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The Prospect of 2013

December 29, 2012 1 comment

The Year 2013: Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

Following the Christmas holidays, its natural for people to get sentimental, reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming year.  The media always has their “wrap-up” citing the headlines that most impacted the nation and the world.  There are wishes for a “Happy New Year,” promises, conjectured in the form of “New Year’s resolutions” (lose weight, spend more time with family, etc.).So, as I sit here and ponder the events of 2012, I must admit, my outlook is….bittersweet.  By nature, I consider myself neither an optimist, nor a pessimist.  A realist.  I know, I know, most people like to overuse that label for themselves, but truly, when asked if I see a cup half full or half empty, I will always respond, “BOTH!”Perhaps, it’s not my outlook, so much as my bull-headed determination.

I’ll stick with the previous assertion, thanks.  (Its my blog. Well, for now.)

This year has obviously been interesting with the election.  For my part, I was absolutely unclear about who was going to win, though, I certainly thought I saw tremendous support for Mitt.  However, in light of the direction the world was turning, reading the tea leaves also gave strong indications that Obama would pull through, in spite of no record, nothing what-so-ever to recommend him, and a continuing treasonous scandal.  I advocated for Romney, as much as I could, grew tense, like the rest of the country, fervently prayed, and waited.  Like many of you, that night, though I wasn’t shocked, but I was shocked.  I had been on my face, begging for God’s mercy on this country.  However, I also prayed for His will to be done.  The Lord spoke, the fate of America was solidified.

I went, immediately, to a somber state of acceptance.

Like most of you, the prospect of 2013 is dismal, in light of the political arena.  I have lost all faith in politicians, even in those I thought were truly fighting for truth and justice.  Time and time again, we have seen them bow to the will of those who grow in worldly power.

NATIONALISM VS. PATRIOTISM

I have recognized, through this process, that there is a clear distinction in “nationalism vs. patriotism.”  Nationalism retains that sense of arrogance, even in the face of God that we are better, bigger, and stronger.  That nothing will stop or hold us down.  Contrarily, patriotism is vastly different.  The patriot humbly clings to the principles that make one’s country great.  He recognizes the blessings, even undeservedly, that have been bestowed upon his nation, contingent upon obedience to the Lord and the principles for foundation.  A patriot doesn’t put faith in any man, but looks to the Lord for his sense of national direction.  He bows his knee to the Great I AM, accepting His plans, knowing that the protection of the nation is directly hinged upon what is done with the blessings and how well we uphold Biblical precepts.

As I stated before, I am an eternal realist.  My worldly outlook for the nation ,as far as the state of this planet, is grave.  Evil has been unleashed.  All too common these days, we hear of rampages of brutal murder.  People immediately want an answer,

“WHY?” 

What could possibly be the reason for such senseless violence? Now we see a spectrum of blame, polarities that want to crackdown on this heinous barbarianism.  On one side, governmental leaders are grasping, white-knuckled, to the claim that the problem is GUNS.  “We MUST eliminate firearms!” Another argument from the other side is that “We MUST revisit mental illness!”

As you might expect, I do not subscribe to either.

The problem is that all sense of morality, more specific, humility before the Almighty, has been cast out.  Society, as a whole, has spit in God’s face and pushed out any shade of godliness.  People have been hypnotized by the Dark Angel, masquerading in light.  They don’t believe in evil, unless it suits their purposes.  They don’t believe in the antithesis of evil, that being salvation only through Christ’s blood.  Instead they exchange one lie for another, until all sense of rationality and reason is subjective and without basis.

So you see, we could talk about the continued, growing scandals that have growing tentacles over the White House.  We could talk about the wildfire of Radical Islamization.  We could talk about the fiscal cliff that looms, in mere hours.  We could talk about genocidal dictators racing toward mass-extermination.

But, the crux of the matter is not as complex as it seems.  People are hung up on the thousands of symptoms of a simple, albeit, eternal crisis.The world has cocooned itself in a cozy bed of Godlessness.  They have set up their own altars, whereby they sit on their own throne.  Rather than serving the God of the universe, humans, regardless of culture, ethnicity or nation (a true testament to color blindness), embrace and worship the god “within.”

This cannot last.

Just as God is grace, He is the perfect balance of Justice and Judge, as well.  He does not force His will on man, yet retains the control in decision-making.  He can allow us to make the ridiculous choices that will cause self-destruction, both individually, corporately, as a society, and internationally.

