By Charles Krauthammer:
Accordingly, it would be a mockery of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment if, for example, the Catholic Church were required by law to freely provide such “health care services” (in secularist parlance) as contraception, sterilization and pharmacological abortion — to which Catholicism is doctrinally opposed as a grave contravention of its teachings about the sanctity of life.
Ah. But there would be no such Free Exercise violation if the institutions so mandated are deemed, by regulatory fiat, not religious.
And thus, the word came forth from Sebelius decreeing the exact criteria required (a) to meet her definition of “religious” and thus (b) to qualify for a modicum of independence from newly enacted state control of American health care, under which the aforementioned Sebelius and her phalanx of experts determine everything — from who is to be covered, to which treatments are to be guaranteed free of charge.
by The Right Scoop:
I love this guy. He’s Tennessee Rep. Eric Watson arguing in favor of evicting Occupy Nashville and making the case that the Occupy protesters are doing anything but peacefully protesting.
The best part of the clip below is when the Watson cites that an Occupy Nashville protester peed on one of the city/state employees:
by Simon Plosker:
Israelis are often, and sometimes with justification, criticized for their inability to get their message across in the media and to the world at large.
But what about Israel’s neighbours in the Middle East?
The leaking of hundreds of emails from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s office by the ”Anonymous” hacking group revealed, amongst other items, a document preparing Assad for his December 2011 interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.
This crib sheet of talking points shows that the Syrian regime fully understands how the Western media can be manipulated by pressing all the right buttons. Of course, no amount of PR is likely to mitigate the effect of events on the ground being brought to us through YouTube videos recorded by civilians in Homs or by Western journalists operating beyond the reach of their Syrian government minders.
Nonetheless, someone in the Syrian government has picked up some useful tips for crisis communication and public relations, including how to manipulate the American and, by implication, the broader Western psyche:
by The Right Scoop:
Cardinal-Designate Timothy Dolan got a crash course “Obama is a liar 101″. Now before you just dismiss this as “you mean he’s just now realizing that Obama is a liar???”, consider how potentially devastating this is for Obama’s credibility considering who is now saying this. Who is going to suggest Dolan is simply being politically expedient? And while he’s very polite, Dolan doesn’t mince words that’s very disappointed that Obama would back down after giving his word on several occasions that his administration wouldn’t infringe on the religious liberty of the Catholic church:
by Manda Zand Ervin:
The film The Third Jihad has become another excuse for the mainstream media, especially the New York Times, to show yet again just what Cultural Imperialists they can be. Once more, these self-proclaimed moral authorities have taken it upon themselves to stand with the Muslim “victims” against the so-called “bullies,” unwittingly inverting who are the victims and who are the bullies –and as if we cannot fend for ourselves and need the protection of their Cultural Imperialist Censorship.
American Muslims are largely made up of immigrants from 57 different Muslim-majority countries –- every one of which discriminates against all other religions, and whose leaders and clergy call for all non-Muslims, the “infidels,” to be killed, as prescribed by Sharia law. In recent months we have witnessed the ever-increasing attacks on, and persecution of, Christians in Muslim countries.
In these very Muslim-majority countries, even Muslims of different sects are discriminated against and abused. In Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, Shia Muslims are treated as second-class citizens (or Dhimmis) and kept separate from the Sunni majority; and Christians, hired to work, are kept inside the walled communities.
Historian Niall Ferguson writes in Newsweek that “Israel and Iran are on the eve of destruction in a new Six Day War.” Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal warns that if Israel will not destroy Tehran the Jewish State will risk another Yom Kippur scenario.
The Israel-Iran countdown has already begun, but will Washington help the tiny Jewish State? Will Israel strike Iran even without America’s “green light?”
By Conrad Black:
Perhaps the gravest under-publicized atrocity in the world is the persecution of Christians. A comprehensive Pew Forum study last year found that Christians are persecuted in 131 countries containing 70 percent of the world’s population, out of 197 countries in the world (if Palestine, Taiwan, South Sudan, and the Vatican are included). Best estimates are that about 200 million Christians are in communities where they are persecuted. There is not the slightest question of the scale and barbarity of this persecution, and a little of it is adequately publicized. But this highlights the second half of the atrocity: the passivity and blasé indifference of most of the West’s media and governments.
It is not generally appreciated that over 100,000 Christians a year are murdered because of their faith. Because Christianity is, by a wide margin, the world’s largest religion, the leading religion in the traditionally most advanced areas of the world, and, despite its many fissures, the best organized, largely because of the relatively tight and authoritarian structure of the Roman Catholic Church, the West is not accustomed to thinking of Christians as a minority, much less a persecuted one.
by Daniel Greenfield:
The classical definition of the Yiddish word Chutzpah is a man on trial for killing his parents who asks for leniency because he is an orphan. Next to that definition is a picture of Omar Barghouti, a Qatari-born Muslim who moved to Israel and enrolled in Tel Aviv University to obtain a Masters Degree in Philosophy while conducting an academic boycott campaign against Israel.
