actually, if a minister today in the UK faithfully proclaims the teachings of Scripture, he risks the modern equivalent of Tudor and Stuart wrath.
The Pastors said the charges were “ridiculous” and argued that he “was attacking the theology of Islam… not attacking any individual Muslim”. According to the BBC, he said he “didn’t realise that good Muslim people would be hurt”. Adding: “I didn’t go into the church to provoke anyone. I went into church to present the truth”.
Mr. McConnell stands accused of a “hate crime” for “sending a malicious communication” after broadcasting a sermon on the Internet last year in which he described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”. The charge carries a possible sentence of six months in jail.The accused is standing fast. He could have "got off" if he accepted an "informal caution" from the Police.
Asked why he refused an informal caution that would have averted a criminal trial, the Pastor said he didn’t because he wanted to stand up for his freedom of speech. “If I took it, that would be an insult to the one I love … that was me gagged for the rest of my life”, he said. He has previously said that he is prepared to go to jail and argued that to accept the caution would be to acknowledge he did something wrong, which he contests.
In a statement, the executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, said the case was an important benchmark that could harm free speech and inter-faith relations across the country:
“This is a chilling prosecution and regardless of the verdict next year the trial is a sad indictment of free speech in the UK. What Pastor McConnell said was no doubt very offensive to a great number of people, but that is immaterial. “Religious believers of different faiths must have the right to hold strong opinions about the beliefs and doctrines of others, to give forthright sermons, and to debate each-other openly; just as the non-religious must have the right to reject all religion and express their criticism and satire of religious ideas.
“While we reject what McConnell has said, it is clear that he was not inciting violence. The threshold for restricting freedom of speech should be set very high, and this case does not approach that boundary. We see this as an important test case.”
A professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical Christian school in the west of Chicago, has been suspended after making a post on Facebook saying that Christians and Muslims "worship the same God". In her post, Dr Larycia Hawkins, who is a Christian and an associate professor of political science, included a photo of herself wearing a headscarf.Let's follow Hawkins's train of thought:
I don't love my Muslim neighbor because s/he is American. I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity.No problem so far. Did not Christ's apostle instruct us thus: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." [Galatians 6: 9-10]. Moreover, the great summary of the Law includes the universal command that we are "to love our neighbour as ourselves". That command presupposes the universal oneness of the human race in some vital ways.
‘Trans Supremacy’: Students Hold First Ever Transgender Conference
Want Men Playing Womens’ Sportsby Liam Deacon
The National Union of Students (NUS) held it’s first ever transgender conference yesterday, where they used ‘jazz hands’ instead of clapping, voted to ‘no-platform’ Germaine Greer and said they would campaign for “self definition [to] be the only criteria for the partition in gendered sports”.
An Auckland mother who kept her toddlers in a cockroach-infested house has pleaded guilty to failing to keep a safe and hygienic living environment for her children. The woman appeared for sentence on Monday though she was granted a discharge without conviction after a judge found a criminal record would prevent her from seeing her children again.What we are deeply sceptical about, however, is relative measures of poverty.
The North Shore woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her children, earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to discharge a legal duty, namely keeping a safe and hygienic living environment for her children. . . . Police arrived to find dozens of dirty nappies on the floor, hundreds of cockroaches, rancid dishes, only one working light, and little food- some which had been left to rot and was covered in maggots. By way of explanation, the mother had told police that she knew the house was a mess but that she was too busy to clean it because she spent nights at a local hospital, where Judge Philippa Cunningham said "ironically" she worked as a cleaner.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Hebrews 2:14–15)Jesus became man because what was needed was the death of a man who was more than man. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row.
And Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has also hit out at Prime Minister John Key's comments on so-called "jihadi brides" - saying they are particularly insulting to Muslim women and show he thinks "the only good use of a women going overseas is as a wife".How do one's moral and ideological compasses become so bent and twisted?
Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant [this is the purchase of the new covenant], even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.The words “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” describe what happens when God writes the law on our hearts in the new covenant. And the words “through Jesus Christ” describe Jesus as the Mediator of this glorious work of sovereign grace.
Gandalf did not look at Pippin or speak a word to him as they went . . . "Are you angry with me, Gandalf?" [Pippin] said, as their guide went out and closed the door. "I did the best I could."Matthew Dickerson comments on this passage:
"You did indeed!" said Gandalf, laughing suddenly; and he came and stood beside Pippin, putting his arm about the hobbit's shoulders, and gazing out the window. Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow: though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy; a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth. (Book V, part i.)
Ireland has stripped away laws which protected the rights of people to freedom of religion when in conflict with gay rights. The move comes just weeks after the first Irish gay weddings went ahead, following a referendum to allow gay marriage earlier this year.What the Irish Parliament has done is acknowledge its fealty to a higher law than the law of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Irish Parliament believes itself higher than the Almighty. The Irish justice system will now punish anyone and any church which declares--in the Name of Christ--that since homosexuality is a sin, homosexuals cannot serve in office. For Christians, this is not a startling position: it is one the Church has held since the Apostles, in all places where the Bible is revered.
Following the landslide defeat for opponents of same sex marriage – the referendum was lost by 62 per cent in favour of gay marriage to 38 per cent against – Ireland’s Parliament has been busy with a slate of reforms designed to cement the rights of gay people within Irish law, Pink News has reported.
"Our friends were attired even as we are," said Aragorn; "and you passed us by under the full light of day."In our days, many in the Church are shapeshifters, bending themselves into the demands of the pagan world. In our day, every man's truth is his own. There are no absolutes because the pagan world has denied the One--the eternal, infinite lawgiver. All that is left is the creature.
"I had forgotten that," said Eomer. "It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such time?"
"As he has ever judged," said Aragorn. "Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, a much in the Golden Wood as in his own house." [J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, III/ii.]
Bill Nye The Propaganda GuyYou have no doubt come across the type of people who proclaim that they loooooove science. Why, they don’t just love science, they freaking love science. For the most part, they demonstrate this love not by actually making scientific discoveries or using science in their work, but by liking the right posts on Facebook.
At any rate, puffed up by their confidence in their love of science, they tend to think this makes them extra-super-qualified to talk about any and every subject. They propound with the extra authority of someone whose opinions must be based on facts and reality, because he freaking loves science.
Politicians from across New Zealand's political spectrum have condemned comments from Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. . . . Trump has called for Muslims to be banned from entering the US, saying many Muslims nursed a hatred towards America. They should be kept out "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on".We believe that this represents a classic example of the kettle calling our "Hello, pot". Our politicians have shown they are likely considerably more myopically ignorant than Donald Trump.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said he didn't worry about Trump's comments as he had no chance of becoming US President, or even the Republican nominee. . . .National Cabinet minister Paula Bennett said Trump's comments were both ridiculous and appalling - and took the opportunity to have a dig at Labour's analysis of Auckland housing data based on Chinese surnames. "It is almost like defining houses on a surname instead of actually looking into the depth of who a person might be and what they really stand for."
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2:1–5)
Now Mr Speaker, no-one in this debate doubts the deadly serious threat we face from Daesh and what they do, although sometimes we find it hard to live with the reality. We know that in June four gay men were thrown off the fifth storey of a building in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. We know that in August the 82-year-old guardian of the antiquities of Palmyra, Professor Khaled al-Assad, was beheaded, and his headless body was hung from a traffic light. And we know that in recent weeks there has been the discovery of mass graves in Sinjar, one said to contain the bodies of older Yazidi women murdered by Daesh because they were judged too old to be sold for sex.He also referred to the threat of terrorist attacks, inspired and aided by the Caliphate, in the UK. There is a clear and present danger in that country--and indeed throughout the West, including New Zealand.