Thursday, December 19, 2013

‘Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria’ Ignored

One of the worst Christian massacres—complete with mass graves, tortured-to-death women and children, and destroyed churches—recently took place in Syria, at the hands of the U.S.-supported jihadi "rebels"; and the U.S. government and its "mainstream media" mouthpiece are, as usual, silent (that is, when not actively trying to minimize matters).

The massacre took place in Sadad, an ancient Syriac Orthodox Christian habitation, so old as to be mentioned in the Old Testament. Most of the region's inhabitants are poor, as Sadad is situated in the remote desert between Homs and Damascus (desert regions, till now, apparently the only places Syria's Christians could feel secure; 600 Christian families had earlier fled there for sanctuary from the jihad, only to be followed by it).

In late October, the U.S-supported "opposition" invaded and occupied Sadad for over a week, till ousted by the nation's military. Among other atrocities, 45 Christians—including women and children—were killed, several tortured to death; Sadat's 14 churches, some ancient, were ransacked and destroyed; the bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found at the bottom of a well (an increasingly common fate for "subhuman" Christians).

The jihadis even made a graphic video (with English subtitles) of those whom they massacred, while shouting Islam's victory-cry, "Allahu Akbar" (which John McCain equates to a Christian saying "thank God"). Another video, made after Sadad was liberated shows more graphic atrocities.

Here are the words of Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama (another detailed account, with pictures, appears here):

What happened in Sadad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half… 45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing. For one week, 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields. Among them children, the elderly, the young, men and women…. All the houses of Sadad were robbed and property looted. The churches are damaged and desecrated, deprived of old books and precious furniture… What happened in Sadad is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria and the second in the Middle East, after the one in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq, in 2010.

In the Iraqi attack of 2010, al-Qaeda linked jihadis stormed the church during service killing some 60 Christian worshippers (see here for graphic images of the aftermath).

While the archbishop is correct that this is the "largest massacre of Christians in Syria," it is but the tip of the iceberg of the persecution the nation's Christian minority has suffered—including beheadings, church bombings, kidnappings, rapes, and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of Christians—since the war broke out (see Syria entries in monthly persecution series).

A month before Sadad, another ancient Christian region, Ma'loula, one of the world's very few regions that still spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus, was besieged by the jihadis, its churches bombarded and plundered, its inhabitantsforced to convert to Islam or die. The last words of one man who refused were: "I am a Christian, and if you want to kill me for this, I do not object to it."

The archbishop concluded his statement concerning Sadad by asking: "We have shouted aid to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort: We ask everyone to pray for us."

Serge Trifkovic—who hails from a European region especially acquainted with Islamic jihadresponds to the archbishop as follows:

That no "human consciousness" is to be found in the White House, or in the editorial offices of the leading Western media, is now a matter of well-established record. Just try searching for "Sadad" (or alternatively "Saddad") on the websites of the Department of State orThe New York Times. Ditto the leading European dailies, the CNN/BBC/RTF, the human-rights defending "NGOs" et al.

The problem, of which Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh appears unaware, is no longer in the Western elite's mereindifference to the impending demise of Christianity in the lands of its birth, but in its active, ongoing, and open contribution to that demise. Cyprus (1974) and the Balkans (1991-9) provided the test, Iraq (2003-today) the conclusive proof. In Syria the Obama administration remains committed to supporting the rebels—ah, yes, only the "moderate" ones, like the Christian-murdering "Free Syrian Army"(discretion advised again), not "even though" the result will be the same, but precisely because it will be.

In one of the Arabic videos documenting the aftermath of the Sadad massacre, as the mutilated bodies of one family are drawn from a well (around :30 second mark), a middle-aged male relative, in tears, says:

The most precious in the whole universe [his family], are now gone, leaving me alone, but thank God I am still surrounded by these loving people who remain. I want to say, let people [the jihadis] return to their minds. The problems of the world can only be solved by knowledge and brains. Enough insanity, the nerves of the people are shredded. Enough, enough—return to your minds; you people, you humans—return to your humanity, enough crimes.

As a sign of the times, here is a Syrian, an "easterner," evoking rationalism and humanity, products of the Christian West, at a time when the post-Christian West is governed by anything and everything—propaganda, emotionalism, mindless indoctrination—but the twain.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (Regnery, April, 2013) is a Middle East and Islam specialist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Middle East Forum


Is Putin One of Us? December 17, 2013 - 5:05 AM - See more at:

Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative? In the culture war for mankind's future, is he one of us?While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president's state of the nation address.With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, "In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered.""They're now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil."Translation: While privacy and freedom of thought, religion and speech are cherished rights, to equate traditional marriage and same-sex marriage is to equate good with evil.No moral confusion here, this is moral clarity, agree or disagree.President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire "the focus of evil in the modern world." President Putin is implying that Barack Obama's America may deserve the title in the 21st century.Nor is he without an argument when we reflect on America's embrace of abortion on demand, homosexual marriage, pornography, promiscuity, and the whole panoply of Hollywood values.Our grandparents would not recognize the America in which we live.Moreover, Putin asserts, the new immorality has been imposed undemocratically.The "destruction of traditional values" in these countries, he said, comes "from the top" and is "inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people."Does he not have a point?Unelected justices declared abortion and homosexual acts to be constitutionally protected rights. Judges have been the driving force behind the imposition of same-sex marriage. Attorney General Eric Holder refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.America was de-Christianized in the second half of the 20th century by court orders, over the vehement objections of a huge majority of a country that was overwhelmingly Christian.And same-sex marriage is indeed an "abstract" idea unrooted in the history or tradition of the West. Where did it come from?Peoples all over the world, claims Putin, are supporting Russia's "defense of traditional values" against a "so-called tolerance" that is "genderless and infertile."While his stance as a defender of traditional values has drawn the mockery of Western media and cultural elites, Putin is not wrong in saying that he can speak for much of mankind.Same-sex marriage is supported by America's young, but most states still resist it, with black pastors visible in the vanguard of the counterrevolution.In France, a million people took to the streets of Paris to denounce the Socialists' imposition of homosexual marriage.Only 15 nations out of more than 190 have recognized it.In India, the world's largest democracy, the Supreme Court has struck down a lower court ruling that made same-sex marriage a right. And the parliament in this socially conservative nation of more than a billion people is unlikely soon to reverse the high court.In the four dozen nations that are predominantly Muslim, which make up a fourth of the U.N. General Assembly and a fifth of mankind, same-sex marriage is not even on the table. And Pope Francis has reaffirmed Catholic doctrine on the issue for over a billion Catholics.While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm.As the decisive struggle in the second half of the 20th century was vertical, East vs. West, the 21st century struggle may be horizontal, with conservatives and traditionalists in every country arrayed against the militant secularism of a multicultural and transnational elite.And though America's elite may be found at the epicenter of anti-conservatism and anti-traditionalism, the American people have never been more alienated or more divided culturally, socially and morally.We are two countries now.Putin says his mother had him secretly baptized as a baby and professes to be a Christian. And what he is talking about here is ambitious, even audacious.He is seeking to redefine the "Us vs. Them" world conflict of the future as one in which conservatives, traditionalists and nationalists of all continents and countries stand up against the cultural and ideological imperialism of what he sees as a decadent west."We do not infringe on anyone's interests," said Putin, "or try to teach anyone how to live." The adversary he has identified is not the America we grew up in, but the America we live in, which Putin sees as pagan and wildly progressive.Without naming any country, Putin attacked "attempts to enforce more progressive development models" on other nations, which have led to "decline, barbarity and big blood," a straight shot at the U.S. interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Egypt.In his speech, Putin cited Russian philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev whom Solzhenitsyn had hailed for his courage in defying his Bolshevik inquisitors. Though no household word, Berdyaev is favorably known at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.Which raises this question: Who is writing Putin's stuff? - See more at:

