24 November 2014

Boycott, Divest, Sanctions(BDS): Consider the down side

BDS is an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. Some churches even joined this noisy global movement which seeks to stall Israeli life. In response, Meyer M. Treinkman, a pharmacist, offered to assist them in their boycott as follows:

Any Muslim who has Syphilis must not be cured by Salvarsan discovered by a Jew, Dr. Ehrlich. He should not even try to find out whether he has Syphilis, because the Wasserman Test is the discovery of a Jew. If a Muslim suspects that he has Gonorrhea, he must not seek diagnosis, because he will be using the method of a Jew named Neissner..
A Muslim who has heart disease must not use Digitalis, a discovery by a Jew, Ludwig Traube.
Should he suffer with a toothache, he must not use Novocaine, a discovery of the Jews, Widal and Weil.
If a Muslim has Diabetes, he must not use Insulin, the result of research by Minkowsky, a Jew. If one has a headache, he must shun Pyramidon and Antypyrin, due to the Jews, Spiro and Ellege. Muslims with convulsions must put up with them because it was a Jew, Oscar Leibreich, who proposed the use of Chloral Hydrate.
Arabs must do likewise with their psychic ailments because Freud, father of psychoanalysis, was a Jew.
Should a Muslim child get Diphtheria, he must refrain from the “Schick" reaction which was invented by the Jew, Bella Schick.

Muslims should be ready to die in great numbers and must not permit treatment of ear and brain damage, work of Jewish Nobel Prize winner, Robert Baram. They should continue to die or remain crippled by Infantile Paralysis because the discoverer of the anti-polio vaccine is a Jew, Jonas Salk.
Muslims must refuse to use Streptomycin and continue to die of Tuberculosis because a Jew, Zalman Waxman, invented the wonder drug against this killing disease.

 Muslim doctors must discard all discoveries and improvements by dermatologist Judas Sehn Benedict, or the lung specialist, Frawnkel, and of many other world renowned Jewish scientists and medical experts. In short, good and loyal Muslims properly and fittingly should remain afflicted with Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Heart Disease, Headaches, Typhus, Diabetes, Mental Disorders, Polio Convulsions and Tuberculosis and be proud to obey the Islamic boycott."

 Oh, and by the way, don't call for a doctor on your cell phone because the cell phone was invented in Israel by a Jewish engineer.

OTHER NOBEL CONSIDERATIONS (Compare and contrast):
Meanwhile I ask, what medical contributions to the world have the Muslims made?"
The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000; that is ONE BILLION TWO HUNDRED MILLION or 20% of the world's population.
They have received the following Nobel Prizes:
Literature:  1988 - Najib Mahfooz
Peace:  1978 - Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat
1990 - Elias James Corey
1994 - Yaser Arafat:
1999 - Ahmed Zewai
Economics:  0
Physics:  0

Medicine: 1960 - Peter Brian Medawar and 1998 - Ferid Mourad

The Nobel Prize is an annual, international prize first awarded in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been awarded since 1969.Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 850 individuals,of whom at least 20% were Jews, although Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world's population (or 1 in every 500 people). 

Overall, Jews have won a total of 41% of all the Nobel Prizes in economics, 28% of medicine, 26% of Physics, 19% of Chemistry, 13% of Literature and 9% of all peace awards.

Jews have been recipients of all six awards. The first Jewish recipient, Adolf von Baeyer, was awarded the prize in Chemistry in 1905. As of 2013, the most recent Jewish recipients were James Rothman and Randy Schekman (Medicine); Arieh Warshel, Michael Levitt and Martin Karplus (Chemistry); and François Englert (Physics), all in 2013.

Jewish laureates Elie Wiesel and Imre Kertész survived the extermination camps during the Holocaust, while François Englert survived by being hidden in orphanages and children's homes. Others, such as Walter Kohn, Otto Stern, Albert Einstein, Hans Krebs and Martin Karplus had to flee Nazi Germany to avoid persecution. Still others, including Rita Levi-Montalcini, Herbert Hauptman, Robert Furchgott, Arthur Kornberg, and Jerome Karle experienced significant antisemitism in their careers.

The oldest person ever to receive a Nobel Prize was Leonid Hurwicz, a Polish-American Jew who received the 2007 prize in Economics when he was 90 years old.

Other issues of comparison and contrast:
The Jews are NOT promoting brainwashing children in military training camps, teaching them how to blow themselves up and cause maximum deaths of Jews and other non-Muslims.
The Jews don't hijack planes, nor kill athletes at the Olympics, or blow themselves up in German restaurants.
There is NOT one single Jew who has destroyed a church.
Jews don't traffic slaves, nor have leaders calling for Jihad and death to all the Infidels.

 Perhaps the world's Muslims should consider investing more in standard education and less in blaming the Jews for all their problems.
Muslims must ask 'what can they do for humankind' before they demand that humankind respects them.
Otherwise all you have is #OneWayReligiousTolerance and that’s not going to help anyone.

22 November 2014

Muslims' prayer in DC--no big deal, right?

David Lazarus wrote this piece for the internet service Israel Today.co.il  and I had to share it today...

"It looked like a chilling scene from a Last Days, anti-Christ-takes-over-the-world disaster movie. Hundreds of Muslims take over America’s most notable church, prostrate on their prayer rugs as their unified chant echoes out in full volume: “There is only one god, he begets not and I bear witness that Muhammad is His only servant and Apostle."

Only this was not a movie. This was the scene, last Friday, for the first time in history, at the iconic National Cathedral in Washington, where orthodox Muslim clerics were invited to lead an Islamic prayer service. A congregation of hundreds were lead by an Imam in declaring that “god has no son, that Jesus Christ cannot be his son, and that there is no god like Allah.”

Only a single middle-age woman jumped up in the middle of the service and shouted, “America was founded on Christian principles. . . . Leave our church alone!” She was escorted quickly out of the church by security guards.

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC has been an extremely important symbol of the Christian roots of the United States. The cathedral was designated by Congress as America's "National House of Prayer." The church has hosted a number of inaugural presidential prayer services, including Franklin Roosevelt and both presidents Bush.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, took to Facebook in reaction to the Muslim prayer service:
“The National Cathedral in Washington, DC–one of the most prominent Episcopal churches in America–will host a Muslim prayer service to Allah. It’s sad to see a church open its doors to the worship of anything other than the One True God of the Bible, who sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus was clear when He said, 'I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6)."

The Islamic service at the cathedral was ostensibly intended to promote interfaith dialogue. Its organizers said that they hoped the service would “help correct some Americans’ misperceptions of Muslims as extremists and reinforce tolerance among faiths.”

However, it is hard to understand how a Christian church opening its sanctuary for Islamic prayers that renonce Jesus Christ contributes to interfaith tolerance. Muslims would never allow a Christian to preach the Gospel in a mosque. Palestinian Muslims continue to ban all Jews and Christians from praying at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It would appear that “interfaith dialogue and tolerance” are just more code words calling for Muslims to rise up and conquer.

The Washington Post reported that the Islamic prayer service was closed to the public because of security concerns. Armed guards checked every person and every bag of those in attendance.

Islam is growing rapidly around the world, and is now the third-largest religion in the United States, behind Christianity and Judaism, with an estimated 2.6 million American Muslim citizens."    Here's the link to the published article itself Lazarus' article

What's wrong with a prayer meeting? Isn't that all we want from each other? Let people pray in their synagogues and churches and mosques and come out loving each other. That's right, isn't it? All religions are the same, aren't they?

I hear those comments so often it's almost laughable. But as Lazarus points out in the article, the Islamic religion of peace and the prayers they offer bring no hope for such universal optimism. It's simply #OneWayReligiousTolerance gone mad yet again. Let's see if the mosques of Washington allow Christian ministers to come in and pray for the advancement of their religion or allow Jews to bring in holy objects and pray there... that would be interesting. But don't hold your breath. Their M.O. and their objectives are clear.  God, not Allah, help us all.

21 November 2014

Love the Lord, your God, with all your mind: How do we do that?

I don't remember ever hearing a sermon on this topic. I've heard that I'm to love the Lord, with everything I have, yes, but not ...'with all my mind.' So we pondered that the other night and came up with the following selection of thoughts and ideas...