Though He allows us our own way, don’t think for a second that He isn’t angered by it.  We cannot be so pompously deluded to think that we were created by a limp-wristed pushover.

He is YAHWEH!

THE GLASS IS HALF-EMPTY, BUT IT IS ALSO HALF-FULL.

In God’s never-ending kindness, the removal of protection can serve as a wake-up call.  When we are stripped of comforts, whether in leadership, or in security, we have the opportunity to turn to the only lasting truth in YESHUA, Jesus Christ.

For the few of us, who are truly watching, wide-eyed at the plans unfolding around the world, faith is strengthened.  I’ve heard it said, “The national and international headlines are now catching up to the Bible.”  The cards are on the table.  We are coming to that fork in the road, whereby we can choose to move toward God, or turn our backs on God.  Sadly, the Bible tells me that many will fall away from the faith. (Matthew 7:14, 2Timothy 4) Further, Christ tells us, “15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Rev.3:15-17)

My hope is in the Lord.  I do not know the specifics of what 2013 will bring, but I trust that He is JEHOVAH.  I take great hope in His mighty power.  (Ephesians 6:10-18) My outlook for this world, in the direction it is hurtling toward, is bleak.  People have chosen the path of Baal.  The Lord is rousing from His Holy Hill and He will come with absolute Authority and Justice.

Though, I am desperate to see His glory and His might, at the same time, I tremble at the prospect of an angry, JUST God.  I fear living in a land that has chosen to shove the Lord’s hand of protection away for the false notion of self-preservation and governmental rule.

If this nation refuses to humble herself in fear of the Lord, it is doomed to destruction. 

Nationalism is idolatry.  It is an ideology that dominates both parties, both sides of the aisle. 

With all of this bleakness, comes great hope, when one seeks and clings to the ONLY hope we have!  We have access to TRUE LIBERTY!  We can be unfettered and freed from bondage in the hope that comes from faith in the Lord, through YESHUA.  When we recognize that He IS the source of life; we are liberated, REGARDLESS of worldly powers.

These days, I treasure God’s Word.  I recognize the NECESSITY OF IT.  It is easy to get enthralled and overly distracted with the events unfolding.  Though Christ commanded us to, “WATCH!” (Matt.24:4, 42 read all of chapter 24) I must keep my FOCUS upon HIM.  We must SATURATE ourselves in the WORD.  I am constantly amazed and deeply grateful for the Bible.  Without it, faith and hope would be very burdensome.  But again, God in His grace and mercy, gave us the Cliff Notes version.

In summary: I know how the story ends;

He wins.

——————————————————————

SCRIPTURE TO MEDITATE ON:

1 Samuel 12:24-25

24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. 25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”

Letter to the President and Secretary of State Concering the Iranian Threat

Mr. President,

I would like you to reconsider your stance, or lack thereof, on Iran.  It is crystal clear to the American people and people worldwide that the Iranian regime has no concern for sanctions, diplomacy or talks.  Time has been spent and is now of the essence.  You have an obligation, not only to our greatest ally, Israel, but to your OWN constituents (!) to protect us from the genocide that the leaders of Iran have voiced without hesitation over and over.  Their message has NOT changed.  I beg you, Mr. President, to take ACTION NOW.  If we saw evidence of a change in rhetoric, attitude, or mindset negotiations could continue.  I KNOW, sir, that you do not want innocent blood on your hands with apathy and a lack of direction and firm standing against this regime.  Please do not forget that Hitler for years, made his intent clear to the public and we sat idylly by while millions of innocent lives were exterminated.  Your people NEED you to clearly state, under no uncertain terms that time is up and we will use ALL measures, including military action to stop the Iranian Regime from building nuclear weapons.  You have a duty to the American people and the leader of the free world, to prevent the suffering of millions of people.  Please, the time is now and CANNOT wait!!!!  Israel does NOT want a war!  The Iranian civilians do NOT want a war.  We MUST take out their nuclear capabilities before the Iranian regime uses WMD’s on Israel, America, his OWN people, or other allies in the region. Further, I know you understand that not only Israelis and Americans are in direct threat, but Palestinians and Arabs who LIVE in Israel! Please do not take the defensive measure.  We can’t afford, literally, a disaster of epic porportions to take place!!  We must lead and take offensive measures since they will not back down.  The longer you wait – the closer we are – the more lives that will be lost.