Wife of American pastor held in Iran blasts Obama administration for not doing enough to free him

By Lisa Daftari

Published December 12, 2013

The wife of an American pastor imprisoned for his faith in Iran said she was shocked to learn the U.S. government had been conducting secret negotiations with Iran even as State Department officials told her they could do little to free her husband because the nations have no diplomatic relations. Naghmeh Abedini, whose husband, Saeed Abedini, is serving an eight-year prison term in Iran after being arrested more than a year ago while visiting his homeland, told she felt betrayed when she later learned U.S. diplomats were negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran even while claiming nothing could be done for her husband. "Initially, when I went to the U.S. government, they said we don't have a direct relationship with Iran," Naghmeh Abdeini said, moments after telling a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee her husband's health is failing in prison. "Here we were sitting across table from Iran. It was our best leverage. It should have been a precondition." The Boise, Idaho, mother of two said her husband's relatives in Iran have been able to meet with him sporadically, and have given her grim news about his condition. She said the imprisoned American's father saw Abedini 10 days ago and reported that has internal bleeding from repeated beatings at the hands of guards and fellow inmates and was covered with lice. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who chairs the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, said "time is running out" for Abedini, who experts believe would be unlikely to survive eight years in Iran's brutal prison system. Smith said Abedini and two other Americans being held in Iran should have been the first order of business when U.S. and Iranian diplomats sat down for talks, sometime earlier this year. "You begin every conversation with it; it should be center of every conversation and every conversation should end with it," Smith told "How can we have a discussion with any regime when they are torturing our citizens?" Earlier, lawmakers on the panel heard the distraught wife detail her fears for her husband and the heartbreak she and their two children feel due to his absence. "His condition has worsened and the kids and I fear his life," she said, before holding up a photograph of her children on their first day of school. "Tears were streaming down my face as I got the kids ready for school with their father missing." Abedini "went to Iran to build an orphanage for Iranian children last year" and "remains in an absolute hell-hole prison," Smith told the committee. "We continue to have serious concerns about the fate of a dual national U.S.-Iranian detained in Iran Saeed Abedini," the official said. "As we noted previously, President Obama raised Mr. Abedini's case in his Sept. 27 phone call with President [Hassan] Rouhani and we continue to urge the Iranian government to release Mr. Abedini so that he may be reunited with his family. "We have been repeatedly clear that we are calling on Iran to release all detained U.S. citizens and we will continue our efforts until Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Robert Levinson all return home," the official added. Abedini converted from Islam to Christianity more than a decade ago, and was previously sanctioned for evangelizing in Iran. But the 34-year-old father of two claims he had only returned to his native land to help establish an orphanage when authorities pulled him off a bus in August of 2012 and threw him into the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.He was later sentenced to eight years and has since been moved to Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj, a prison known to house Iran's most violent criminals. His supporters say he has been beaten and tortured in the prison. According to reports, Rajai Shahr Prison was built to accommodate 5,000 inmates, but at present houses about 22,000, which has led to severe overcrowding and inhumane conditions. Hekmati, a U.S. Marine who went to Iran to visit his grandparents, was charged with spying and sentenced to death. Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in March, 2007, while investigating cigarette smuggling on the Kish Islands. Iran has said they are not holding Levinson, but U.S. officials believe otherwise.

Letter to "Christian History Magazine"

Dear Mr. Curtis,

I would like to recommend a topic for "Christian History" Magazine.

I think that you should devote a magazine to Aramaic Christianity. The story of the Aramaic Christians is an important story that needs to be told.

According to their ancient traditions, the Aramaic churches were founded by Saint Thomas and Saint Thaddeus. The communities are important in that they use and still speak the Aramaic language, the language that was spoken by Jesus Christ.

Several of the early church fathers such as Tatian the Assyrian and Ephraim the Syrian were Aramaic Christians. The Aramaic Christians produced the Syriac Peshitta, the first translation of the New Testament into any language. Important spiritual leaders such as Saint Isaac of Nineveh were also Aramaic Christians.

Another fascinating aspect of the Aramaic Christians is the fact that they were able to plant churches in Mongolia, China, India and the Isle of Socotra, while Europe was in its so-called "Dark Ages." Marco Polo saw Aramaic Churches all across the east during his travels to the orient. These eastern churches endured for centuries and the church of India is with us still.

The Aramaic Churches include the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East and the Syriac Rite Catholic Churches, which includes the Maronite Church. The Assyrian Church was called the Nestorian Church in the past and the Syrian Orthodox Church was called "Jacobite." These names referred to Nestorius and Jacob Baradaeus s who were figures in the Christological debates of the early Byzantine Era.

I have researched the history of Aramaic Christians and have visited their communities in the Middle East and have contacts with the Aramaic Christian community in the United States.

I think this is a very important subject and it is an important part of the world history of Christianity.

I hope that the subject interests you and please contact me if you need further information.

Thank you, Stephen Missick 281-592-4101

Is President Obama 'too big to jail?'