Omar Barghouti is promoting a boycott of a service that he makes use of as a platform, and explains the contradiction between calling for a boycott of Israeli universities while studying at an Israeli university by saying that his studies are a “personal matter.” This is a privilege only enjoyed by Omar the Boycott Maker, while ordinary Jewish and Arab students and faculty have their personal academic studies politicized by him and his leftist cronies.
Two years ago when his alma mater was going to hold a series of lectures at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Barghouti’s Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounced Tel Aviv University for the “oppressive and criminal activities fostered, facilitated and celebrated by that institution” that PCABI alleged were taking place there. Presumably Barghouti didn’t mean his own activities, which certainly met that standard and were facilitated by Tel Aviv University.
It’s not as if this Qatari and Egyptian immigrant didn’t have any other options. Qatar and Egypt have their own universities. So does the United States. Barghouti knows that quite well since he also has a degree from Columbia. Instead Barghouti moved to Israel and set up shop denouncing a country that he wasn’t born in and did not grow up in and can leave any time he wants to.
by Yedidya Atlas:
Speaking at the UN Security Council last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared, “It is time for the international community to put aside our own differences and send a clear message of support to the people of Syria.” And the day after the Security Council vote with Russia and China vetoing the resolution to adopt the Arab League plan, a frustrated Mrs. Clinton repeated her call to “support the Syrian people’s right to have a better future.”
The problem of Mrs. Clinton and others who express such concern for the ongoing internecine violence in Syria is that they constantly issue pronouncements about the “Syrian people” as if it was a homogeneous national grouping. Her ignorance was further demonstrated when speaking to reporters during a visit Sunday in Bulgaria. She said:
The Persecution & Prayer Alert
The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada
Thursday, February 9, 2012
“In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved
– Romans 8:37 (NASB)
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In this week’s edition: reports from Sudan, China, Algeria, Egypt and
1. Bible college bombed in Sudan
(Source: Samaritan’s Purse)
A Bible school supported by Samaritan’s Purse was destroyed on
February 1 in the latest bombing raid to hit South Kordofan, a
Sudanese province that borders the newly created independent country
of South Sudan (for more on South Sudan, go to
). Eight bombs were dropped in the area of Heiban Bible College during
the school’s first day of classes. According to eyewitness accounts,
the bombing required a sustained effort with at least four flyover
Fortunately, no injuries were reported. “We have been working for
years in Sudan,” Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham said
after the attack. “Today our Bible school in Heiban in the Nuba
Mountains was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force. No one was killed or
hurt, but buildings were destroyed. Please pray for the safety of
believers, and that God would intervene.” Since early August, at least
four churches built by Samaritan’s Purse have been destroyed by
bombing or burning.
Thank the Lord no one was injured or killed. Pray the Lord will
strengthen the faith of the students and other believers after this
attack and ask Him to provide for them. Pray the Holy Spirit will
bring new life and faith to the people around the Nuba Mountains. Pray
for those behind these attacks.
For more information on persecution in Sudan, go to
. To post a prayer of solidarity with suffering believers in Sudan,
visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at
2. Government persecution of Christians in China worsened in 2011
(Source: ChinaAid Assocation)
Government persecution of Christians and churches in China worsened
significantly in 2011. From 2010 to 2011, the total number of people
persecuted, detained, sentenced, or abused jumped 42.5 per cent.
Compared with the statistics in past ChinaAid annual reports, the
trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past six years,
with an average annual increase of 33.1 per cent.
Two major cases are representative of the 2011 practise of targeting
influential house churches for persecution: the large-scale
suppression of Beijing Shouwang Church for 38 continuous weeks (for
more, visit http://www.persecution.net/cn-2012-01-19.htm
), and the continued strict surveillance and suppression of the Linfen
church in Shanxi province since it was banned in 2009 (go to
to learn more).
ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu said, “House churches in China
which are committed to the sole headship of Christ in the church and
to evangelism must operate as illegal groups conducting so-called
‘illegal religious activities,’ and consequently must be ready to
suffer the administrative penalties inflicted by the state.”
Thank the Lord for the extraordinary faithfulness of Christians in
China who continue to serve the Lord though they face intimidation,
threats and arrest. Pray they will exemplify the love of God through
consistent love and prayer for those who persecute them (Matthew
5:43-48). Ask the Lord to continue to grow His church in China.
To learn more about China’s suffering Church, visit
3. Church ransacked in eastern Algeria
(Source: International Christian Concern)
The Protestant Church of Ouargla in eastern Algeria was vandalized by
an unknown number of armed men on the evening of February 1. After the
assailants broke through the gate, they ransacked the church building.
“We heard noises on the terrace, but we could not get out because the
threat was real. They could kill us,” said Pastor Mourad, who was
inside the building with his wife and children.
The Church of Ouargla is the only church in the region and has been
recognized by the government since its establishment in 1958. Pastor
Mourad has been repeatedly threatened and attacked since being
ordained as pastor in 2007. In the summer of 2009, his wife was beaten
and seriously injured by a group of unknown men. Then, in late 2011,
rubbish was thrown over the compound walls while an angry mob shouted
death threats at Pastor Mourad.