What prompted me to consider this and for us to address it was a reminder of the old US advertising campaigns, which popped out onto my browser one day recently. It showed the old motto of the United Negro College Fund. So you know the ad was from long ago. Since negro has not been used in US language since the early 1960s.  The ad shown here brought the motto to the fore: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

I gleaned from Derek Prince in the early 70s and also from Watchman Nee in his "Spiritual Man" books that the soul and the spirit were distinct. That is also indicated in these biblical verses:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 )
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The Bible is clear that even though our spirits are born of incorruptible seed, our minds (souls) still need to be purified, that is, cleansed:
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." (1 Peter 1:22-23)

Also "Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." (James 1.21)

Our spirit is instantly reborn and made new the moment we receive Yeshua as Messiah, but the soul is not born again. Our souls are transformed by the renewing of our minds:
 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

How do we love God with our mind?
Solomon teaches us:
A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel (Prov. 1.5 ) and again later in the book of Proverbs:
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser,
Teach a righteous man, and he will increase his learning.  (Prov. 9.9)   

So if you think you know something, a wise man will keep learning, with his mind. Engage the brain, don't bury it!

So, using our mind and increasing in learning gives us the title “wise.”

John Piper says of this passage, to love God with our minds involves...
[©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org]
  1.  Dedicating our minds to knowing him.
  2. Thinking clearly and truly about him so that we don't have false ideas in our minds.
  3. Not being satisfied with merely an intellectual awareness of his attributes, character, and acts but intentionally devoting that mental effort to serve the affections (emotions) for God.

Piper says this, “If a person doesn't move from intellectual awareness of God and right thinking about God to an emotional embrace of God, he hasn't loved God with his mind. The mind has not yet loved until it hands off its thoughts to the emotions where they're embraced. And then the mind and the heart are working in what feels like such harmony, and you experience it as both intellectual and affectional love for God.”

Greg Simas a blogger says there are 4 ways to love God with the mind..
 1. Reason
Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:”
To reason is to think, understand and form judgments by a process of logic. I believe that part of loving God with all our mind is loving him logically. For guys like me this is a relief. I enjoy strategic thinking and order. God has given this as a gift.
 2. Knowledge
Heb. 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
To love God with all our mind involves taking time to fill our mind with God’s Word and to rightly agree with who He is. When we grow in truth we gain knowledge.
 3. Memory
Isaiah 63:7 “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us.”
The Bible is filled with commands to remember. Memories lead to gratefulness and worship. When we use our minds to remember His kindness, faithfulness, patience, peace etc. we build a foundation of faith, hope and love. We are loving God with our remembrance.
 4. Imagination
Psa. 8:3 “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;”
Isa. 55:8 “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

Don't miss this, the requirement is to love God with 'all' our mind. So don't be satisfied with minimal service, minimal prayer, minimal thinking or knowledge...press on!

Finally, you are to love the Lord, your God, with all of your mind.
Personalize this. Own God. Be in relation to God. Not that you own him, but you have a relationship with Him.

That’s it.
Let me summarize:
1)   You shall love-- it’s a command.
2)   You shall do this, it’s for you, not the other guy, it’s your responsibility.
3)   Make God, your God, and know Him personally
4)   With all your mind, don't be satisfied with less
5)   Finally, with your mind. All the academics, the knowledge, the fear of the Lord, the imaginations and reasoning you can muster.

Hope that helps a bit. Hosea 6 says, "So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord!"

14 November 2014

Short Stories by Jesus. A critical review (Part 1)

A Jewish Journey Through the Parables of Jesus
by Rich Robinson

In this series of posts I want to make my way through Amy-Jill Levine’s latest contribution, a book on the parables of Jesus. Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi was published this year (2014) by HarperOne. (Aussie readers can buy it here Short Stories )

For those not familiar, Levine (hereafter AJL) teaches New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is, according to her Website , “a self-described ‘Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt.’” She is also an Orthodox Jew who, as she says somewhere else, can be somewhat unorthodox. AJL is known as co-editor of the recent Jewish Annotated New Testament (Aussies buy that here ) and author of The Misunderstood Jew (Aussies: Misunderstood) (that is, Jesus). We interviewed her some time ago for our Havurah magazine and you can find that interview here.

There are many things I like about Levine’s writing, not least that she’s entertaining, even cheeky in a good way, her prose engaging and above all challenging. And she is committed to unearthing wrong-headed interpretations of the New Testament that are anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic—interpretations that can be found in evangelical circles, though born more of ignorance than malice. Sometimes it takes an outside voice to shake things up. Those whose fashion or haircut choices make them resemble Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory can benefit from the honesty of someone who knows clothing and hairstyles—witness the various “Makeover” reality TV shows. AJL, at least in the area of Jesus’ Jewishness, wants to “make over” how Christians read the New Testament. And in many respects, she succeeds.

In this new book she tackles Jesus’ parables. In the days to come I’ll make my way through the book and interact with what AJL has to say on the subject. Could it be that Jesus’ “short stories” are The Misunderstood Parables? Come back here and find out with me!

 -- Rich Robinson
For more information about Rich, Senior Researcher of Jews for Jesus, click Robinson 

All the rest of Rich's posts about AJL are here on his own newly-created blog
Richard Robinson's Blog

Is that a real mitzvah?

The man in this video is Scott Rogowsky. He has a twice a month live show in NYC, as well as a series of videos and each one has irony and humor and repetition. I think my friend Bennett Arron would have as much fun as Rogowsky if he had a video guy following him around all day. But the point of this is to discuss the idea of a mitzvah.

What is a mitzvah anyway? By definition, it's a commandment. But by practice, the word means 'the completion of a commandment', thus a religious activity which complies with something in the Jewish religion. So handing out food to homeless people is 'doing a mitzvah' or wrapping oneself with leather straps (tefillin) in the morning and praying certain prayers is fulfilling the commandment of doing so, thus 'performing a mitzvah.'

In the video below, according to Rogowsky, after 10 hours of walking in New York City as a Jew, during a Jewish holiday named Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), many Jewish men accosted him and tried to get him to 'do a mitzvah.' Of course, the whole thing is probably staged, but still the video got me thinking. Watch it first, and then I'll comment.


I've had Jewish religionists approach me in various locations worldwide, here in Sydney, and in Melbourne, in Moscow and in Israel, in Washington DC, and Baltimore...all asking me to do some religious activity and thus 'do a mitzvah.' One in Sydney even told me that he could help me put on the leather straps in 30 seconds and 'voila, that would be it.' Wow, a discount, a rapid fulfillment. One man I know told me that he was actually told he had become 'Bar Mitzvah' by some rabbi on the streets in Sydney, because he repeated some words he didn't understand, while donning a kippah (skull cap).

This is shocking on so many levels.

And the real question I have is 'is that a real mitzvah' anyway? If we say words we don't understand, and use props we don't regard as significant... if we jump through certain hoops of others' invention but it's not from our own heart, is that doing good? Is that honoring the God who wants us to do good things?

Yeshua taught about something like this with "When you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you and when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him" (Matthew 6.5-8)

I remember back in the 1970s when people in orange saffron robes would chant 'hare rama' and "hare krishna' and try to get others to say those same words. "Please, say 'hare krishna'" they would beg. As if my saying a phrase about which I was clueless and which had no meaning to me would somehow incant meaning and bring their deity to the moment. Those four syllables were just a combination of syllables which were empty and void to me. I get it-- they had great meaning to those robed people, but to me they were empty. Why would I ever repeat them?

There are people who want others to 'ask Jesus into your heart' and be saved. I've honestly never seen the phrase "ask Jesus into your heart' in the Bible, but I understand what these born-again evangelizers are asking of others. The more biblical phrase would be 'repent of your sins and be born again by the blood of Jesus.' But that might be too much for some people. So perhaps the evangelizers are trying to make the Gospel more marketable. Perhaps they are simply asking people to do what they themselves did those days/ months/ years ago. I really do not know what is working in their minds. But jumping through another's hoops of religion without the meaning and the conviction in your own heart... it will never work.

Perhaps that's why the apostle Paul said "if you confess with your mouth Yeshua as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10.9-10)

It really does take the heart. No wonder Solomon the king of Israel said, "Guard your heart, for out of it proceed the issues of life." (Proverbs 4.23) Paul again wrote something similar, "not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Messiah, doing the will of God from the heart." (Ephesians 6.6) That's the key in any and every mitzvah.

Will you take this to heart? That itself is a mitzvah!

09 November 2014

Is it a club or a church?

I was speaking with a long-time friend in the US about a congregation she is attending. By her own testimony, she is growing in the Lord much more than she ever has, learning more about Jewish people more than ever. I asked her about the congregation; she said it's a place for teaching about Jewish roots, about Jewish people, and of course, about Yeshua.

So now I share with you some random thoughts that came out during our chat. It's hardly a comprehensive teaching on ekklesia or kehilah, the biblical language terms for congregation, but may help spark some chat or more importantly, some thoughts in you about where you (should be) attend(ing).

1) A church needs to be much much more than a place where you learn Jewish things. So it's an ethnic club and has an ethos, which is good. But it's not a church. Clubs are one thing; churches are another.

And the problem is the non-differentiation

You get my point.

2) What we say about God, what we say about (all ) our neighbour(s), what we say about life, about ourselves, about the earth... all of that is church. How we treat the world in which we live, how we regard the Scriptures, how we regard Jesus, Bible, ...all of that is church.

3) Apostles creed and other creeds are the basis of our fellowship and none of it is related to Jewish evangelism

Look, I'm all for Jewish evangelism, obviously, I've spent 35 years trying to get people on board with that, and doing it myself

4) BUT, that's not the basis of a church. Israel rallies and Israeli dancing and Hebrew language and Jewish interest are all good things, but not the basis of a church. I have many people tell me that they cannot attend their current church because the pastor isn't into Jewish things. Really? That's the basis of a church? Where is that in the Bible?

What are your thoughts?

05 November 2014

Sodom, Rabbi Ingram and tolerance

Rabbi Chaim Ingram wrote this week on the portion in the Bible concerning Abraham and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He alludes to tolerance and intolerance and same-sex marriage. It's a very good read. Tell me what you think, won't you?

"Why is the famous passage of Abraham’s plea for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gemorra such a seminal statement of Jewish ideological outlook?

Abraham’s series of entreaties to G-D to spare the populations of five wicked cities including Sodom and Gemorrah if even 50 then 45, 40, 30, 20 or even 10 righteous inhabitants are to be found there(Gen. 23-32)  is often cited by thinkers of a leftist-libertarian persuasion as a seminal example of, as they put it, “the Jewish value of tolerance”.

Actually nothing could be further from the truth.  What Abraham does not do – and what he would do were he “tolerant” in the leftist-libertarian sense – is to ask G-D  “Please tell me – what is the nature of their sin?  And anyway, ‘sin’ is such a judgmental word is it not? Why do You wish to destroy them? Is it because they are pursuing alternative lifestyles to mine? Perhaps G-D, You ought to embrace their diversity. Isn’t multiculturalism a wonderful thing?  After all, surely it is arrogant to suppose there is only one absolute truth in the world! Can You not see their actions as equally valid truths? After all, I am pursuing my mission and they are pursuing theirs as they see it.  Please can I go and investigate their culture and then I will call a meeting and propose a detailed resolution on what I believe is the best way to proceed.”

That would have been a “tolerant” response.  It would also have meant the end of Abraham’s unique moral influence and mission as av hamon goyim the father of a multitude of nations and the end of his special relationship with G-D.

Abraham’s greatest virtue is not tolerance.  It is unconditional compassion..  He is not the least bit interested in learning about the “alternative lifestyle” of the citizens of  Sodom and Gemorrah. If G-D says that their actions (which included the shedding of innocent blood, corruption, perversion of the course of justice, sodomy, same-gender marriage, robbery with violence and forced eviction) are sins then sins they are.  But that does not mean that Abraham is about to give up on the perpetrators of these sins. Maybe they had no parental example. Maybe they can be helped to change their ways. Even if  there were just ten people there who could help to change the culture, surely, pleaded Abraham to G-D, you must give the cities another chance!

It is fascinating that those people who are the most passionate advocates of  ‘tolerance’ as we have illustrated it above are the most vitriolically intolerant of those who dares to challenge their particular set of values.  Anyone who disagrees with their approach must be a ‘fundamentalist’ or a ‘reactionary’ or ‘obscurantist’ (to cite just a few of the tolerant brigade’s intolerant epithets).  Abraham on the other hand, because he chooses compassion over tolerance ends up being neither uncompassionate nor intolerant of any soul.

Judaism’s ideological approach vis-a-vis the world is a unique and remarkable one. It is absolutist when it comes to belief in G-D but pluralistic with regard to how G-D should be worshipped by the world’s family of believers. It is absolutist in its belief that Torah is G-D given and therefore the repository of absolute truth to the exclusion of all other ideologies;  but pluralistic with regard to how Torah is to be embraced by the world’s family of nations - by Jews via the 613 mitsvot, by Gentiles via the seven universal laws of humanity which would mean that even pre-Messiah a nation could live by broad Torah ideals and be deemed righteous. Judaism is not tolerant of those societies who breach these broad Torah ideals; but it is compassionate of all those within these societies who find themselves without anchor, caught up in a maelstrom not exactly of their making and seeking safe haven in a tempestuous world. Anyone demonstrating such compassion is a true disciple of our father Abraham."                                                    -Rabbi Chaim Ingram

 Others' thoughts:

Barbara Lardinais lives in Toledo, Ohio, (I think) also writes about Abraham's prayer of negotiation here:

Also from Bible "Got Questions" website: 
Sodom and Abraham

And from my teaching series on the book of Genesis, you might like to read the whole sermon on Genesis 18:
Guess who's coming to dinner

04 November 2014

Mosques, Christian warriors and tolerance: What is OWRT?

My friend Owen sent me this link:  "Interstate Christian activists on board of Canberra group fighting mosque in Gungahlin"
And Owen asked me a question which is a good one. Could I "please elaborate on the concept of #OneWayReligiousTolerance as you use it."

 In other words, knowing that I'm very keen to notice the misuse of religion in the gamery of public action, isn't this just another one of those actions and thus intolerance in a multi-cultural society?
You see, in the article, some Christians are trying to prevent some Muslims from opening a mosque in Canberra.  And in fact, some of those listed as preventers are running for parliament in the next election.
One of the opponents is Mr Adrian Van Der Byl - who said he opposed "the advancing Islamisation of Australia" - and he also confirmed he planned to run as the CDP candidate in the seat of Goulburn, which borders the north of the ACT, at the coming NSW state election.
Realistically I have no problem with people using their inalienable and incontrovertible rights to access public opinion or try to persuade government to accomplish their moral convictions.  In a democracy, we have political means to our own ends and those are right to use. They may be wrong; they may be bigoted; they may be misinformed, but this is not the same as other examples of #OneWayReligiousTolerance. 

Maybe I should define that hashtag.

#OneWayReligiousTolerance describes the attempt by those who follow Islam to demand non-Muslims to allow (aspects of) sharia law in a free society, but not to allow other religions and cultures to influence them. It is related to the idea of intolerance, but is more specific. If you will, the door only opens in one direction. This is both my definition and my hashtag creation.

Read more here Canberra

In another story out of the UK, tolerance, the new religion of the 21st Century, has reared its uncompromising and ignorant head in a case involving both Jewish and Christian private schools. Seems that A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies. Even attending a mosque is not enough to warrant such downgrading.

A Jewish school was warned it had to have conversation about sexuality, especially lesbianism, and learning about babies and biology to maintain its ranking.

So Owen's question remains. Is all intolerance #OWRT?  Not at all. Whatever tolerance really is, it's currently leaning toward madness, especially in the UK. Another recent article from there highlights this madness. Anyone who criticizes gay marriage is legally equated with hate-mongers and true terrorists like ISIS. Does that smack of idiocy? Or something as 'tolerant' as 'via media' being the only way.

So when a Christian few try to stop a mosque in Canberra from finishing construction or a legal expert tries to shut down gay marriage critics, it's not #OneWayReligiousTolerance; it's simply tolerance or intolerance gone awry. The Christians in Canberra are not saying Muslims should not exist. They are not threatening deportation. They are not burning other previously built mosques. On the other hand, if a country like Saudi Arabia will allow people to own Christian Bibles, or Iraq will stop destroying churches, then I will stop citing them with #OneWayReligiousTolerance. Until then, they are the classic examples of such.