By Wayne Allyn Root
Published December 16, 2013,

A Chinese proverb says, "May you live in interesting times." We certainly do. Historians will look back on this time as "the Obama criminal years." How lawless is the Obama administration? Many of the dirty deeds and scandals of Obama & Co. are public knowledge. Let's start with the most astonishing. Many citizens are aware that because of ObamaCare, millions of Americans are losing their health care coverage. Is this incompetence, or criminal fraud? One thing is certain: it would be fraud if a private sector CEO knew that millions of customers would lose their insurance, yet repeated the same lie over and over -- "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it. Period." Why would we not hold a politician to the same standard? That brings up the question "IS THIS PRESIDENT TOO BIG TO JAIL?" But this fraud isn't just about money and power. It's about cancer patients, our fellow citizens who may lose their lives as well as their health care coverage because of ObamaCare. Even innocent children with cancer are among the victims of ObamaCare.Yes, it turns out ObamaCare is one big death panel. With their policies being cancelled, these sick Americans are losing the very doctors, hospitals and treatments that have kept them alive. What if some of them die from the stoppage of treatment? What if some die from stress and worry? What if some commit suicide from depression? These are complicated questions. But isn't the person whose lies and misrepresentations harmed them, at least partly responsible for their deaths? So, IS THIS PRESIDENT TOO BIG TO JAIL?This president has no shame. How many Americans know that a cancer patient merely discussing the disastrous ramifications of ObamaCare in public (thereby embarrassing Obama), is now being persecuted by the IRS? Yes, it's true. Bill Elliott is that terminally-ill cancer patient. He was audited by the IRS within days of an appearance on Fox News. The IRS scandal is far more widespread than the American public knows. It is not just about Tea Party groups. The IRS was used by Obama to go after any citizen daring to criticize him in the national media. I'm one of those victims. These actions by a president are absolutely criminal. Richard Nixon's articles of impeachment included the exact same charge of using the IRS to punish critics and silence free speech. But terminally ill cancer patients?Obama has sunk to new lows. I'm a big boy. What he did to critics like me is disgusting and un-American. But what he did to a terminally ill cancer patient is disgraceful and unimaginable. This president is an out-of-control bully, pure and simple. Will anyone show the courage to investigate and prosecute Obama? "IS THIS PRESIDENT TOO BIG TO JAIL?" But wait (as late night infomercial pitchmen like to say), "There's more." When the citizens went to the "state of the art" ObamaCare web site for help, to try to save themselves, they found it defective. It turns out the website was built so poorly, the personal information of consumers can be easily stolen. And it's not just online scam artists we're worried about. The "Obama navigators" themselves might do the stealing -- after all, it turns out many of them have criminal records. Rather than hiring one of many highly-qualified American high tech Internet companies, why would Obama give a NO BID contract for hundreds of millions of dollars to a firm with less than stellar credentials? Surely the reason couldn't be that it's the firm of one of Michelle Obama's Princeton Black Alumni Association buddies? Don't you wonder how many of those millions of taxpayer dollars are committed to Democrat causes, or are now sitting in a Swiss bank account? Can you imagine if this happened at a private sector company? Can you imagine the outrage and criminal accusations coming from consumer protection advocates? Can you imagine how quickly the federal government would shut down the business? The criminal would have been "perp walked" out of his office in front of waiting journalists and photographers. He'd be facing a lifetime in prison. So, "IS THIS PRESIDENT TOO BIG TO JAIL?" As bad as it is, ObamaCare is just another of the nonstop scandals of this administration. Any one of these scandals would have already forced a Republican president out of office. Obama owns all of them. Benghazi. More absurd lies than ObamaCare, a possible arms deal with rebels gone bad, and the cover-up of murder. Fast and Furious. Another government arms deal gone bad, responsibility for the murder of a U.S. border guard, another blatant cover-up. The NSA scandal. Obama listens into all of our calls and communications. I hope he's listening to mine. He'll hear the word IMPEACHMENT come up in every sentence. The AP scandal. Obama and paranoid buddies like Attorney General Eric Holder are even illegally spying on their adoring Kool-Aid drinking friends in the media. The IRS scandal. It's not just about targeting his political opposition. It's about the much more serious scandal of using the IRS to change the outcome of the election. Obama's goal was to neutralize the powerful Tea Parties to prevent a repeat of the 2010 GOP landslide. Guess what? It worked. Obama used the IRS to kill conservative momentum, intensity, and enthusiasm, silence criticism in the media, and starve conservative fundraising. These guys put the "thug" in Chicago. The Census Bureau scandal. It appears government employees faked the unemployment numbers in the weeks leading up to the election to re-elect a president who wouldn't know what a job looked like, if it hit him in the face. How could one leader be involved in this many lies, frauds, scandals, and cover-ups? There's enough here for a century of presidents! Forget impeachment, it's time for criminal prosecution. There's enough here to put a CEO away for multiple life sentences. Bernie Madoff would blush at what Obama has pulled off (so far). The question is, "IS THIS PRESIDENT TOO BIG TO JAIL?"

Wayne Allyn Root is capitalist evangelist, entrepreneur, and Libertarian-conservative Republican. He is a former Libertarian vice presidential nominee. Wayne's latest book is "The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide: Secrets to Protecting Your Family, Your Finances, and Your Freedom." For more, visit his website: Follow him on Twitter@WayneRoot.

Egypt turns once again to pigs, Copts as garbage mounts

By Perry Chiaramonte, Published December 17, 2013,

Overwhelmed by garbage, Egypt is turning once again to two marginalized parties for help: Christians and pigs.

For years, pigs raised and handled by Egypt's Zabaleen, or "Garbage People," were the linchpins of an extremely effective, if primitive, system of processing garbage in cities including Cairo and Alexandria. The Zabaleen were paid to collect garbage and haul it to the outskirts of town, where pigs they tended picked out and ate the organic matter. Even the pigs' waste was recycled in many cases, dried and burned to provide heat.

But in 2009, at the height of the swine flu epidemic, the regime government in Egypt ordered hundreds of thousands of pigs killed. The Coptic community bitterly believed the swine flu fear was a mere pretext for Muslim Brotherhood elements within the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak regime to rid the nation of an animal held as offensive to Islam. An estimated 300,000 pigs were confiscated and killed.

"It was the only source of income for these people," Michael Meunier, president of the U.S. Copts Association, told "The swine flu was used as an excuse. This was about something seen from a religious eye. It was not a health issue."

While can never be known if the pig cull was driven by religious or health concerns, it was not the only aggressive measure Egypt took. Schools were closed for weeks, and in some cities hookahs, the communal smoking pipes used by men in dens, were even banned. With 90 percent of Egypt's 80 million population crammed into an area the size of Denmark, public health officials feared an outbreak, which never came.

Some 2.5 million Zabaleen throughout the nation were left without their meal tickets, and Egypt's cities were quickly overrun with huge piles of rotting garbage – and the rodents that came with it. Cairo's Zabaleen, who live in a slum on the outskirts of town, were plunged into poverty. Pig farms run by wealthy Copts were shut down, as were slaughterhouses. The Zabaleen were typically paid 10 cents on the dollar for their pigs, which were buried alive in landfills and then doused with acid.

The pig massacre came before Mubarak's ouster, but the ban was solidified when the Muslim Brotherhood-linked regime of Mohammad Morsi rose to power a year ago.

Now, following the military's ouster of Morsi in July, and with no other solution to the nation's growing garbage problem, the military-led provisional government is embracing the Zabaleen.

"Over the years the Zabaleen have created an efficient ecosystem that is both viable and profitable, with a recycling capacity of almost 100 percent," Leila Iskandar, the new minister of the environment, said recently. "It provides work for women and young people who are the first to suffer from Egypt's unemployment. We need to use this local organization."

A recent report from Voice of America said the Zabaleen's pigs have quietly returned to the place just outside Cairo known as Garbage City, where Cairo's garbage is brought by truck. The pigs once again, though discreetly, are picking through the massive mountains of garbage and winnowing out organic matter. The remaining garbage, reduced by as much as 80 percent, is then taken to landfills.

This time, the government is not seizing the porcine processors. Zabaleen advocates say the system is safe, and always was.

"The management of the central laboratory of the Ministry of Health examined the pigs before and after slaughtering, and did not find any evidence of any pigs carrying the swine flu virus, but there was a deliberate intention to eliminate the pigs and the trade," Eshak Mikhael, the head of the garbage collectors association in Mokattam, told MidEast Christian News.

Back at work, even if not officially, the pigs have a massive backlog. And the Zabaleen can once again feed their families.

"They didn't choose to be trash collectors," Meunier said. "They do it because they have no income."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Please Pray for Aramaic Christians of Syria

Latest media reports from Syria say foreign-sponsored militants fighting against the government plan to use a group of nuns they kidnapped from their convent in the town of Ma'loula as "human shields."

Twelve Syrian and Lebanese nuns were kidnapped from a Greek Orthodox convent after foreign-backed militants, including members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, moved into the center of Ma'loula on Monday following several days of fighting. 

The nuns were then taken to the nearby town of Yabrud - which has a large Christian population. 

Reports say Syrian forces have been deployed to Ma'loula to restore security there. 

The Syrian army has been battling Takfiri militants in the regions near the capital Damascus. 

The army has cleared many towns and villages of the militants. 

On Tuesday, Syria's Greek Orthodox patriarch called for the release of the nuns, saying, "We appeal to the seed of conscience that God planted in all humans, including the kidnappers, to release our sisters safely."

Moreover, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent two letters to the head of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late on Monday, saying, "Syria is facing a barbarian war launched by extremist...gangs targeting its present and future." 

The ministry added that "terrorists" stormed Mar Takla Convent and held its Mother Superior Pelagia Sayaf and a number of nuns "as hostages and sabotaged churches and houses." 

The foreign-sponsored militants have previously abducted two bishops and a priest. 

The militants fighting against the Syrian government had attacked Ma'loula, which is regarded as a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria, early in September. However, they were pushed out of the town by the Syrian troops. 

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

Aramaic Christians under attack in Syria

DAMASCUS (AP) — Syrian Christians offered prayers Sunday for a group of more than a dozen nuns and orphanage workers held by rebels for nearly a week, fueling fears in the minority community that they are being targeted by extremists among the fighters seeking to oust President Bashar Assad. The seizure of the 12 Greek Orthodox nuns and at least three other women is the latest attack to spark panic among Syria's Christians over the strength of al-Qaida-linked militants and other Islamic radicals in the nearly 3-year-old revolt against Assad's government. A priest and two bishops previously kidnapped by rebels remain missing, and extremists are accused of vandalizing churches in areas they have captured. Rebels seized the nuns on Monday from the Greek Orthodox Mar Takla convent when fighters overran Maaloula, a mainly Christian village north of Damascus that lies on a key highway and has changed hands several times in fierce fighting between rebels and government forces. The group, along with three women — themselves orphans — who work in the convent's orphanage were taken to the nearby rebel-held town of Yabroud. The eldest of the nuns is nearly 90 years old, and the youngest of the orphanage workers is in her mid-teens, according to Mother Superior Febronia Nabhan, head of the Saidnaya Convent. On Friday, a video was released of the nuns, in which they denied being kidnapped, saying they were in good health and that fighters had taken them to a location away from the combat out of concerns for their safety. The video only stoked the worries of Christians who gathered Sunday for a Mass at the Mariamiya Church in Damascus, the main Greek Orthodox church in the country. "They're coming after us," Odette Abu Zakham, a 65-year-old woman in the congregation who lives in the nearby historic Christian district of Bab Touma. "All they do is massacre people, all they know is killing." Another woman at the Mass noted that in the video, the nuns appeared in their black robes but with no signs of religious symbols on them. "They didn't even let them wear their crosses," she said. "This just shows they aren't capable of respecting Christians." "It's been a week. If they're only holding them for their safety, they could have handed them over by now," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation against herself or her family. Christians and other minorities tend to support the government of Assad, who comes from a Shiite offshoot sect. Syria's Sunni Muslim majority form the backbone of the uprising against Assad. But nationalist fighters among them have been overshadowed by the increasing power of extremists, including Syrian rebels who have taken up hard-line al-Qaida-style ideologies and foreign fighters. In his sermon at the Mass, the Greek Orthodox patriarch for Antioch and All the East, Yohanna al-Yaziji, asked "anyone with any connection, direct or indirect" to intercede to win the group's return. "We hope this will happen today, not tomorrow. We urge everyone to adhere to the logic of dialogue and peace, not to violence and weapons." He carefully avoided describing the nuns as "kidnapped" or asking for their release — praying only for their "return" — a sign of concerns among Church officials that any statements could enflame the situation. The rebel faction that released the video, aired on Al-Jazeera television, did not identify itself, and no faction has announced it is holding the group. Syrian opposition activists and Church officials have said the al-Qaida-linked group Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, is holding them. One activist said a Syrian Christian businessman is trying to mediate between the Nusra Front and the government for their release in return for the release of seven Saudi fighters. The activist spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret mediation, but did not have further details. Greek Orthodox Church officials would not comment. ___ AP correspondents Albert Aji in Damascus and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report. - See more at:

Obama Uses IRS to Eliminate His Enemies December 6, 2013 - 5:32 PM - See more at:

"The power to tax involves the power to destroy," the Supreme Court wrote in 1819, shortly after America began. Now in 2013, President Barack Obama is launching a frightening attack on free speech, using one of the most feared agencies in all the federal government: the Internal Revenue Service.

One of the most roundly-condemned aspects of Richard Nixon's malfeasance in office was his use of the IRS to target his political enemies with audits. If people shudder at Nixon's abuses with the IRS, what Obama is doing should drive them to convulsions.

Obama seeks to silence dissenting voices with unprecedented new regulations to curtail political speech by nonprofit organizations. These new rules would help silence conservative organizations and Obama's critics, and raise serious First Amendment concerns as these rules look like the federal provisions struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its famous Citizens United case.

Congress allows for various types of organizations to organize as nonprofit organizations, revenue from which is not subject to corporate federal income tax. For example, fundamentally charitable or educational nonprofits-such as churches-are 501c3 organizations, contributions to which are also tax-deductible by the donors.

Some groups are 501c5 organizations. These are political action committees (PACs), which endorse candidates for office and devote their resources to advancing or defeating certain candidates.

Then there are 501c4 organizations. These are social welfare organizations, dedicated to advancing certain issues or viewpoints they believe promote "the common good and general welfare." These nonprofits can devote much of their resources to political activity, so long as politics is not the group's "primary purpose."

It's always been assumed that less than 50 percent would be devoted to pure politicking, but no one knows because the law does not specify. Also-conveniently-the Tax Code fails to define the term "political activity."

On Nov. 26, the Treasury Department and IRS announced new regulations "regarding qualification requirements for tax-exemption as a social welfare organization," that is, 501c4 organizations. The IRS then goes on to specify what sorts of activities will henceforth be regarded as political activity, including, but not limited to:

  • Any message expressing approval/support or disapproval/opposition to any candidate for public office. For example, an ad saying, "Thank Senator Smith for supporting our troops."
  • Within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election, any mention by name of any candidate or showing his picture, even without expressing approval or disapproval.
  • Any money given by a 501c4 to a 527 organization, which citizens may give however much of their personal money they want to promote public issues they personally support.
  • Voter registration drives.
  • Voter guides that inform citizens of where politicians stand on various issues.
  • Any event within 60 days of an election at which a candidate makes an appearance.

The impact of such regulations would be far-reaching. Groups such as the National Rifle Association and its political affiliate, NRA-ILA, are 501c4 organizations. Imagine if NRA-ILA could not spend much of its resources discussing issues and legislation, or informing voters of where candidates stand on gun-rights issues. Now imagine those restrictions imposed on the major organizations of every public issue in America.

Less than four years ago in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law that made it a crime for organizations to speak about candidates within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. The Obama administration claimed the authority to ban even books, if a 600-page book mentioned a candidate even once on its pages.

The Court held that these restrictions violated the First Amendment. Yet these new IRS rules closely track those invalidated provisions.

In some respects, these restrictions go even further than the ones struck down by the Court. Previous restrictions only applied to candidates for federal office. The new IRS rules would also apply to every candidate for state and local elections. So criticizing your county dog catcher could land your organization in hot water with the IRS, even if the dog-catcher election is vitally relevant to the social-welfare interests of your nonprofit group, such as a group called Citizens for Safe Dog Catching.

In our 2010 book The Blueprint, we discussed how free speech is the essential lifeblood of public debate, empowering voters to make a thoughtful and well-considered choice at the ballot box. We also warned that Obama might create laws to silence his political opponents, using the same Chicago-style political tactics he knew from his days as an Illinois politician, like a couple rough-looking thugs built like brick walls who muscle their way around your store front to send you a message that you'd better quiet down if you know what's good for you and your business.

The Supreme Court restored free speech for average citizens in Citizens United. Shortly thereafter, President Obama demeaned his high office by denouncing the Supreme Court to the justices' faces during the 2010 State of the Union Address on national television before a joint session of Congress. Obama later promised to find ways to get around the Citizens United decision.

That is what the IRS is doing here, limiting how much groups can speak about Obama's policies or promote alternative policies about healthcare, free markets, traditional values, or national defense. Obama and his supporters can use the enormous platform of their public offices to promote whatever they want without limit. If the president gives a speech, the media will cover it.

But if a group of citizens wants to pool their resources to express an opposing viewpoint before an election, that group can lose its tax-exempt status. Unlike the law struck down in 2010, it will not be a federal felony.

But while its bite isn't as deep, the reach is much broader. It serves to choke off funding and impair the ability of those groups to participate in the democratic process.

The solution to political speech you don't like is to offer opposing speech; the cure for bad speech or wrong speech is more speech, not less. That free exchange of ideas is the blood flowing through the veins of a free society, so that voters can fully hear both sides. When you stop that flow, you stop the beating heart of democracy.

Editor's Note: Ken Klukowski co-authored this column. Ken Blackwell is the former Ohio secretary of state, and Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News. They are the national-bestselling authors of The Blueprint: Obama's Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency.

- See more at:

News Max on Pope Francis by Melanie Batley

Pope Francis is misguided in his beliefs about the dangers of capitalism, and instead of commenting on economic issues he should focus exclusively on matters affecting faith and morality, says Andrew Napolitano.

In an op-ed piece for The Washington Times the former New Jersey Superior Court judge and senior judicial analyst for Fox News says the Pope is "wide of the mark" in his verdict that free-market capitalism undermines the social mobility of the poor as he suggested in his recent apostolic exhortation.

"No economic system in history has alleviated more poverty, generated more opportunity, and helped more formerly poor people become rich than capitalism," writes Napolitano, who is a traditionalist Roman Catholic.

"The essence of capitalism goes to the core of Catholic teaching: the personal freedom of every person. Capitalism is freedom to risk, freedom to work, freedom to save, freedom to retain the fruits of one's labors, freedom to own property and freedom to give to charity."

Napolitano says that, contrary to the Pope's view, free markets are too stifled by government control and regulation. He adds that arguments for the redistribution of wealth go against traditional Catholic social teachings that call on believers to "become our brothers' keepers" through personal charity.

"The Pope seems to prefer common ownership of the means of production, which is Marxist, or private ownership and government control, which is fascist, or government ownership and government control, which is socialist. All of those failed systems lead to ashes, not wealth," he writes.

"What shall we do about the Pope and economics? We should pray for his faith and understanding and for a return to orthodoxy. That means the Holy Mother Church under the Vicar of Christ — saving souls, not pocketbooks."

You can believe what you want-but you can't live your life according to your conscience-you must obey the state!

A Colorado judge says a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs, a ruling that a civil rights group hailed as a victory for gay rights.

Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled Friday that Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver, will face fines if he continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy wedding cakes.

"The undisputed facts show that Respondents (Phillips) discriminated against Complainants because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage," Spencer wrote.

Last year, David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. The couple had planned to marry in Massachusetts and hold a reception in Colorado.

Phillips told the men that he could not bake their cake because of his religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage. He offered to make them any other baked item, but not a wedding cake. The couple immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

"Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration," Mullins said in a statement. "No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado hailed the ruling and said it serves as a warning.

"While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one's religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers," ACLU staff attorney Amanda Goad said in a statement. "No one is asking Masterpiece's owners to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple."

Phillips was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal firm specializing in religious liberty cases. Attorney Nicolle Martin condemned the judge's ruling.

"America was founded on the fundamental freedom of every citizen to live and work according to their beliefs," Martin said in a prepared statement. "Forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free."

Martin said this was simply a case of a baker who declined to use his personal creative abilities to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony.

"If the government can take aware our First Amendment freedoms, there is nothing it can't take away," she said.

Martin added that Phillips is a devoted Christian who has an unwavering faith. She said he is a person of such deep faith that he won't even bake Halloween-themed treats – at all.

"He's just trying to live within a certain set of biblical principals because he believes that he answers to God for everything that he does," Martin told Fox News.

She said this case is an example of gay rights trumping religious rights.

"It sends a message not just to other business owners, it sends a message to Americans – that if the government can take away our First amendment freedoms and tell you what to say and when to say it, there's nothing they can't take away," Martin told Fox News.

Judge Spencer said Phillips did not demonstrate that his free speech rights had been violated and he said there's no evidence that forcing him to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony would hurt his business.

"On the contrary, to the extent that the law prohibits Respondents' (Phillips) from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, compliance with the law would likely increase their business by not alienating the gay community," he wrote.

Martin said it was unclear if Phillips will appeal the judge's ruling.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. Sign up for his American Dispatch newsletter, be sure to join his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter. His latest book is Dispatches From Bitter America.

I think there is nothing wrong with the Noah story sharing a contemporary relevency concerning pollution and the environment. The Biblical story almost lends itself to that. Many things in this movie are biblical or implied by the Bible-or are from Jewish tradition and ancient extra-biblical texts. The only movie I have ever seen that follows the Bible strictly is the "Gospel of John" movie-almost ALL Biblical films take liberties with the text-including Cecil B. DeMille's 10 Commandments.

Homeschooling is highly developed now-extremely user friendly-and teachers are complaining that anyone can teach the "common core" scripts-there is no longer any reason to send your child to the public school-and many reasons not to!


Friday, December 6, 2013


This is a picture of a statue of Jesus that has been erected by the Russians in the Aramaic-speaking Christian region of Syria. It is an Saidnaya-on Mount Cherubim. I have been there-but not since the Syrian Civil War started-or since this statue entitled "I have come to save the world."
Islamist radicals have recently re-taken the Aramaic-speaking village of Maloula.
We should pray for Syria and its Christians.
Syria also has a large number of Assyrian Christians in the Eastern Region.
Maloula is featured on the cover of my book-"The Words of Jesus in the Original Aramaic."

December 2013

A Rabbi Discusses the True Meaning of Hanukkah

Syrian Rebels Retake Aramaic-speaking Christian Village of Maloula-and kidnap Nuns

European Parliament hears concerns about Christians in Middle East

Published 28 November 2013 | Michael Trimmer, Christian Today

The European Parliament's subcommittee on human rights this week discussed the increasingly precarious situation of the Christian minority that exists throughout the Middle East.

MEPs discussed recent reports by the World Watch Monitor news service detailing anti-Christian violence in the region, particularly in Iraq. For example, on September 22, a suicide bomb went off outside the home of Christian politician Emad Youhanna in Rafigayn, part of the Kirkuk province, injuring 19 people, including three of Youhanna's children.

Several bomb attacks have also taken place in the northern city of Erbil, for which Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. "Church leaders in Baghdad say that there are attacks on Christians every two or three days," World Watch Monitor said. The organisation said Christians were not only worried about attacks from terrorists, but that there were institutional concerns too.

"A group of Christian young people said that policemen told them that they 'should not be in Iraq because it is Muslim territory'," the report said. "[T]he local Kurdish government has discussed ways to monitor Christian activities and accused many English teachers from the West of being Christian missionaries. It is now much harder for Westerners to receive work permits in the country." Canon Andrew White, the pastor of an Anglican Church in Baghdad said that in the last 10 years since Saddam Hussein was toppled, over 1,000 members of his congregation had been killed, 58 of these within a single day. To put this trend in a broader context, White said that in the last decade Iraq's Christian population had shrunk from 1.5 million to around 200,000. A second report highlighted the situation for Christians in places like Egypt since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and following the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.

In Egypt, the situation is concerning, but many are more hopeful after the removal of President Mohammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood led government. Bishop Angaelos, a general bishop of the UK branch of the Coptic Church, talks in one of the documents about how in the wake of the Arab Spring many Christians are beginning to view themselves as part of a broader Egyptian community, rather than just a group unto themselves.

"It was unheard of before two years ago that Egyptian flags would be flying on the streets because people felt that they were not really part of a single nation state, so they reverted to their own religion, whether Christian or Muslim. This is a much better situation than life under Morsi," he said. The paper points out that one Muslim Brotherhood leader said he felt closer to an Indonesian Muslim than a Coptic Christian because of the concept of the nation of Islam, the Ummah. Present at the European Parliament discussions were Marino Busdaschin, Secretary General of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, Archdeacon Emanuel Youkhana, Archdeacon of the Assyrian Church of the East, and Kamel Zozo, Chairman of the Organisation for Human Rights for the Assyrian Christians in Iraq. In its position as a committee within the European Parliament, the subcommittee on human rights can advise the EP on action to take with regard to foreign policy that requires legislation. During the debate, various speakers emphasised that more legislative measures should be taken to protect Iraq's minorities and for helping the refugees in Kurdistan. It was also said that the EU could contribute financially and with more technical assistance. "In Iraq, both religious and ethnic minorities continue to face risks to life, cultural traditions and economic survival in the country," said MEP Barbara Lochbihler, chair of the subcommittee on human rights. "To ease that situation, the EU needs to ensure that financial allocations to Iraq also reach those that are most vulnerable, including the refugees in Kurdistan."


Soda, Pop, Coke-Dialects in America

an interesting video on how language works-with dialects! Modern Assyrian Aramaic has many dialects as well!

Pope Francis Attacks Capitalism, Calls for State Control

By William Bigelow, 27 November 2013

In a far-ranging 50,000 word statement released by Pope Francis on Tuesday, he illustrated that he is sympathetic to the tenets of liberation theology and hostile to capitalism.

Liberation theology, which is a recent movement that essentially began at the second Latin American Bishops' Conference in Colombia in 1968, believes that social systems that contribute to the economic state of the poor should be overthrown. At that conference, the teachings of Jesus Christ were combined with those of Karl Marx to call for violent revolution to overthrow capitalism. The text that emerged that was later used as inspiration was A Theology of Liberation, written in 1971, by Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian priest and theologian.

In September 2013, Pope Francis held a meeting with Gutiérrez, and L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's semi-official newspaper, published an essay describing it on Sept. 3. The essay asserted that because Francis is the first pope from Latin America, liberation theology can no longer "remain in the shadows to which it has been relegated for some years, at least in Europe." Michael Lee, associate professor of theology at Fordham University in New York, said that the experience Francis had hailing from South America "is present in the person of Francis and in the Vatican now in a way that it never has been before. What only makes sense is, then, a reopening of the door to this theology that emerged from that context and spoke so powerfully to it, and continues to do so."

Before the advent of liberation theology, Catholicism hated socialism and communism, regarding them as "godless." Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) wrote an entire encyclical condemning socialism.

But now Pope Francis seems to be embracing a condemnation of capitalism instead, and an embracing of socialistic principles. Here are some statements from his text on Tuesday: Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized:

… some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.

One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person!

While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born..

So Francis believes that capitalism, which defends the right to a free market system, is to be discarded, while the right of states, "charged with vigilance for the common good," to exercise control over the economic status of the people, is laudable. Lenin would not be disappointed.

Obama Closes Vatican Embassy

Barbara Hollingsworth – The U.S. State Department is blaming its decision to close the U.S. embassy to the Vatican on the Benghazi terrorist attack, saying that the embassy is too much of a security risk for U.S. diplomats. "Security is our top priority in making this move," the State Department said in a statement sent to by department spokesperson Nicole Thompson. "The State Department is working to implement all of the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) recommendations, to include a renewed call for U.S. government facilities to be collocated when they are in the same metropolitan area," said the statement. Vatican City is not legally a part of Rome or Italy, but is a separate sovereign state. As a secondary reason for closing the U.S. embassy at the Vatican the State Department cited the need of the U.S. government to save money. "This move will also save the U.S. government money," said the department's statement. "The Embassy to the Holy See will move into unused space on the U.S. government compound in Rome, eliminating the lease costs being paid for its current location and maximizing use of space in a building that we own. It will also reduce operating costs, as our Embassy to the Holy See will be able to share guard and other services. We reject any suggestion that this decision, made for security and administrative reasons, constitutes a downgrading of our relations with the Holy See." Former U.S. Ambassador to Vatican Jim Nicholson does not see it that way. He blasted the State Department's move, saying he has "zero doubt" that the 165 counties with whom the Vatican maintains diplomatic ties will view it as "a reflection of the diminished role the State Department and this administration have for this very important diplomatic post." "If you diminish the stature, you diminish the influence," Nicholoson, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican for four years, told"And the stature of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is critical for its moral suasion, particularly for a country like ours that prides itself on protecting civil rights, stopping human trafficking, fighting for religious freedom and feeding the world. If you diminish that influence, you seriously jeopardize those goals," he added. Nicholson also pointed out that the existing embassy in the Vatican already has "state-of-the-art security" and that Rome is not considered a high-risk diplomatic assignment. The former ambassador also challenged State Dept. reassurances that "the United States continues to regard the Holy See as a key bilateral partner in promoting religious freedom, protecting religious minorities, advancing humanitarian causes, and mitigating conflicts around the world. We look forward to continuing our high levels of engagement with the Holy See." "It's one thing to say it, but it's contradictory [if you don't] show it," Nicholson said. In an interview with Fox News "Spirited Debate" host Lauren Green Monday, Nicholson called the planned move a "rebuke" of the close relationship the U.S. has enjoyed with the Vatican and an "insult" to American Catholics. - See more at:

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Pope Prays for Syrian Nuns By AP / Albert Aji and Nicole Winfield Dec. 04, 2013

(DAMASCUS, Syria) — Pope Francis called Wednesday for prayers for 12 Orthodox nuns reportedly taken by force from their convent in Syria by rebels. Religious officials in the region have said the women were abducted, but a Syrian opposition activist said they were merely taken away for their own safety. Francis didn't call for their release but appealed for prayers from the crowd at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square. "I invite everyone to pray for the sisters of the Greek Orthodox monastery of Santa Takla in Maaloula, Syria, who were taken by force by armed men two days ago," he said. "Let us continue to pray and to work together for peace."


We should continue to pray for the Aramaic Christians of Maloula, Syria-and join the pope in doing so-but he should have called for their release when he first made a statement and asked for prayer. Prayer has power-but we must combine prayer with action-such as a call for repentance and good works-these terrorists must release these women of God NOW!

Many Catholics work hard on pro-life causes. Then the pope-the supposed vicar of Christ-speaks against them. The Pope wants to be Mr. Popular-but Jesus said-the world will hate you as it has hated me-the Bible says friendship with the world is enmity with God. The Pope wants the world's love-but Jesus embraced rejection and shame by the world-Jesus said "Woe unto you when men speak well of you-for so they spoke of the false prophets"-I think Christians should work together but when our leaders fail us-we have to rely upon Christ alone. Here is a Catholics take on the renegade pope:

We should pray for him-but follow Jesus the Son of God and his holy word and not any man-no matter who he claims to be. I wonder if there is a procedure in Canon Law for removing a pope when he begins to wound the body of Christ. Many popes were godly men-but there have been bad popes in the past-and I feel, sadly, that we have the same problem now. John Paul was and Benedict as well were both good leaders. We must trust in Jesus Christ and in him alone!

Pope Francis is the Catholic Church's Obama-God help us! By Adam Shaw

Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church.

My fellow Catholics should be suspicious when bastions of anti-Catholicism in the left-wing media are in love with him.

Much is being made of his 'compassion' and 'humility,' but kissing babies and hugging the sick is nothing new. Every pope in recent memory has done the same, yet only now are the media paying attention. Benedict XVI and John Paul II refused to kowtow to the liberal agenda, and so such displays of tenderness were under-covered.

Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.

But Francis is beating a retreat for the Catholic Church, and making sure its controversial doctrines are whispered, not yelled – no wonder the New York Times is in love.

Just like President Obama loved apologizing for America, Pope Francis likes to apologize for the Catholic Church, thinking that the Church is at its best when it is passive and not offending anyone's sensibilities.

In his interviews with those in the left-wing media he seeks to impress, Francis has said that the Church needs to stop being 'obsessed' with abortion and gay marriage, and instead of seeking to convert people, "we need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us."

This softly-softly approach of not making a fuss has been tried before, and failed. The Second Vatican Council of the 1960's aimed to "open the windows" of the Church to the modern world by doing just this.

The result was the Catholic version of New Coke. Across the West where the effects were felt, seminaries and convents emptied, church attendance plummeted, and adherence to Church doctrine diminished.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI worked hard to turn this trend around, but now Pope Francis wants the bad old days to resume.

Proof of this is Francis' aforementioned statement of the Church being obsessed with controversial issues and the need to rebalance by talking about it less.

That Francis didn't see that this would be translated into headlines of "Pope tells Catholics to shut up about things that offend Sandra Fluke" by every left-wing media outlet shows a terrifying naivety.

Nor do his comments reflect reality.

For years, the majority of priests didn't dare cover controversial topics in their homilies in fear of getting angry letters from pick-and-choose Catholics outraged that their pastor dared to say something out of line with the Democratic Party.

Most parishioners therefore haven't heard the Church's argument on controversial topics. Consequently, usage of contraception is only slightly lower in Catholics than in the general population, and support of gay marriage is actually higher in Catholics than the general population. Perhaps talking about it even less isn't the answer?

In trying to please the media and the modern world, Francis mistakes their glee for respect. Just like Obama thought he'd won over Putin by promising a reset, Francis thinks by talking vacuously about the poor, he will be respected. And it is vacuous -- the pontiff recently asked why it's news that the stock market drops but not when an old person dies. When your leader is asking, "Why isn't the newspaper a laundry list of obituaries?" you know you elected the wrong guy.

What effect is this having? For all we're being told about how 'disenfranchised' Catholics are being brought back by Francis 'reaching out,' a recent Pew Research study showed that in America, the number of people who identify as Catholic has actually decreased. Lesson: rubbing the egos of Church-hating left-wingers doesn't make more Catholics, it just makes the Church less respected.

Francis not only panders to enemies and professional grievance mongers, but also attacks his allies. Just as Obama snubs Britain and Israel, Pope Francis swipes at practicing Catholics.

So not only has he insulted, and severely damaged the work of, pro-life and pro-marriage groups with his comments, he has also gone on the attack, dismissing Catholics who attend the older rites in Latin as 'ideologizing' and being guilty of 'exploitation.' Apparently "Who am I to judge?" doesn't apply here.

On world matters, Francis' statements are embarrassing. About communism, a destructive ideology that slaughtered millions of Catholics, he said:

"Learning about it through a courageous and honest person was helpful. I realized…an aspect of the social, which I then found in the social doctrine of the Church."

Not such kind words for the free market, however. In his recent apostolic exhortation he slammed unfettered capitalism, calling it 'a new tyranny.'

Apart from the fact that there is no major nation practicing unfettered capitalism (like Obama, Francis loves attacking straw men) there is more real tyranny in socialist cesspools like Francis' home of Argentina than in places where capitalism is predominant.

In the document he rejects the free market and calls for governments to overhaul financial systems so they attack inequality. In doing so he shows himself painfully misguided on economics, failing to see that free markets have consistently lifted the poor out of poverty, while socialism merely entrenches them in it, or kills them outright.

Like Obama, Francis is unable to see the problems that are really endangering his people. Like Obama he mistakes the faithful for the enemy, the enemy for his friend, condescension for respect, socialism for justice and capitalism for tyranny.

As a Catholic, I do hope Francis' papacy is a successful one, but from his first months he seems hell-bent on a path to undo the great work of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, and to repeat critical mistakes of the past.

Adam Shaw is a News Editor for and has written on Anglo-American issues as well as topics related to the Roman Catholic Church. He lives in New Jersey and can be reached here.


US reportedly frees Iranian amid secret talks, but American trio still held

By Lisa Daftari,

When the Obama administration announced what it characterized as a breakthrough deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons program, the apparent culmination of multi-lateral talks in the works for years, supporters of three men believed held in the Islamic Republic wondered why their freedom wasn't part of the negotiation.

The State Department responded by saying talks in Geneva between Iran and six world powers focused solely on the nuclear issue, leaving no room for appeals on behalf of Pastor Saeed Abedini, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati and ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson. But recent reports say the U.S.-Iran negotiations that led to the Swiss talks included the release of an Iranian nuclear scientist arrested in 2011 for trying to aid his nation's nuclear program by circumventing western sanctions.

State Department officials have maintained that the Obama administration has continued to press for the American trio's freedom, just not as part of the nuclear talks. But Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, who represents Abedini's family, said freeing an Iranian prisoner while Americans languish in Tehran was wrong.

This is betrayal," Sekulow told Fox News today. "A betrayal because not only did they not get the release of the three Americans, but they said they are working on this 'on the margins.' Our citizens are on the margins and then we are releasing an Iranian convicted on working on the nuclear issue."

Atarodi was released in April, according to the report. Atarodi is believed to be a vital player in Iran's missile and nuclear programs, according to Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. Atarodi has published over 30 technical articles relating to micro-electric engineering and has even won awards for his research in this arena.

Atarodi was first arrested in California in 2011 on charges that he allegedly attempted to purchase dual-use technology that could be used for Iran's nuclear program, but that was in violation of sanctions against Iran.

"These claims are untrue," an Obama administration official told Fox News without elaborating when asked about the Times of Israel report saying the scientist had been released. It was not clear if the official was denying Mojtaba Atarodi was released or simply disputing the context.

Officials from the U.S. and Iran have been held clandestine meetings for years in Oman, according to Solomon, who has been tracking these meetings. Over the last three years, Iran released three American hikers who were nabbed when they apparently strayed across the Iraq-Iran border, and the U.S. reciprocated by releasing three Iranians.

But the reported release of Atarodi came after those exchanges, and seems more closely aligned to the nuclear talks, if only based on the timeline. Sekulow said it should have been easy for the U.S. to insist on the release of the three Americans, including Levinson, who was last seen in 2007.

"I think it's a dire and desperate situation," Sekulow said. "Our government is not taking the real human rights issues here seriously."

Abedini, an Iranian-born American citizen who converted to Christianity was arrested last year while in Iran visiting family and drawing plans to develop a secular orphanage, according to his attorneys. He was later sentenced to eight years in prison, and his family in Boise, Idaho, fears he will not make it out of prison alive.

Hekmati, 31, of Flint, Mich., was visiting his grandmother in 2011 when he was charged with espionage and sentenced to death in 2012. In September, a letter was leaked out of the prison where Hekmati is being held, stating that he was pressured into recording an admission of guilt.

Levinson, a 65-year-old former FBI agent, was last seen in March of 2007, on Kish Island in Iran. He was stationed in the United Arab Emirates and was then called to Kish for a meeting. This week, Levinson became the longest-held hostage in U.S. history, according to his family. Three years ago, the family received a hostage video in which a weak Levinson appears pleading for the White House to call for his release.

In September, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani denied any knowledge of Levinson's whereabouts.

U.S. State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said the Obama administration is working to win the release of the three Americans, even if it was not a condition of the nuclear deal.

"The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues, but we have raised—repeatedly raised—his case and the cases of other detained American citizens including Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini in our bilateral discussions with Iran, including President Obama's phone call with President Rouhani in September, so as recently as then, and we will continue to do so," Psaki said.


I am convinced that Obama is a homosexual Islamo-Marxist, and will come out as such, just as he came out for same-sex marriage. Some time before the end of his term in office, he will admit he is a Muslim. He must be a Muslim. Why would he spend so much energy furthering the interests of a religion not his own? In Iran and Egypt he supported the radical Muslims and worked against moderates, Christians and those who are more secular. Why does he do this? There is some evidence that Obama is "gay" such as how his "body slave," Reggie Love was recently "outed." But whether or not Obama is "gay," be belongs to the homosexual political movement. I am inclined to tolerate homosexuality (as in live and let live) but I am opposed to the homosexual political movement, which seeks government power to enforce their beliefs of sexual morality and punish and coerce those who dissent. You could also say Obama is an "anti-Christian, anti-America homosexual Islamo-Marxist." Obama has become a danger to the Republic and the Constitution and it is time for people to grow a pair and oppose him for the sake of freedom and democracy. His approval ratings are in the 30s now-so why are people so scared of him? He is now unpopular.

High court ends Liberty University lawsuit over ObamaCare

Published December 02, 2013

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a challenge to ObamaCare brought by a Virginia-based Christian university, ending for now one of the biggest remaining legal fights against the health care law. The justices, in turning away the lawsuit from Liberty University and leaving in place a federal appeals court ruling dismissing it, did not comment on their decision. The decision comes less than a week after the high court agreed to hear a separate challenge from Hobby Lobby and one other company to the law's so-called contraception mandate -- the requirement on most employers to provide access to contraceptive coverage. But Liberty University's case was more expansive. The university had mounted a major challenge to the law, going after the contraception mandate but also the requirement on employers to provide coverage. Liberty made several arguments in challenging the portion of the health care law that requires most employers to provide health insurance to their workers or pay a fine. The 4th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Richmond, Va., rejected those claims. With the high court's decision, that ruling remains in place.

THINK ABOUT THIS-if you can no longer run your privately own business according to your sincerely held religious beliefs-but have to violate your conscience because of the dictates of the state-then YOU NO LONGER LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY!

The Supreme Court's decision comes more than a year after it had ordered the federal appeals court to reconsider Liberty University's claims that the law violates the school's religious freedoms.

The courts are continuing to wade through numerous challenges to the Affordable Care Act, despite the major ruling in June 2012 that upheld the bulk of the law by ruling the individual mandate -- the requirement on individuals to buy health insurance -- valid.

But the issue of the contraception mandate will come before the Supreme Court, perhaps as early as March. The court last week said it would hear the challenge from Hobby Lobby and Pennsylvania company Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp.

The court is set to weigh in on the dispute over whether businesses can use religious objections to avoid a requirement in the law to cover birth control for employees.


I am convinced that Obama is a homosexual Islamo-Marxist, and will come out as such, just as he came out for same-sex marriage. Some time before the end of his term in office, he will admit he is a Muslim. He must be a Muslim. Why would he spend so much energy furthering the interests of a religion not his own? In Iran and Egypt he supported the radical Muslims and worked against moderates, Christians and those who are more secular. Why does he do this? There is some evidence that Obama is "gay" such as how his "body slave," Reggie Love was recently "outed." But whether or not Obama is "gay," be belongs to the homosexual political movement. I am inclined to tolerate homosexuality (as in live and let live) but I am opposed to the homosexual political movement, which seeks government power to enforce their beliefs of sexual morality and punish and coerce those who dissent. You could also say Obama is an "anti-Christian, anti-America homosexual Islamo-Marxist." Obama has become a danger to the Republic and the Constitution and it is time for people to grow a pair and oppose him for the sake of freedom and democracy. His approval ratings are in the 30s for God's sake!