See also: http://m.yahoo.com/w/legobpengine/news/israel-disappear-iran-says-ahead-rallies-113208830.html?orig_host_hdr=news.yahoo.com&.intl=US&.lang=en-US

Chrislam: A Blending of Religions, A Loss of Faith

Chrislam: A Blending of Religion, A Loss of Faith

You may remember Rick Warren.  He is the author of Purpose Driven….stuff.  He has a slew of Purpose Driven materials that hit churches and homes full force in the early part of the decade.  It seemed every church on every corner was offering small groups that focused on this premise.  I admit.  I was cautious.  Any time one man’s work gets a vast number of groupies, I’m usually skeptical.

As a person of faith, a follower of Christ, it is vital that I maintain the proper perspective of man and God.  Man is given to failure, pride, and manipulation.  God is perfect.  Throughout history, especially in the church, people’s hopes in men are dashed to pieces, based upon the fact that they thought their “hero” could do no wrong.  They forget that man is easily deceived.  They forget the humanity of humanity.  Thus, placing such high hopes on the ideals of a man is a dangerous business.  When people come face-to-face with the harsh reality that their “idol” isn’t Superman, but wrought with frailties, given to the temptations of this world, they often give up hope.  Hope in people. Hope in institutions.  Hope and faith, altogether. Gone.  At the same time, people who are so strongly led by men, who forsake thinking on their own accord, who don’t take time to look into “facts”, and research what they have been taught are often seriously misled.  There are many great thinkers, writers, and philanthropists, but ultimately, it is necessary to come back to a source of truth and check in.  Men are easily swayed, manipulated, and deceived.

I come, now, to Mr. Warren.

Pastor of a mega church in California, New York Times bestselling author, philanthropist, Rick Warren has obtained tremendous influence and power in the last 15 years.  His most recent endeavor has been the bridging between world faiths.  While many would see this as a laudable, even admirable, action, many are now deeply concerned.  The last few years, in particular, Mr. Warren has been called upon to serve on world faith councils.  He is consulted upon in unifying and bringing “peace” among the great religions.  Actually, his main focus has been Christianity and Islam.  Though men and women around the world have a heart to find like-mindedness in issues of morality and respect, Mr. Warren has sought to take relations among the faiths to a whole new level.  Last year, he brought the Qu’ran to be placed side by side the holy book for Christians, the Bible, in the auditorium during what were typically Christian services.  Most recently, he was a primary participant to “A Common Word Between Us and You”, the “Christian response” to a letter written by King Abdullah of Jordan and over 100 Muslim clerics.  In this document, those who proclaim Christianity have proclaimed that the God of Islam and the God of Christianity are one in the same. Here is an excerpt:

The Task Before Us
“Let this common ground” – the dual common ground of love of God and of neighbor – “be the basis of all future interfaith dialogue between us,” your courageous letter urges. Indeed, in the generosity with which the letter is written you embody what you call for. We most heartily agree. Abandoning all “hatred and strife,” we must engage in interfaith dialogue as those who seek each other’s good, for the one God unceasingly seeks our good. Indeed, together with you we believe that we need to move beyond “a polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders” and work diligently together to reshape relations between our communities and our nations so that they genuinely reflect our common love for God and for one another.  Given the deep fissures in the relations between Christians and Muslims today, the task before us is daunting. And the stakes are great. The future of the world depends on our ability as Christians and Muslims to live together in peace. If we fail to make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony you correctly remind us that “our eternal souls” are at stake as well.  We are persuaded that our next step should be for our leaders at every level to meet together and begin the earnest work of determining how God would have us fulfill the requirement that we love God and one another. It is with humility and hope that we receive your generous letter, and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose.

There is one (among many) problem with this:  Muslims do not believe in the Trinity. The Qu’ran forbids the belief.  Why is that a problem?  Because Christianity proclaims that Jesus Christ is God, the son.  (Hence, the name of the faith/religion?  Christianity?)  Muslims do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Savior.  They believe he was a prophet, a good guy. But, for Christians, the Bible, from cover to cover is about the Messiah.  The focus of the book is not about a good guy, but about the Savior for all of mankind.

(Kind of a big deal to us Christians.  The true followers of Jesus Christ, that is.)

The two faiths are incompatible. It is impossible to believe that Allah is the same is the Judeo-Christian God, when their book and our book define two different Gods.

One is a big ‘G’ God, the other is a little ‘g’ god.  And both sides claim to serve THE God. 

You may ask why this is really such a big deal.  Many of you have genuine concern and a heart for the Muslim community.  Let me be clear that I believe that there should be mutual respect and kindness toward all people, people of other faiths, people who have different lifestyles, and those who do not believe as I do.

HOWEVER, as a follower of Christ, our hope is to reach out in love, as only modeled in the mind and spirit of Jesus. Yet, Jesus never compromised who He was!  He never forsook his purpose and always maintained truth and honesty.  He was gracious, kindhearted, and stood upon truth. 

Without the full grace of the Holy Spirit, we WILL most certainly forsake a merciful attitude and come across in an unloving, un-Christlike manner. So our ONLY hope is full reliance on and constant prayer in the Lord.

It is easy to want to see good intent of these men and women, both the Muslim, and those who define themselves as Christians, in “reaching out” to each other.  But, I also see a power play with people who are very influential as primary proponents.  A person can be loving, kind, and respectful, and still maintain their integrity, belief system, and commitment to truth.  I DO believe that there are some who are genuinely ignorant of what they have signed onto.  It is possible that they did not fully read or understand, pick up on all of the seemingly small, albeit powerful statements with wild implications laced throughout.

The following video clip explains the inconsistencies of Islam and Christianity and the complications that Rick Warren, Robert Shuler, Bill Hybels, and others have created.  Essentially, they have renounced Christianity, as the Bible sets forth, for a new faith.

 

Essentially, as this video so effectively states, this document renounces any higher allegiance to Christ and places common ground – “A Common Word” (which as the creator of the video points out is a direct reference from the Qu’ran). If we don’t have Jesus, we have nothing. Jesus and his sacrifice are what make our faith transcendent and unique from all others.

Without this essential person, being Jesus Christ, the namesake of our “religion”, Christianity, one could argue that Allah were the same as the God we serve!

Alas, our Book, our entire reason for being is woven in the person hood of God the father, Christ, his son, and the Spirit that gives us power. This key element – the Trinity, is blasphemy to Muslims. This is what the Common Word has renounced.

Having said all of that, our task, as unwavering, uncompromising believers is enormous. The Bible foretells of the climax of this battle in the last days, when apostasy will be rampant and the muddling and mixing of faiths will occur.

It is absolutely essential, (I am talking to myself and praying to Christ, as I type) that I remain in Him – HIS word, HIS truth, begging and asking for the mind of Christ moment by moment, and throwing off anything that entangles, so that I can recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing and then know how to properly respond. I can ONLY know that if I am in Him and He abides in me.

Further, I completely agree that there could be dialogue between the faiths. I started to say “should”, but changed it.  If there is not a mutual respect, as there is NOT many times from the Muslim community, particularly internationally, (relations within America are different, largely) then, communication is not possible.

A response from the Christian community would be appropriate and even a gesture of good will.  But I believe that we would have to respectfully, yet clearly disagree. We can agree on issues of morality, ethical and cultural values, but this in no way demands commonality in pledging the same God and matters of faith.

This letter is not kindness and peace, but weakness, a lack of principle, a lack of biblical knowledge, and a wavering spirit.

Finally, we must pray for Rick Warren and the men who have unified themselves with these precepts, along with the Muslim community. It is undeniable that many of these men and women have tremendous influence and that is a VERY scary prospect. Those who are not careful, guarded in Christ, and saturated in Scripture will be easily swayed. Again, while I believe that there may have been some well-meaning, albeit, ignorant people who signed this document, there are absolutely people who have an agenda.

Revisiting “The Fight for Egypt – The Muslim Brotherhood Unveiled”

February 7, 2011 1 comment

The Crisis for Egypt that will Affect the World.

Over a year ago, I wrote a piece about the Muslim Brotherhood.  At the time, Egypt was in flux, resisting the leadership of Hosni Mubarak.  Media and leaders around the world praised the “Arab Spring.”  Even recently, with the democratically elected Morsi, our own President has called to congratulate his election and just days ago announced the formal invitation to visit the United States and hobnob with the Obama administration.  However, dissent is still in the ranks.Literally.

While Morsi assured the military forces that he would not, he has reconvened the parliament, mainly Islamists who have been questioned about thier legitimate electoral status.  Morsi, just weeks into his power, has blown through this promise.  Coptic Christians are fearful.  The military is on the verge of a coup.  In early 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood assured that they were not looking for their own place in politics, they only wanted to support Egypt’s right to democracy.  We now see their political prescence in Libya, Tanzania, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern nations teetering on regime changes.

It is clear what they desire is a revived Islamist calliphate. 

While they speak a desire for cooperative government with diversity, they spew hatred for Israel.

This election is so fresh and the Muslim Brotherhood is just entering the platform on the international stage.

And now, we dance.

The Fight for Egypt – The Muslim Brotherhood Unveiled.  (Original publication date: February 2011)

Most of us watching the media coverage in Egypt regarding the political crisis have come to understand the key players involved.  Obviously the central character is that of Hosni Mubarak, the President of Egypt.  Then there are the protestors.  There are the “pro-Mubarak or pro-government” protestors and the “anti-government protestors.”  And then there is the “Muslim Brotherhood,” residing in the mix of the mayhem.  Without any further investigation, at the onset, one is initially led to believe that this Muslim Brotherhood is merely the opponent of Mubarak.

Since coming to power in 1981, Mubarak has staunchly rejected and attempted to ban the Muslim Brotherhood from obtaining any power or influence within Egyptian culture.  However, now 30 years later and with the rapid decline of law, the Muslim Brotherhood, or MB, is making a strong and explicit presence in Egypt.  Though there were several days of violent protest, the MB claims that they renounce any form of violence, blaming all of the violence on the government and their “pro-Mubarak” protestors. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood insist that they have adopted a peaceful stance for over sixty years.

So, then, who is the Muslim Brotherhood?  What do they stand for?

Historical compunctions to the Muslim Brotherhood can be negative in looking to another Islamist organization, one in which we are all familiar with.  Hamas.  Incidentally, one might find the fact that Hamas is an official American terrorist organization with the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood is not, concerning.  Upon further investigation into how Hamas got started we find some dark spots on the MB’s claim at innocence.

Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, a religious and political organization founded in Egypt with branches throughout the Arab world….In 1973, Yassin established al-Mujamma’ al-Islami (the Islamic Center) to coordinate the Muslim Brotherhood’s political activities in Gaza. Yassin founded Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood’s local political arm in December 1987, following the eruption of the first intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas published its official charter in 1988, moving decidedly away from the Muslim Brotherhood’s ethos of nonviolence.

Non-violence? Are we sure about that?

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abdullah Azzan are two important names to consider.  The first name is likely familiar.  KSM is known as the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.  The second, Abdullah Azzan, was the mentor for Osama bin Laden, the point man behind 9/11 and the most wanted man in the world.

Both were members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

(Exhibit A)

 Naturally, we can count on the Obama administration for a full display of their “speak first, think later (or never)” policy.  Mere days into the political decline in Egypt, the administration was giving their critique of Mubarak and support to the MB.  A wide range of media outlets were posting the raving (no pun intended) reviews of Obama behind the Egyptian protestors, subtly condemning the government and welcoming the MB as potential captors for the political crown.  NPR reported that while the U.S. has had limited contact with the MB,

“’The White House isn’t overly concerned with the Brotherhood being part of a more open and participatory politics in Egypt…There’s not a deep fear that if there’s any Brotherhood participation that that spells the end of U.S. interests in Egypt. In fact, there is a sense that U.S. interests in Egypt dictate that Islamists should be participating in more vibrant politics along with everybody else.’” 

Further, the article asserted that,

 “The Obama administration understands that a lot of people in Egypt think religion should have some role in public life, whether they belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or not — and that the U.S. shouldn’t turn its back on the group just because it’s Islamist.” (emphasis added)

(Based on that gripping and oh-so-comforting thought, an elaboration on certain terms, free of charge, will be provided to assist in our understanding of the insanity that lies within.  The first in our lesson today, courtesy of Dictionary.com, will be “islamist.”)

Islamist  (ˈɪzləmɪst) 

 — adj

1.  supporting or advocating Islamic fundamentalism

— n

2.  a supporter or advocate of Islamic fundamentalism

Let us continue. 

The article went on to highlight the striking similarity of these events and that of the 1979 Iranian revolution, which landed us where we currently reside with Iran.  (That, being a maniacal, genocidal, psychopath at the helm in pursuit of nuclear weapons.)  Isn’t there some wild notion going around that we should learn from history?  I guess this particular event isn’t ringing any bells. In the same article, Samer Shehata, an assistant professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University, conveys his fear that “too many people will draw parallels with that time.”

I didn’t know that it was a bad thing to be mindful of heinous events that begin to play out in similar fashion, Mr. Shehata.

 “’There are many people in Congress, and in the general public, of course, that when they hear Islamist politics or the Muslim Brotherhood and so on, there’s no understanding. They immediately think of al-Qaida or Hamas or Hezbollah even. And this is a fundamentally different type of organization,’ Shehata says.”

Right.

 “Leslie Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, says no one knows for sure if that will change once the ban on the Islamist group is lifted. The Muslim Brotherhood says it supports democracy and free speech, but it is also anti-Israel and opposes the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement.” (emphasis added)

Are you scratching your head, yet?  Don’t worry, I didn’t know that you could be pro-democracy, pro-free speech and genocidal either. Let’s call this “Exhibit A.”

Now let’s investigate some key historical documented evidence that might weigh against the MB’s new-found utopian movement, shall we?

In a piece, entitled, An Explanatory Memorandum On the General Strategic Goal for the Group In North America, detailed goals and instructions are given by the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.  As I sifted through and read the document, I came across two passages that were highly troubling.

 “4- Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:

The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.” – Goals of the Muslim Brotherhood, Page 21

Oops. I guess they forgot about the non-violent change of heart. Perhaps this was prior to their renunciation?  Not so.  The document is dated, May 22, 1991.  A mere twenty years agoNow, I’m no math whiz, but last I checked twenty was less than sixty.  

 I think it’s safe to say the claim of a “heart change” sixty years ago can officially be busted.  (Exhibit B)

Maybe the warm fuzzies came over the Muslim Brotherhood within the last few years?  At first glance their official website, Ikhwahnweb.com, you would think “peace and love” were key components to the MB.  A beautiful Egyptian little girl’s face adorns the heading with the word, “peace,” after all.  You can even click on their statements and see all of the condemnations of violence, repugnance of Al-Qaeda, and commitments to social justice and reform.  But even hidden within their Western-marketed, English website shades of their truest, darkest colors shine through the pretty words.  Go to the by-laws of the Muslim Brotherhood and deep within, you’ll find these statements,

G – The sincere support for a global cooperation in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Sharia, which would safeguard the personal rights, freedom of speech for  active and constructive participation towards building a new basis of human civilization as  is ensured by the overall teachings of Islam.

E –The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing an Islamic state.

A member of the Guidance office must acknowledge the country’s interests, constantly attend its meetings, preserve the confidentiality of its internal deliberations and commit to implementing the decisions even if it goes against what he believes. Has no right to criticize or challenge the decisions as long as they are issued  legally. He must completely  accomplish  tasks assigned to him. If the member breaches his duties, Member of the Guidance Office are entitled to reprimand, warn or suspend his membership for not more than a month or exempt him from office and he must be taken to the Shura Council at a meeting attended by the members in which he explains his arguments.

Whoa…does that sound like free speech to you?  How about democracy and non-violence?  I didn’t think so either…(Exhibit C)

And here is where our second word definition comes in. Wikipedia has this to say about “Sharia”:

Sharia can be divided into five main branches: ibadah (ritual worship), mu’amalat (transactions and contracts), adab (morals and manners), i’tiqadat (beliefs), ‘uqubat (punishments).

In most interpretations of Sharia, conversion by Muslims to other religions, is strictly forbidden and is termed apostasy. Muslim theology equates apostasy to treason, and in most interpretations of Sharia, the penalty for apostasy is death. During the time of Muhammad, treason and apostasy were considered one and the same; nowadays, many scholars differentiate between treason and apostasy, believing that the punishment for apostasy is not death, while the punishment for treason is death.

In an attempt at brevity, which I have sadly abused, time does not permit the specific, individual punishments for other issues, such as theft, adultery, and homosexuality, but, they range from maiming to death. Given Muslim Brotherhood’s goals for North America and their by-laws for members, one could deduce their intent to bring and enforce Shari’a law worldwide.

 Is this how you want your country governed? (Exhibit D)

So when Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman, makes comments that “Washington will try to work with any power brokers [in Egypt].” and “that a reformed government “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.” I’ll admit, I’m a little skeptical. When Gibbs said the U.S. government has had no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood because of questions over its commitment to the rule of law, democracy and nonviolence. But the group is not listed on U.S. terrorism lists, as the militant Hamas and Hezbollah organizations are.  I’m thinkin’ we may want to pause for a moment and REALLY think about that.

Perhaps we should even reconsider the last bit, Bobby.  Just sayin’.

 (Case closed)

Update: Headline – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood honors Osama bin Laden

References

http://www.cfr.org/israel/hamas/p8968#p2 retrieved February 6, 2011

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/islamist  retrieved February 6, 2011

http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=22687 retrieved February 6, 2011

http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/20.pdf  retrieved February 2, 2011

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-fg-us-egypt-20110201,0,2958266.story retrieved February 6, 2011

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/03/133455504/post-mubarak-muslim-brotherhood-could-play-role  retrieved February 6, 2011

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia_law retrieved February 6, 2011

A Genuine Offer or Desperate Measure?

2011 State of the Union Address

I sit stunned.  Nearly speechless, though many of you who read my op ed pieces know that doesn’t last long.  Watching the State of the Union address this evening, for the first time, I have been pleasantly surprised.  Our president spoke like a president tonight.  While I won’t go so far as to say that I agreed with everything he said, again he spoke as my president.  Right, I know that he is the president, whether I have always liked it or not.  However, I had a moment of pride in the president tonight. 

Ironically, pundits are coming out in droves to comment about this speech and the pervading, descriptive word is “flat.”  I find this interesting and I disagree.  It was the first speech where I could glean a sense of humility.  He recognized that there were things about the government (his administration) and policies that needed to change.  He gave a nod to the vast disagreement about healthcare.  He was optimistic, but realistic.  Whether his motives were impure or not, whether he recognizes that his party is in trouble, I don’t know.  I just felt this speech was different.  He appealed more directly to Americans, not red or blue.  And just because he didn’t yell or break-out the southern preacher dialect, that doesn’t mean the speech was flat. 

Now.  I hope and pray that there is follow through from this speech.  I won’t hold my breath.

There were several amusing moments, most notably, was the representative backdrop.  Our vice president seemed to randomly giggle and laugh.  Was he on something?  Wait.  We are talking about “Say it ain’t so” Joe Biden.  And then there was the newly posted Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who looked utterly bored.  The contrast was highly comical.  Further, the president threw in a couple of charming puns and lighthearted jabs at governmental disputes. 

And I believe it is the first speech in history to have featured the word, “salmon.”

That is funny stuff.

Unfortunately, there were moments that were funny which were absolutely unintentional.  For example, the adamant notation of “refusing any bill that has any loopholes or earmarks.” 

Whoa. 

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!  Déjà vu, oui oui?!

We heard that many times while campaigning, but sadly, the spending spree that this administration has wildly enjoyed has been liberally sprayed with earmarks and loopholes.  Lobbyists have gotten their platform and closed door sessions with the president.  Ironically Mr. Obama named a new mode of transparency on the internet where we can know exactly who is meeting with lobbyists, etc. Correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t he run on the whole “transparency/change” bit?

We are three years into this thing, yes?

I didn’t agree with everything the president stated.  I don’t accept justifying the past circus spending that has pervaded this government, but I finally felt a sense of uniting and American pride from this president.  While Mr. Obama didn’t overtly apologize and step all over what has been done, I sensed for the first time, a genuine attitude (perhaps, it’s “Oh crap!” mode, who knows) that acknowledged the will of the American people. 

Further, I didn’t know the worst of the recession was over.  Did you?  I’m astonished that the spending has actually created and/or saved jobs.  And lastly, the contradiction between comments about the success in Iraq and the current state of Afghanistan and Pakistan puzzles me.  Thinking that putting a timetable for military withdraw is a good idea and that the state of these war torn countries is “on par” puts me in a state of hysterical giddiness.

The highlights of the speech that broached the chasm between then aisle (other than the cozy idea of Republicans and Democrats sitting together, holding hands) included finally (FINALLY!) freezing the spending, honoring soldiers as the most deserving of our respect, and admonishing all colleges and universities to allow military recruiting. 

His final, best moment of the night came with this quote,

And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.

Only time will tell whether this was a transforming moment in the government.  I fear that the damage is irreparable, but I will hold out hope that the message of the American people actually, by some miracle gets through. 

 Then again, maybe it is just an oratory gift and a fancy teleprompter.

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For the full 2011 State of the Union Address transcript click here.

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