Pray the Lord will protect Pastor Mourad, his family and church
members. Pray the believers will take heart and place their hope in
Him. Ask the Lord to grow the Church in Algeria, in number and in
Go to http://www.persecution.net/algeria.htm
for more on the trials believers face in Algeria.
4. Christian teenager abducted in Egypt
(Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission)
Amira Gamal Saber, a 16-year-old Egyptian Christian, was abducted in
early December 2011 from Saft-el-Khamar village, Minya Province. The
head of security in Minya confirmed her kidnapping but failed to act.
A few weeks later, a man phoned Amira’s family demanding a ransom. The
family travelled to Giza with the ransom money, but once they arrived
they were directed to the police station and informed that government
prosecutors were handling the case. In court, a prosecutor backed by
12 lawyers told Amira’s parents that their daughter wanted to convert
to Islam. He ruled therefore, that Amira be sent to a state-run care
facility in Giza until she turns 18 and may legally profess Islam for
herself. Her father is appealing to the Attorney General.
Please pray the Lord will intervene in Amira’s situation. Ask Him to
give her and her family the strength to endure this current hardship.
Pray for all believers in Egypt; may they keep their eyes on Jesus,
persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart (Hebrews
To learn more about the suffering of believers in Egypt, go to
5. Update: Attack sparks revival in Nigeria
(Source: The Voice of the Martyrs)
Increasing violence in Nigeria has only strengthened local Christians’
faith, even sparking a revival at the Deeper Life Bible Church in
Gombe, where nine Christians were martyred in a January 5 attack (for
more information, go to http://www.persecution.net/ng-2012-01-12.htm
During a funeral service on January 19 for those killed, many
believers rededicated their lives to Christ, and others came to faith
in Christ for the first time. Weeping and singing while on their
knees, a choir led about 500 attendees and 50 pastors in worship. The
martyrs’ relatives and other dignitaries — including the deputy
governor speaking on behalf of the state’s governor — spoke about
each murdered Christian. The four-hour service then moved on to
intercessory prayer for the Church in Nigeria, the nation at large,
Muslims in Nigeria, and the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram.
“The leader of the prayers based most of the prayers from the book of
Isaiah 61:1â€“4, among other scriptures, which strengthen and
encourage the Church. He encouraged the Church to be more prayerful
than complaining,” said a VOM worker. “He said the Lord knows how to
fight His own battle in His own way, and we should not revenge
Pray that the Lord will continue to comfort and provide for those
mourning. Pray that He will sustain the faith of believers in Nigeria
during these difficult trials. Pray that Christians in Nigeria will
receive a crown of beauty, the oil of joy and the garment of praise
from the Lord (Isaiah 61:3).
To learn more about persecution in Nigeria, go to
The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the
Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville,
Ontario, L5M 2C1)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: http://www.persecution.net
The only positive effect of our expanding trade and investment relationship with China is that controlling the oil spigot may be the one way in which we can hope to exert pressure on Beijing in the future. Moralistic talk from Ottawa is one thing, but being able to make Chinese pumps go dry is something else all together.
Can you imagine a Canadian political leader having the cojones to actually do that?
By James V. Schall, S. J.:
Repeatedly reading Greek and Roman thought makes certain figures more clear. Who is the philosopher? Who is the statesman? The tyrant is always among the most important to understand. In one way or another, he appears in most Platonic dialogues. Aristotle describes him, as do Thucydides and Xenophon.
What initially surprises people reading of the tyrant is that he is not an ugly, deformed brute. Callicles is not repulsive, but sophisticated, a college man. Alcibiades is among the most charming of young Greeks. The tyrant is in fact quite clever, witty, usually handsome and affable, always eloquent.
What else strikes us as odd is that the tyrant almost invariably arises out of a democracy. Democracy breeds tyrants. We are loath to hear it. But we are also reluctant to examine the guiding spirit of the actual regimes we designate as “democratic.”
A democracy is a regime in which “freedom” rules. Here “freedom” is defined, not as allowing us to follow what is virtuous, but the relativist permission to do whatever we will. The democratic regime makes no judgment about right or wrong. As a result, right and wrong are defined by the polity, from which no appeal is permitted. Nothing is higher than civic will.
A regime in which anyone can do whatever he wills has no standards. It soon swerves about aimlessly like the ship in Plato’s Republic VI. The young tyrant sees that no one stands for anything. He conceives himself as the savior to order this social chaos. His own empty soul is motivated by fame as much as by power. He wants everyone to think and say that he “does good,” whatever he does.
by The Right Scoop:
This is ridiculous. The Air Force has removed the Latin word for God (DEI) from one of its patches simply because an atheist organization complained. They claim they are legally bound to do so, but lawmakers incensed over the removal are fighting back, trying to get the Air Force to rescind it’s decision.
Here’s a photo of the change: