Saturday, July 31, 2010

Coins and Kings

God has a wry sense of humour. I am reminded of it by two letters on our coins, FD. They stand for the Latin,Fidei Defensor, Defender of the Faith. The title was granted to Henry VIII by Pope Leo in 1521 as a result of the book, "Defence of the Seven Sacraments." The king had taken part in the composition of this reply to Luther"s "Babylonian Captivity of the Church." He took all credit for authorship and his reward was a papal title to rival those of continental monarchs. It was not intended as an hereditary title but the heirs of Henry still hold the title as witnessed by our coins. They have sworn the Coronation Oath to uphold the Reformed Protestant Religion but are pleased to keep their papal title. Recently Prince Charles said that he would prefer to be defender of all faiths. Subsequent clarification from the Prince stated that he did not wish to challenge the constitutional position of the Church of England of which he will one day, God willing, become Supreme Governor. The Archbishop of Canterbury assured the public that there was only one constitutional requirement for the Prince to be crowned king, he has to be the legitimate child of the sovereign. Questions of personal faith or morality are not constitutional impediments.
The televised documentary about the Prince reopened the debate about the establishment of the Church of England. Curiously, little is said about the otheestablished church north of the border but there is public debate on whether Christianityshould have a privileged constitutional position.Evangelicals Now has had articles, notably from Herbert Carson, on the unbiblical status of an established church. In AD 313 the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, professing to be a Christian , issued the Edict of Milan giving full legal tolerance to Christianity. Ever since believers have been divided as to the benefits of Christianity being recognised as special by the state. Originally the Romans had given special tolerance to the Jewish religion and Christians were a Jewish sect. The followers of Jesus lost their privileges when they were expelled by the synagogues . Their subsequent refusal to offer incense to the Emperor as a god was costly. It won for many the martyrs crown. From AD 313, Christianity recognised by the Emperor, meant an end to official persecution. Confiscated property was returned, clerics received special exemptions from civic office and bishops were granted civil jurisdiction. Soon however shepherds of Christ's flock became princes of the church. Bedecked in purple, the imperial colour, they were to sit on thrones. A cathedral is the place of a throne, not a sheep fold. The down side of the establishment of Christianity is well documented as it affected the church.
Most of the current debate in the Church of England is about how wrong it is for the Crown through Parliament to have influence over the appointment of bishops, and for ungodly parliamentarians to legislate for the church. Presbyterian Scotland does not seem to have such problems having dispensed with the servicesof an episcopate. While an establishment for England like the Scottish model has been suggested I have yet to hear the Anglican case for a presbyterian church of England. That was offered by the Westminster Assembly 350 years ago but did not find favour even then when there was neither king nor bishops to remove.
Many but not all Evangelicals favour disestablishment. Some Anglicans want it. Secularists certainly favour it. A strong opinion opposed to any change appeared in The Times on July 12th. Rabbi Dr. Julian Jacobs, the Chief Rabbi's representative on interfaith relationships, wrote that disestablishment would be a major step towards the secularisation of Britain and would reduce religious tolerance. He believes that modern Britain has a unique record of religious tolerance. Establishment embraces diversity and embodies the central role of faith in the life of the nation. If that is removed all faiths will suffer and be equally marginalised in a new secular state. After the role of religion is reduced what follows is a reduction in the value of human life.
Chesterton said that when man ceases to believe in God he does not
believe in nothing but in anything. Proponents of disestablishment forget that to disestablish Christianity is not to establish nothing. Humanistic secularism would be enthroned as supreme arbiter. I believe that the state needs establishment far more than the church. I have never been a member of an established church but as a christian active in politics I value the fact that we are constitutionally a Christian country. Parliament opens each day with prayer, an acknowledgement that legislators are not autonomous. They should not make up the laws as they go along but discover the will of God for civil government. In the borough where I am a councillor the Mayor's chaplain prays for the councillors when the council meets. This year I protested to the mayor when he decided not to have a chaplain. I miss the reminder that councillors are responsible to a higher authority than the mayor or the electorate.
Most of all Christians should argue for the continuing special place of Christianity simply because it is true and other religions are false. The gospel does not need state approval or toleration. The King of Kings reigns over all earthly rulers. They should confess Christ as his ministers in public office. The outworking of the truth of our faith has given true religious liberty in Britain. It was a struggle in which many lives were lost for the crown rights of the redeemer. Men like Samuel Rutherford contended for the sovereignty of Christ over not only the church but rulers too. His book "Lex Rex", would have cost him his life at the Restoration had not God taken Rutherford home to Emmanuel's land.
Christian liberty is worth defending. It is an inheritance not to be despised for a bowl of secularist tolerance. Liberty is more than toleration. Christians should not be content with mere toleration in a secularist state. They should continue to contend for that truth affirmed in the coronation service when the monarch receives the orb. The archbishop reminds the new ruler that Christ by his cross rules the sphere of the world.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

NIGERIA - MORE ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS

Barnabas Fund reports,
NIGERIA - MORE ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS

Following the violence in Jos, Plateau State, in January and March 2010, we are receiving reports that Christians in Nigeria have again come under attack. On the evening of 3 July the village of Kizachi Dawai Chawai in Kaduna State was attacked by several Muslims. Five people were killed and five Christian homes destroyed.

In another incident, three Christians are feared dead in the Ganawuri community, near Jos, after Muslim attackers armed with guns and machetes descended on the village. Several of the attackers were arrested.

Please pray for Christians in these two states as they endure daily fear for their lives in the face of such frequent and horrific violence.
Pray for our brothers and sisters all across this troubled nation; pray that God will make His face to shine upon His people and that they may exhibit His love and forgiveness even in times of persecution and violence.
Top

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SS Alburkah: AD 1832-1834

From HISTORY OF NIGERIA - link in title

After Lander's second return to England a company is formed by a group of Liverpool merchants, including Macgregor Laird, to trade on the lower Niger. Laird is also a pioneer in the shipping industry. For the present purpose, an expedition to the Niger, he designs an iron paddle-steamer, the 55-ton Alburkah.

Laird himself leads the expedition, with Richard Lander as his expert guide.

The Alburkah steams south from Milford Haven in July 1832 with forty-eight on board. She reaches the mouth of the Niger three months later, entering history as the first ocean-going iron ship.

After making her way up one of the many streams of the Niger delta, the Alburkah progresses upstream on the main river as far as Lokoja, the junction with the Benue. The expedition demonstrates that the Niger offers a highway into the continent for ocean vessels. And the performance of the iron steamer is a triumph. But medicine is not yet as far advanced as technology. When the Alburkah returns to Liverpool, in 1834, only nine of the original crew of forty-eight are alive. They include a much weakened Macgregor Laird.









Read more: http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=plt#ixzz0v9VvKrq9

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Old Barns and Old People

video

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Establishment

A letter I wrote 17 years ago.

Dr. J Benton
Evangelicals Now
14 Silverleigh Road
Thornton Heath
CR7 6DU
20 November 1993

Dear John,

I have been disappointed by the articles and responses on disestablishment. The treatment of the issue was anglo-centric. There is more than one such church even in this United Kingdom and others that would like to be established at least north of the Border!

Secondly and of primary importance is the practical effect of disestablishment of any church. The result would not be the "biblical" position advocated by Herbert Carson et al. The clear result would be the establishment of secularism and futher privatisation of all religions. We have at present a de facto establishment of secularism due to the impotence of the churches of all persuasions not merely the two established ones. A de jure disestablishment would therefore put us on a par with the U.S.A. if not worse.

I should like to ask those who would so privatise the the faith, how they would be propose that rulers are called to practically profess and acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in their God-given calling. All people are to bow before Christ in their callings and politics must be seen do be done under His authority. Pietism must not rule as it is the friend of secularism. In my view rulers have a duty to establish Christianity, not a particular church. That I would say was the aim of some of the American Founding Fathers but they sadly missed the mark

The church does not need establishment but rulers do. They should acknowledge the truth, not merely as private individuals but as public persons. This is done when Parliament meets and in many Councils. For some of us this is not empty civic religion but a true bowing before God and a seeking of His will in a political calling.

Yours for the rule of Christ,

Councillor Graham Weeks
London Borough of Ealing

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A video which I readily identify

Click on the title for the video for us foodaholics.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We must pray for the peace of Nigeria.

From 1970 to 1982 my wife and I were missionaries in central Nigeria. Three out of our four children were born there. We lived mainly on or near the Jos Plateau. At over 4300 feet above sea level it was the hill station area to which expatriates came on holiday. It was a peaseful place even though we arrived just after the end of the civil war in ‘Biafra’. The north of Nigeria became a British colony in 1900, and part of the newly independent Nigeria in 1960. The 19th century was one of peace. Before it there was jihad with Islam offering conversion , slavery or death. Pax Brittanica ended the last two and encouraged the first as Muslim traders were now at liberty to peacefully spread their religion and Christian missions were banned except in areas like the plateau which were judged not to heve been subjugated by the Muslim emirs .

But Riots in 2001 between Christians and Muslims in Jos killed perhaps 1000 people. Estimates vary. In 2008 rioting led to the death of over 381 people in central Nigeria in only two days of clashing, and several homes, mosques, churches and a seminary were damaged or burned by mobs. The 2010 Jos riots were clashes between Muslim and Christian ethnic groups in central Nigeria near the city of Jos. The first spate of violence of 2010 started on 17 January and lasted at least four days. Houses, churches, mosques and vehicles were set ablaze during the fighting. At least 200 people were killed.
Hundreds of people died in fresh clashes in March 2010. Slaughtered villagers were mostly Christians, slain by machete attacks from the Hausa-Fulani, a group of Muslim herdsmen. Hundreds more left the scene of the attack in case the perpetrators returned.

Jos is the capital of Plateau State, in the middle of the divide between the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria and the predominately Christian south. More than 5,000 people have been displaced in the latest violence. Reports on the catalyst vary. According to the state police commissioner, skirmishes began after Muslim youths set a Catholic church, filled with worshippers, on fire. Other community leaders say it began with an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home in a predominantly Christian neighborhood that had been destroyed in the November 2008 riots
Before dawn on 7 March 2010, more than one hundred Christian villagers were killed by Muslim Hausa-Fulani herders in Dogo-Nahawa village near Jos. The attacks went on for four hours, and nearby villages were also targeted. Guns were fired by the perpetrators to cause panic and led to villagers running towards them to be chopped up by machetes. The villagers were mainly Berom Christians. Buildings were also set alight. Most of the dead were women and children. The death toll was later updated to more than 300 and later 500. Hundreds more left the village in case the attackers returned.According to a local paper, attackers yelled "Allahu Akhbar" before burning down churches and homes.. The Plateau State Christian Elders Consultative Forum said that the attack was "yet another jihad and provocation".

The significance of religious differences has been questioned with the roles of social, economic, and tribal differences also considered. An ethnic rivalry between the Hausa and Berom peoples may be a factor in the violence. However, this simplistic assertion is challenged because most ethnic groups in Plateau, who are predominantly Christian share the same sentiments with the Berom, and collectively see an Islamic threat in their own lands. The archbishop of the capital Abuja said that it was "a classic conflict between pastoralists and farmers, except that all the Fulani are Muslims and all the Berom are Christians." The Beroms and other Plateau natives are predominantly farmers and have had to experience their lands taken away and degraded by tin mining. I believe the conflict is, like in Northern Ireland, not fundamentally religious but political. In both places it happens that an ethnic divide is also a religious one.

There is also the issue of discrimination against the mainly Muslim "settlers" of Jos, even if they have been living in the city for decades. This further accentuates divisions in the city. While the mainly Christian indigenous population are classified as "indigenes," the mainly Muslim immigrants to Jos are classified as "settlers" and find it difficult to stand for election- among other things. But this is the case in all of Nigeria. The law allows preferential treatment of indiginees over settlers whose familie may have livd in the locality for thre generations or more. Only in Plateau do the settlers riot.

Why have these riots been only in the 21st century not the 20th. I believe the answer is that post 9/11 Islamist violence has flourished.

I am concerned at the under-reporting of these conflicts in the West and the pro-Muslim bias shown, especially by the BBC. Only the bad news is reported, never the good news of Christians and Muslims working for peace and protecting one another amidst death and destruction.

We must pray for the peace of Nigeria. Pray that Christians show love and never instigate violence nor reprisals.

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President Obama Accused of Anti-Life Imperialism in Kenya by Christian Democrats

Secret funding by Washington of the 'Yes' vote in Kenya's referendum on a new constitution is nothing less than anti-life American imperialism, according to the Christian Peoples Alliance (CPA) party. An investigation by three Republican congressmen has revealed how the Obama administration has secretly spent $23 million of U.S. taxpayer dollars in Kenya to fund the campaign "Yes" vote on the proposed constitution, which will enshrine liberal abortion rights.

One of the Congressmen involved, Rep. Chris Smith, has called the spending by Washington ‘U.S. monetary interference in a sovereign nation’s voting process’. In addition, the Obama administration has also promised millions of dollars of extra U.S. government aid and much needed private investment capital for Kenya if they should pass the new constitution. The USAID inspector general has now identified a range of programmes, funded by the Obama administration, which are directly tied to supporting the "Yes" vote.

Dr Tom Rogers from Lincoln is on both the National Executive of the CPA and the National Executive of SPUC, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child. Criticising the intervention of the Barack Obama administration in the internal affairs of a Commonwealth country, he commented:

"It is tragically ironic that someone who loves to bang on about his roots and humble background in Kenya could have such callous and fatal disregard for the lives of the most vulnerable and helpless Kenyans of all: unborn children. It is also unwelcome that he is shows complete disregard for the right of the Kenyan people to determine their own governance, free from foreign interference”.

The proposed constitution, which will be voted on by Kenyans on August 4, includes language which overturns current Kenyan law prohibiting abortion except to save the mother's life. It would allow abortion when the mother's 'health' is affected by a continuation of pregnancy. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines "health" to include 'complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.' Kenyan Christians are critical of Section 26 of the proposed Constitution for setting up a mechanism for unrestricted abortion on demand at any time during pregnancy.

Africa has been targeted by international population control groups for legalized abortion despite a 47% drop in Kenyan fertility and projections that show a declining population in the next 50 years.

Dr Rogers added:

"Kenyans will get the worst of both worlds from this draft constitution. Not content with the devastation they have caused to their own western societies, the US and EU are using their wealth and power to export their culture of death across the developing world. From Barack Obama especially, with his administration's lavish behind-the-scenes funding, this is a case of destructive covert-colonialism."

The referendum on the draft constitution comes in the wake of a power-sharing peace agreement between the competing sides of the disputed 2007 Presidential elections in Kenya, which resulted in violent protests which left over a 1,000 dead. The incumbent, President Kibaki of the Party of National Unity, had won a majority, but was accused of election fraud by the main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), with their Obama-backed candidate, Raila Odinga. International observers reported electoral irregularities by both sides.

Proponents of the new constitution maintain that it will provide greater checks and balances of power and less corruption. However, while open to support of certain of the new constitutional measures, Christians in Kenya have expressed concerns about the way the drafting of the new constitution has been high-jacked by those advancing a liberal secularist agenda, as well as an Islamic minority seeking the imposition of Shariah law on Kenya.

Christians make up 80% of the Kenyan population and opposition to the anti-Christian agenda of the draft constitution has united the churches. However, ‘No’ campaigners have faced violence and intimation. In June, six people were killed by a grenade attack against a peaceful prayer rally held by Christians supporting the ‘No’ campaign in Nairobi.

ENDS

For more informtation: Dr Tom Rogers 07941 966292
press@cpaparty.org.uk or visit www.cpaparty.org.uk

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Quite frankly I'm not a romantic about the state of matrimony.

A good friend e-mailed this and I have permission to share its wisdom.

Quite frankly I'm not a romantic about the state of matrimony.

My own parents had taught me to be realistic about marriage. I can 
remember being told that they had talked for a good year before their 
wedding about what each expected of each other - not only the goals 
of a good marriage but the minutiae of daily living - from finances 
to household maintenance.

My expectations going into marriage 29 years ago was that the first 
year would be our worst as we would be adjusting to different 
expectations (we were raised in different languages & cultures). Our 
agreement was that we would be upfront about what bothered us. I 
warned him that I'd not back down on what was important to me. Nor 
should he with me. This kind of honesty takes a lot of courage and 
love.

The second year, we worked on compromises for the things we couldn't 
agree on. A lot of negotiating took place.

The third year, we worked on acceptance. Face it, if we weren't 
going to budge from our positions over a two-year period, then it was 
a part of who were were, so learn to live with the differences.

Over the decades the cycle of adjusting has become as normal as breathing.

I responded.


I always say marriage is no bed of romantic roses. It means challenge and change. That is so for anyone but if there are big differences in the backgrounds of the spouses it is more difficult, whether race, culture, class, wealth, education, interests or whatever. These disparities have to be faced before and after the wedding. But there is only one difference that is the ultimate bar to tying the knot. You cannot get married if one of you is an unbeliever. But if you both know God's grace and your need of him in making your changes, then with that alone as the sine qua non, you can wed... but with eyes wide open, not covered by rose tinted romantic spectacles. Reality in marriage needs faith and love more than it needs romance. But real romance is to be treasured too. But, contra our culture, it is not an essential prerequisite.

Hear the realistic Sam J's wisdom.

Domestic discord is not inevitably and fatally necessary; but yet it is not easy to avoid. - Samuel Johnson, Rasselas [the princess Nekayah]

To live without feeling or exciting sympathy, to be fortunate without adding to the felicity of others, or afflicted without tasting the balm of pity, is a state more gloomy than solitude; it is not retreat, but exclusion from mankind. Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures.-Samuel Johnson: Rasselas [from the character Princess Nekayah]

I am not so much inclined to wonder that marriage is sometimes unhappy, as that it appears so little loaded with calamity; and cannot but conclude that society has something in itself eminently agreeable to human nature, when I find its pleasures so great that even the ill choice of a companion can hardly overbalance them. Samuel Johnson (given to a fictional correspondent) in Rambler #45 (August 21, 1750)

I believe marriages would in general be as happy, and often more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor, upon a due consideration of characters and circumstances, without the parties having any choice in the matter. Boswell: Life of Johnson

I love the last quote. The LC is the head of the UK judiciary.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities Affairs, receives violent threats

Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, is under violent threats from an extremist Islamic organisation.
In a media statement this week, an extremist organisation issued a direct warning at Mr Bhatti that he will be ‘beheaded’ if he insists on the repeal of the blasphemy laws and demanded that Mr Bhatti be ousted from the Federal Cabinet and National Assembly.
The threats came following a hard-hitting press conference held by Mr Bhatti in response to the murder of two Christian brothers, Rashid and Sajid Emmanuel, falsely accused of blasphemy (a case being closely monitored by CSW). Mr Bhatti made strong calls for the repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which are often misused to target Christians and other religious minorities.
As yet, the government hasn’t responded to these threats, but CSW contacts on the ground are adamant that behaviour of this kind should not be tolerated by the state and await a firm response.
Those of you who attended the CSW London Conference in 2009 will remember hearing Mr Bhatti’s moving speech in which he spoke openly about the risks he faces speaking up for religious minorities in Pakistan. You will also remember his passionate plea for us to take one minute every day to pray for him. In light of these latest threats, please uphold him in your individual and church prayers.
Please pray:
• For God’s protection, strength and comfort for Mr Bhatti in the face of violent threats.
• That the threats made by this organisation will come to nothing and that God will turn the hearts of those involved who seek to do harm.
• That the government would intervene to support Mr Bhatti, denouncing the threats made against him and providing greater security measures for Mr Bhatti.
• For the family of the two Christian brothers who were murdered and all those who are speaking up on their behalf.
Thank you for all you do to support those persecuted for their faith.
Blessings,
The CSW team

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Books by a very good friend.

STUDIES IN CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM RELATIONS--9 volumes--2700+pages
Vol. 1--Nigeria's Decades of Blood--155 pp (2003)
Vol. 2--Muslims: Why the Violence--193 pp (2004)
Vol. 3--Christians: Why This Muslim Violence--334 pp (2004)
Vol. 4--Muslims: Why We Reject Secularism--265 pp (2005)
Vol. 5--Christians: Secularism--Yes and No--285 pp (2006)
Vol. 6--Muslims: Why Muslim Sharia Law--393 pp (2007)
Vol. 7--Christians: Why We Reject Muslim Law--517 pp (2008)
Vol. 8--Christians and Muslims: Parameters for Living Together--560 pp (2009)
Vol. 9--Companion CD-Rom--All the volumes, appendices and 1000's of articles

Prof. Dr.Yusufu Turaki, Nigeria's leading Protestant theologian, wrote:
"I sincerely thank you for taking the pains to go through my deep provocative writing. I enjoyed
the most your comments and questions, which make my writings and and ideas come alive. More
importantly, your pointing out the areas of Christian weaknesses only goes to strengthen our cause.
Bravo!"

Nasir Baba, a Muslim post-graduate student from Zamfara State in Nigeria wrote:
"The CD, I must say, sir, is a gift of a lifetime. It's a whole library you are donating to me and humanity."

FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO : www.SocialTheology.com/Islamica.
For info re the free e-book version go to www.lulu.com.

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An open letter to UK’s Cameron and Clegg

My weekly opinion article in the on line African magazine. Link in title above.

The UK is experiencing something new – a real coalition in government. It is producing some interesting ideas and initiatives after so many years of New Labour, the party now in search of a leader. Before the election we knew that the real problem was the budget deficit.

Economies are necessary. Government borrowing is out of control. We even subsidised banks for fear of financial collapse. The big battle as ever is where the cuts come and who is to pay more. With an increase in VAT we will all pay more in indirect taxes. My pay slip shows I pay over a quarter of my income in direct taxation. Nearly another quarter is taken by indirect taxation.
Two areas for economies I favour have yet to be tackled. First, the growth of the public sector. People want the state to take care of them and provide public services. They would rather rely on the state than trust in God for security and take personal responsibility. The state encourages this idolatry. It grows and grows, controlling just about every aspect of life and encouraging dependency. Shrink the state, encourage people to work and the economy will be transformed.

But asking politicians to shrink the state and curtail its interference in all of life is asking the turkeys to vote for Christmas. We do not need the ridiculous expense of devolved government in Scotland and Wales. Get rid of it. Leave the European Union, a leviathan not to be trusted for it has no audited accounts. Let Westminster take full responsibility and get back to governing the UK on its own. If the Celtic fringes do not like this, let England give them their freedom and be economically richer for it. (Apologies to Her Majesty for suggesting this diminution of the last remnants of empire).

So, get rid of devolved government and back to being a sovereign state instead of a province of the EU. Shrink the public sector, all those unnecessary bums on public seats enforcing myriad regulations and collecting statistics. First of all, sack anyone who tells a poor person they will be better off out of work and on benefits. Of course, if you are to do this you will have to radically reform the system so that people realise that work is better than dependency. I speak from personal experience. I have had two employees, both single mothers, who were informed that the way out of their financial difficulties was not to earn more and manage their debts better but simply to stop working and take the hand outs on offer. One left my employ. One has gone part time and joined the black economy on the side. Neither of them wanted this advice. Both of them wanted to work for me full time. The system stinks. Reform it. Of course we must take care of those in real need but too many people play a system, which does not encourage them to take responsibility for their own finances.

Next, reform housing benefits. The neighbouring house to ours is newly enlarged so that the owner can get more rent from his property. Tenants are always on housing benefit. He can charge them a commercial rent. I am enriching this landlord through my taxes when the state subsidises his tenants. This is a factor in the increase of house prices over the years. Our property is now worth ten times what we paid for it in 1984 but my salary has only risen nearly five fold in that time. High rents are a factor in our shortage of affordable accommodation. Reform this subsidy of rented housing and rents will be reduced and housing prices fall making housing more affordable. So I suggest for starters a big increase in the taxation of the landlords’ rental income and property taxes on houses that are not owner occupied.

Do I ever expect this to happen? Of course not. Not when our politicians often come from that small proportion of the population who have more than one property to call home. Members of Parliament get the biggest housing benefits of all.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why Go To Church?

 A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained
 that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday... "I've gone for 30
 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 203,000
 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So,
 I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving
 sermons at all." 
 
 This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much
 to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this
 clincher:
 "I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some
 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for
 a single one of those meals. But I do know this... They all nourished me
 and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given
 me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not
 gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" When
 you are DOWN to nothing... God is UP to something! Faith sees the
 invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God
 for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment! 

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Another church attacked in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: www.assistnews.net -- E-mail: assistnews@aol.com

Friday, July 23, 2010

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN (ANS) -- More than a week after a church break-in which left one woman seriously injured, it is now being reported that another church in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan has been the subject of a similar crime.
“Witnesses say four men entered the church, severely beat a local woman, and stole money and equipment,” said Jed Courley, pastor of the first church that was attacked.
Courley, a missionary with Calvary Chapel, told the ASSIST News Service, “Valya, the woman from my church that was robbed over a week ago, has recently been released from the hospital.
"Other than the memory and scars from the brutal events of that night, she is expected to make a full recovery. However, as was expected, there have been no phone calls or updates from the police.”
Courley went on to say, “In spite of these recent events, the first of several planned mission trips to the city of Osh in the south has been scheduled for the week of July 26th."
Osh is the epicenter of the ethnic battles which took place shortly over a month ago leaving up to 2000 people dead and hundreds of thousands without homes.
The teams from the church in Bishkek will be distributing tons of food products such as flour, oil, macaroni, rice, as well as clothes and toiletries.
Entire street blocks have been destroyed by fire, one report estimating that the destruction covers fifteen percent of the city. Kuban, a pastor from Osh, reports that as people are returning, the only choice they have is to take up residence among their burned out homes.
Courley went on to say, "There are still reports of international aid being siphoned off by criminal groups and sold to the needy at high prices. As a result of this corruption, the mission teams from Bishkek will be distributing these much needed products directly into the hands of those who are suffering.
“Please pray for the believers in Kyrgyzstan, Valya as she continues to recover from her injuries, and this first of many upcoming mission trips to Osh. As people are now finishing a period of 40 days of mourning for those who died in the south, it is unknown if renewed ethnic violence will emerge in the days and weeks ahead.”

Anyone wishing to contribute to the purchase of food and clothes for distribution in Osh can send gifts to:
Horizon Missions
7702 Indian Lake Road
Indianapolis, IN 46236, USA
Checks should be payable to “Horizon Missions” with a note attached stating that your gift is for the “Kyrgyzstan Relief Fund.”

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stand with Christians under attack in Nigeria

“We need your help…”

With these words, an elder of Mazah village appealed for help after his village was attacked by Fulani Muslims on 16 July.

Speaking to a CSW contact about the attacks, which left at least eight people dead and homes burned to the ground, he said, “We are still shocked from the whole event and are frustrated that we are powerless to these attacks…What can we do but depend on God? We need your help. Whatever you can do will be appreciated.”

A village under attack

On 16 July Mazah village in Jos North came under attack by armed Fulani Muslims, leaving an estimated eight people dead and homes burnt to the ground. The number of casualties is still unclear, but children are known to be among those killed and seriously injured.

Like other recent attacks, victims were frightened out of their homes with gun shots, then hacked with machetes. The attackers targeted key members of the community, focusing on the homes of the local councillor, the village head and a pastor.
Reverend Nuhu Dawata escaped with one of his children, but sadly his wife and two other children were killed. His grandson was shot in the foot, thrown in a bathroom and left to die. He was found by the police and taken to hospital, where he is recovering well.

The security forces did nothing

Eyewitnesses reported that although the security forces were called and arrived in time to put an end to the violence, they did nothing, waiting until the violence had ended before they entered the village. Although security forces managed to thwart a subsequent attack on the nearby village of Tajir, local contacts still feel that both the federal and local governments don’t know what concrete steps to take to end the violence, are afraid to tackle the sponsors of the conflicts, and dare not point the finger at those who are really behind the attacks.

Plateau State is reported to be tense following the burials of the victims yesterday. The Plateau State Government has now called for 30 days of prayer and fasting for peace.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Islamisation of the West

BARNABAS AID JULY/AUGUST 2010
“Islam entered Europe twice and left it... Perhaps
the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of
preaching and ideology. The conquest need not
necessarily be by the sword... Perhaps we will
conquer these lands without armies. We want an
army of preachers and teachers who will present
Islam in all languages and in all dialects.” – Yusuf
al-Qaradawi, a popular Sunni Muslim cleric, head of
the European Council for Fatwa and Research1
Since the 1960s large numbers of Muslims have been migrating to
the West. Muslim migration is unusual because of radicals within
the community who are deliberately seeking to create dramatic
changes in their host societies; they want Islam to gain social,
cultural, economic and political power.
has been dramatic. In Western Europe, there were only about
50,000 Muslims in 1900. By 1970 the number had grown to 3-4
million, and by 2008 it exceeded 25 million. Forty percent of
Rotterdam’s population is Muslim. In Brussels the figure is 33
percent and in Marseilles and Malmo 25 percent. Muslims comprise
an estimated 20 percent of the population of inner London, 15
percent of the population in Birmingham, and 10 percent in Paris
and Copenhagen. Muhammad has become the most common name
for newborn boys in Brussels and Amsterdam, and the third most
common in England. Muslim populations are growing much faster
than non-Muslim ones. This growth is due to continued migration,
higher birth rates and conversions. Many Muslim leaders have
expressed their vision of an Islamic Europe in the foreseeable future,
achieved primarily by demographic changes.
Bernard Lewis predicted in July 2004 that Muslims would form a
majority in Europe by the end of the 21st century. He repeated his
warning in 2007, arguing that Europe is experiencing a dramatic
demographic shift coupled with a process of Islamisation.
The Islamisation of the West
Pull-out
supplement
Christianity in the UK: rising to the challenges
The Office for National Statistics found that the Muslim population
had multiplied ten times faster than the rest of society during the
period from 2004 to 2008. In 2008 the government’s Labour Force
Survey calculated that the British Muslim population in 2008 was
2.4 million.6 However, this may well be a considerable
underestimate.
Barnabas Fund has undertaken some intensive research into this
question. Embassies of Muslim states were approached and asked
for their current figures on the number of Muslims in Britain whom
they represent, and published material from government agencies
(such as the Department of Communities and Local Government)
as well as Muslim NGOs dealing with specific Muslim ethnic groups
was used. Low and high estimates were recorded, and the results
are shown in the following table:
So although the minimum figure in the table matches the
government estimate of 2.4 million, it is likely to be too low. It
would seem fair to estimate the current (2010) number of Muslims
in the UK as being certainly 3 million, most likely at least 3.2
million and possibly as many as 4.8 million.
How long has it taken for the British Muslim population to grow to
this size? In 1915 there were only 10,000 Muslims in the UK, and
the level remained low for the next four decades. The main waves
of Muslim immigrants arrived in Britain after the Second World War
and as British colonies gained independence. By 1954 there were
some 24,000 Muslims. Most of the new arrivals came from the
Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) in search of jobs.
Later waves of immigrants included Asian Muslims evicted from
Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972. Arab Muslims from various countries
in the Middle East experiencing economic difficulties, civil war and
persecution also found refuge in Britain. Iranians fleeing the Islamic
Revolution of 1979, and later Kurds fleeing persecution in Iraq and
Turkey, joined the flow. Muslim immigrants and asylum-seekers
arrived from the Balkans during the disintegration of Yugoslavia
and from Afghanistan during its decades of war and civil strife.
Recently there has been an influx from Somalia and sub-Saharan
African countries.
The following graph shows how the Muslim community in Britain
has grown since 1915, and how the growth has accelerated
drastically in the last decade. It also gives an estimate of the
number of Muslims in Britain in the year 2020 (6 million).
Impact of Islamism
Many Muslims who settle in the West are traditionalists wanting to
recreate in their new country the Islam of their homeland. A few
are secularists who migrated in order to escape the growth of
radical Islam in their home country. Still others are Islamists who
have moved to the West with the definite plan of working for the
rule of Islam and sharia throughout the world. It is this last group
who are spearheading the process of Islamisation in the West,
although many mainstream Muslim organisations are also actively
supportive of it.
Islamism is inherently political and considers that the state powers
must be controlled by Islam. It is deeply rooted in orthodox Islam
and thus appeals greatly to many conservative and traditional
Muslim groups. Islamists have developed programmes for
BARNABAS AID JULY/AUGUST 2010 iii
6 Richard Kerbaj, “Muslim population rising 10 times faster than rest of society”, The Times, 30 January 2009.
In 2007, there were 28,300 people who applied for asylum in the
UK. In 2008 the figure was 30,545. Most asylum-seekers end up
staying in the UK, and many of them are Muslims. Making a
conservative guess that a third of asylum-seekers are Muslims an
extra 10,000 Muslims are added to the British population every
year. Because very few asylum applications are accepted, and
most applicants who stay do so illegally, the great majority of this
10,000 will not be included in embassy figures. Estimates for the
number of asylum seekers currently resident in the UK range from
620,000 to 1.1 million, who could include between 200,000 and
350,000 Muslims. There are no reliable figures for converts to
Islam, but estimates range from 10,000 to 60,000.
Pakistani-origin Muslims form by far the largest single group of
British Muslims. It is important to note that the figures from the
Pakistani High Commission cover only first-generation
Pakistani immigrants. But many Pakistani-background Britons
are now second, third and even fourth generation immigrants; a
reasonable estimate would be between 600,000 and 800,000. So
the total figure for Pakistani Muslims must be far higher than the
table indicates, perhaps between 1.5 and 2 million.
Low Estimate High Estimate
Pakistanis (1st generation immigrants only) 900,000 1,200,000
Bangladeshis 353,000 500,000
Indians 160,000 200,000
Afghans 55,000 70,000
Iranians 75,000 85,000
Turks 230,000 500,000
Arabs 250,000 400,000
North Africans 130,000 130,000
Somalis 100,000 150,000
Other Sub-Saharan Africans 70,000 300,000
European Muslims e.g. Albanians,
Kosovars
70,000 100,000
Asylum-seekers ? ?
South-East Asians ? ?
Converts to Islam ? ?
Others ? ?
2,393,000 3,635,000
? indicates that reliable figures are unavailable.
Pull-out
supplement
Christianity in the UK: rising to the challenges
The Office for National Statistics found that the Muslim population
had multiplied ten times faster than the rest of society during the
period from 2004 to 2008. In 2008 the government’s Labour Force
Survey calculated that the British Muslim population in 2008 was
2.4 million.6 However, this may well be a considerable
underestimate.
Barnabas Fund has undertaken some intensive research into this
question. Embassies of Muslim states were approached and asked
for their current figures on the number of Muslims in Britain whom
they represent, and published material from government agencies
(such as the Department of Communities and Local Government)
as well as Muslim NGOs dealing with specific Muslim ethnic groups
was used. Low and high estimates were recorded, and the results
are shown in the following table:
So although the minimum figure in the table matches the
government estimate of 2.4 million, it is likely to be too low. It
would seem fair to estimate the current (2010) number of Muslims
in the UK as being certainly 3 million, most likely at least 3.2
million and possibly as many as 4.8 million.
How long has it taken for the British Muslim population to grow to
this size? In 1915 there were only 10,000 Muslims in the UK, and
the level remained low for the next four decades. The main waves
of Muslim immigrants arrived in Britain after the Second World War
and as British colonies gained independence. By 1954 there were
some 24,000 Muslims. Most of the new arrivals came from the
Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) in search of jobs.
Later waves of immigrants included Asian Muslims evicted from
Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972. Arab Muslims from various countries
in the Middle East experiencing economic difficulties, civil war and
persecution also found refuge in Britain. Iranians fleeing the Islamic
Revolution of 1979, and later Kurds fleeing persecution in Iraq and
Turkey, joined the flow. Muslim immigrants and asylum-seekers
arrived from the Balkans during the disintegration of Yugoslavia
and from Afghanistan during its decades of war and civil strife.
Recently there has been an influx from Somalia and sub-Saharan
African countries.
The following graph shows how the Muslim community in Britain
has grown since 1915, and how the growth has accelerated
drastically in the last decade. It also gives an estimate of the
number of Muslims in Britain in the year 2020 (6 million).
Impact of Islamism
Many Muslims who settle in the West are traditionalists wanting to
recreate in their new country the Islam of their homeland. A few
are secularists who migrated in order to escape the growth of
radical Islam in their home country. Still others are Islamists who
have moved to the West with the definite plan of working for the
rule of Islam and sharia throughout the world. It is this last group
who are spearheading the process of Islamisation in the West,
although many mainstream Muslim organisations are also actively
supportive of it.
Islamism is inherently political and considers that the state powers
must be controlled by Islam. It is deeply rooted in orthodox Islam
and thus appeals greatly to many conservative and traditional
Muslim groups. Islamists have developed programmes for
BARNABAS AID JULY/AUGUST 2010 iii
6 Richard Kerbaj, “Muslim population rising 10 times faster than rest of society”, The Times, 30 January 2009.
In 2007, there were 28,300 people who applied for asylum in the
UK. In 2008 the figure was 30,545. Most asylum-seekers end up
staying in the UK, and many of them are Muslims. Making a
conservative guess that a third of asylum-seekers are Muslims an
extra 10,000 Muslims are added to the British population every
year. Because very few asylum applications are accepted, and
most applicants who stay do so illegally, the great majority of this
10,000 will not be included in embassy figures. Estimates for the
number of asylum seekers currently resident in the UK range from
620,000 to 1.1 million, who could include between 200,000 and
350,000 Muslims. There are no reliable figures for converts to
Islam, but estimates range from 10,000 to 60,000.
Pakistani-origin Muslims form by far the largest single group of
British Muslims. It is important to note that the figures from the
Pakistani High Commission cover only first-generation
Pakistani immigrants. But many Pakistani-background Britons
are now second, third and even fourth generation immigrants; a
reasonable estimate would be between 600,000 and 800,000. So
the total figure for Pakistani Muslims must be far higher than the
table indicates, perhaps between 1.5 and 2 million.
Low Estimate High Estimate
Pakistanis (1st generation immigrants only) 900,000 1,200,000
Bangladeshis 353,000 500,000
Indians 160,000 200,000
Afghans 55,000 70,000
Iranians 75,000 85,000
Turks 230,000 500,000
Arabs 250,000 400,000
North Africans 130,000 130,000
Somalis 100,000 150,000
Other Sub-Saharan Africans 70,000 300,000
European Muslims e.g. Albanians,
Kosovars
70,000 100,000
Asylum-seekers ? ?
South-East Asians ? ?
Converts to Islam ? ?
Others ? ?
2,393,000 3,635,000
? indicates that reliable figures are unavailable.
Pull-out
supplement
Christianity in the UK: rising to the challenges
Islamising the West in stages. These include infiltrating both
Western Muslim communities and non-Muslim Western societies,
especially their power centres.
The current population explosion in Muslim countries, coupled with
the growth in the number of Muslims migrating into Western
states, is seen by many Islamists as a sign of God’s providence,
tilting the global balance in favour of Islam. They believe that
Muslims in the West must seize this unique opportunity to expand
Islam’s sphere of influence, changing Western Christian and
secular culture in favour of Islam.
Islamists want Islam to be not just an equal alongside the many
other faith communities, but to be privileged and protected, the
dominant player. Islamic norms and practices are promoted as
Muslims make their presence felt in politics, economics, law,
education and the media.
Islamists are never satisfied with what they have achieved, but use
every opportunity to ask for more. The then Bishop of Rochester,
Michael Nazir-Ali, complained that in dealing with some Muslims
“there can never be sufficient appeasement and new demands will
continue to be made”.7
Islamists have created a vast network of interlocking organisations
committed to spreading Islam in the West. These institutions are
used to lobby for Muslim causes. They are often led by welleducated
Muslims born in the West, who are able to engage
effectively with wider society.
THE ALLIANCE BETWEEN ISLAMISTS AND THE EXTREME LEFT
The fall of Soviet communism weakened the Western hard left
and forced it to look for other allies in its struggle against
capitalism and Christianity. It has developed links to radical
Islamists, many of whom take part in demonstrations against
Western governments and their policies and stir up resentment
among many Muslims. Although Islamism and the extreme left
have very different ideas and goals, they are united in their
hatred for America.
Left-wing intellectuals present a sanitised view of Islam, ignoring
its terrorist forms, playing down the place of Islamism and
emphasising the guilt of the West. They offer Islamists a privileged
platform in the media channels and academic centres that they
control, calling any criticism of Islam “Islamophobic” and thus
silencing all dissent.
ISLAMIC MISSION (DA‘WA)
Islam is a missionary faith that makes da‘wa (mission) a duty for
individual Muslims and also for Muslim communities and states.
Da‘wa has two dimensions: first, internal da‘wa aims to revive the
faith and commitment of Muslims; then external da‘wa calls on
non-Muslims to accept Islam. It is not limited to converting
individuals, but includes converting whole societies and
establishing states or enclaves ruled by Islam.
Islamist movements are dedicated to da‘wa as part of their
attempt to make Islam the dominant religion in the non-Muslim
world.. They expect Muslims in the West to witness to Islam and
persuade or force their adopted states to accept sharia law.
Islamists’ efforts in such fields as law, economics and culture are
not just small steps to meet the needs of Muslim individuals and
the local Muslim community, but are part of an overall plan to
change the character of host states until they become part of the
global Islamic umma (nation).
Islamists now encourage Muslims to make their mission more
suitable for the West. Terms and concepts that might offend Western
people are avoided. Islam is presented not as an alien religion to be
imposed on Western society by force, but as a peaceful and tolerant
religion, closely related to Christianity and dedicated to social justice
and equality. Islamists also often engage in interfaith dialogue with
Christians with the aim of promoting Islam.
Oil-rich Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran are
using their considerable resources and influence to fund and
promote a large network of Islamic mission organisations. Non-
Muslim societies and states are pressured to meet their demands.
At the same time, the threat of violence, whether terrorism or
rioting, is part of da‘wa. Western governments have to allocate vast
resources to fighting Islamist terrorism. Terrorist threats also make
governments more eager to respond positively to the requests of
their Muslim communities, hoping that this will prevent them from
becoming radicalised.
MOSQUE-BUILDING
Some observers estimate that by 2007 there were over 1,700
mosques in the UK, over 1,600 in France, over 1,200 in the US and
over 1,000 in Germany. The largest and most ornate mosques are
often funded and supported by Islamic states. The increasing
numbers of mosques, and their magnificence, speak of the
presence and permanence of Islam in the West and reflect the
growing confidence of Muslim communities.
Recently plans to build several “mega-mosques” in the UK have
caused much controversy and raised inter-communal tensions.
Muslims claim that these structures will be needed to
accommodate their growing numbers in the West. However, the
need for Muslim places of worship could be met by smaller, less
eye-catching buildings. The ambitious designs of many mosques
suggest a desire to have a very visible presence, claim superiority
for Islam, and dwarf Christian cathedrals and churches.
ISLAMIC SHARIA
Sharia law defines the faith and identity of most Muslims, who
submit to it as God’s will. Traditionalists, Islamists and modernists
all take this view, while differing on how sharia should be
understood and put into practice. In the West there is pressure to
have parts of sharia added to the secular legal system and applied
in the public sphere.
As a result of Muslim demands, various public bodies, including the
police, hospitals and the prison system, allow Muslims to follow
certain sharia regulations. Informal, voluntary sharia courts are
operating in many Muslim communities. These put Muslim women
Pull-out
supplement
Christianity in the UK: rising to the challenges
in real danger of severe discrimination in matters of marriage,
divorce, custody of children and inheritance.
Important non-Muslim public figures have joined in the demand
for an increased public role for sharia. In Britain the Archbishop
of Canterbury has argued that some role for Islamic law is
unavoidable and that in order to hold society together the
country should permit Muslims to follow some parts of it. He
was followed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, who
argued that sharia could operate in Britain in the field of
marriage, family disputes, and finance as long as it did not
contradict the laws of the land. He also said that sharia should
be one (voluntary) basis of arbitration and mediation, which
could then be enforced by English law. Similar voices are heard
in other Western states.
THREATS TO FREE SPEECH
Islam does not separate religion from the state, and many
Muslims believe that the state should protect Islam. Muslim
institutions in the West frequently complain about Islamophobia
and demand laws to ban hate speech and insulting religion. They
are supported by Muslim states and Muslim international
organisations such as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
(OIC), who seek to give Islam a special place in all societies. They
claim that Islam, the Qur’an, sharia and Muhammad must all be
protected from criticism, however factual the criticism might be.
In 2007 an act was passed in the UK outlawing the use of
threatening words or behaviour meant to incite hatred against
groups of people because of their faith.
Islamist organisations in the West also use the laws on libel,
human rights and equality to silence any criticism of Islam.
Large funds are set aside for hiring skilful lawyers. This
approach puts off many people who might otherwise criticise
Islam and so limits their free speech. This situation is beginning
to limit public discussion of Islam and even of the threat posed by
Islamist terrorism. It presents a real challenge to both civil rights
and national security in Western states.
The OIC and its member states are also pressurising other
countries at the UN. Since 1999 the UN Commission on Human
Rights, and its successor the UN Human Rights Council, have
passed annual resolutions criticising and opposing the defamation
of religions; one was even passed in the General Assembly in
2007. These resolutions are non-binding, but the UN has also
established a committee to work on a binding treaty against
defamation of religions.
Legal protection of this kind for individuals, including Muslims, is
acceptable to most people, but the OIC’s aim is rather to protect a
set of ideas, namely the religion of Islam, from any kind of
criticism. Moreover, although these resolutions supposedly apply to
all religions, the most recent ones have particularly singled out
Islam as needing protection.
This campaign is a first step towards changes in the law of
Western and other non-Muslim states to favour Islam. As a result
the UN is increasingly censoring its own language and inserting
terms such as “blasphemy” and “defamation of Islam” into its
documents. Non-Muslim states seem to have decided to keep quiet
about Islam. Thus freedom of speech and expression is being
limited in many international organisations and conferences.
VIOLENCE AND THE THREAT OF VIOLENCE
Some Muslims have resorted to violence and the threat of violence
to frighten governments into meeting their demands. Examples
include the riots in Oldham, UK in 2001 and in Paris in 2005. This
approach seems to be effective in the West, where governments
want to avoid riots in the streets of their cities. The Danish cartoons
of Muhammad and the riots and violence that followed prompted
many Western politicians to express sympathy with Muslim anger.
In addition, leading Western personalities, both non-Muslim and
Muslim, have been threatened, attacked or even murdered.
Examples are the fatwa against Salman Rushdie in Britain (1989);
the assassination of Theo Van Gogh (2004) in the Netherlands;
death threats against the politicians Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert
Wilders in the Netherlands; death threats to the Jyllands-Posten
editor Flemming Rose and cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in
Denmark; and a plot to kill cartoonist Lars Vilks in Sweden. As a
result the media, academics and publishers have also begun to
censor their own work.
PRESENTATION OF ISLAM
Islamists present Islam to the non-Muslim West as tolerant and
peaceable. They have a project to rewrite texts about Islam for
Western audiences. They present Islam and Islamic history in the
best possible light, stressing only its peaceful and pleasant
features while denying the intolerant and violent ones, not least its
many wars of expansion. They have created an atmosphere in
which it is becoming difficult for public figures to criticise Islam or
talk openly about the challenges posed by Islamism.
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Christianity in the UK: rising to the challenges IV
Islamists are also seeking to change the way that Western people
see the world (the Islamisation of knowledge). Islamic bodies have
been founded in the West to promote an Islamic way of thinking,
based on the principles of the Qur’an, the words and deeds of
Muhammad, and the ideas of Islamic civilisation. Some of these
bodies are linked to Islamist movements, while presenting a
moderate face to their Western audiences. Their academic standing
encourages some Western academics to co-operate with them.
Some Western governments are changing the language they use to
describe the Islamist terrorist threat. Terms such as “War against
terror”, “Islamic terrorism” and “Islamist terrorism” are being
abandoned, because they anger Muslims and increase tensions
with the wider Muslim world. No link may be openly made between
Islam and terrorism or radicalism. For example, in April 2010 the
US government decided to ban all mention of Islam in important
national security documents.
ISLAMIC FINANCE
Islamist movements deny that Western financial products are
consistent with sharia. So they have invented a range of
alternatives and are trying to convince other Muslims to use them.
The Western media has supported the founding of Islamic banks
and financial institutions in the West. Western governments
increasingly support the introduction of this “Islamic finance”,
hoping to attract investment from the oil-rich Middle East.
London has become the main Western centre for Islamic finance
and investment outside the Middle East. In a 2005 survey several
Islamic companies indicated that the UK was the most shariafriendly
of all the Western countries.
By accepting these Islamist interpretations of sharia as
representative of all Islam, Western governments have
strengthened Islamists, while weakening Muslim moderates and
progressives. Individual Muslims are now under increasing
pressure to use so-called “sharia-compliant” financial products.
EDUCATION
Islamists would like to control the whole of Western education.
Although the number of Muslim schools is growing, most Muslim
children attend state schools. Wherever possible, Muslims demand
that Muslim girls be allowed to wear Islamic clothing. They also
call for special prayer rooms to be set aside in schools for Muslim
prayers, for halal food to be provided, and for permission for
Muslim pupils to leave school premises for Friday prayers.
Other requests include the provision of alternatives to mixedgender
sports activities, and the exemption of Muslim pupils from
dance and drama. Where Islam is not already part of the
curriculum, there are calls to include it, preferably taught by
Muslim teachers from outside the schools. Further, some Muslims
check school textbooks and ask for any supposedly anti-Islamic
material to be removed, even if it is true. They try to vet all books
about Islam in schools, colleges, universities and public libraries,
and to influence publishers to provide textbooks that present a
positive view of Islam. Governments, educators and publishers
wanting to avoid being accused of prejudice, racism and
Islamophobia often yield to such requests.
vi BARNABAS AID JULY/AUGUST 2010
ACADEMIC CENTRES OF ISLAMIC AND MIDDLE EASTERN
STUDIES
Islamists also fund academic chairs and support Muslim academics
taking up lecturing posts in Western universities. A growing
proportion of senior staff positions in Western departments of
Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and much of their funding, now
come from Muslim countries. But funding from Muslim sources
often has strings attached, and there is clear evidence that at some
universities the choice of teaching materials, the subject areas and
degrees offered, the recruitment of staff and advisory boards and
even the selection of students are now influenced by donors.
University staff may censor their own work so as not to offend the
donors.
RADICAL MUSLIMS AT WESTERN UNIVERSITIES
In recent decades Islamist activists have gained a larger place in
many Islamic student societies in colleges and universities. They
radicalise Muslim students, encourage separation and isolation
from the staff and non-Muslim students, and encourage female
Muslim students to wear Islamic dress. A number of Islamist
terrorists studied at Western colleges and universities.
NO-GO ZONES FOR NON-MUSLIMS?
Poverty, racism and the need for mutual support made the first
generations of Muslims in the West live close together. But more
recently this process has been encouraged by Islamists and even
by governments. It creates a growing sense of separation from
wider society and encourages young Muslims to seek their identity
in radical Islam. Extremist literature is being widely distributed in
some mosques and Islamic centres, further encouraging this
process.
An Islamic character is being imposed on many inner-city areas
where Muslim social networks are very powerful. In such areas
non-Muslims feel outnumbered and threatened by the Islamic
community. Some commentators suggest that they have become
“no-go” areas that it is dangerous for non-Muslims to enter.
CONCLUSION
Governments and the public must be made aware of the danger of
allowing Islamist activists to take over Muslim organisations and
claim to represent all Muslims. The excessive demands of Islamists
must be rejected, along with their blaming of host societies for all
the difficulties faced by Muslims. It is important that democratic
Western societies do not give up their hard-won heritage of
equality before the law, freedom of expression and freedom of
religion. It must also be made clear that tolerance must work both
ways and that threats of violence are unacceptable. Muslim
communities must try much harder to isolate and expose Islamists
who reject integration and the violent radicals among them.
For Christians the growing Islamisation of the West can be seen as
both a challenge and an opportunity to sharpen our thinking and
renew our evangelism. As we Christians see Muslim zeal,
commitment, and willingness to sacrifice, we should be driven to
repent, to pray for revival and act boldly for God in this generation.
We need to stand firm on our Biblical foundations, beware of
compromises and reach out in love to Muslims, offering them the
Gospel of salvation in Christ.

1 Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Al-Jazeera Television (Qatar), 24 January 1999, http://www.aljazeera.net/programs/shareea/articles/2001/7/7-6-2.htm, quoted in MEMRI Special
Dispatch Series, No. 447, 6 December 2002.
2 “Krekar claims Islam will win”, Aftenposten, 13 March 2006.
3 “Islamic Europe?” The Weekly Standard, 4 October 2004; “Europe Will Be Islamic By End Of This Century Says Princeton Prof”, Free Republic, 28 July 2008.
4 “UK Population”, British Council, http://www.britishcouncil.org/diversity/race_population.html, viewed 13 January 2003.
5 “British Muslims visit Cairo and Riyadh, Jan 02”, Press Release: www.bashirkhanbhai.co.uk/cl_cairovisitjan02.htm, viewed 14 January 2004.
“We’re the ones who will change you ... Just look at the development within Europe,
where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every western woman in the
EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries
are [sic’] producing 3.5 children. By 2050, 30% of the population in Europe will be
Muslim... Our way of thinking ... will prove more powerful than yours.” [Mullah Krekar, a
Kurdish Islamist radical from Iraq, who has been granted asylum in Norway2 ]
Secularism has already undermined the Judeo-Christian basis of
Western society, and this makes it easier for radical Muslims in the
West to progress towards their goal. There are also other factors
that seem to make many Westerners ashamed of their Judeo-
Christian heritage and values. These factors include guilt and
shame about two world wars, colonialism, racism and the
Holocaust.
What is happening in the West is linked to worldwide developments
in Islam. Muslims around the globe are regaining their confidence
and promoting a resurgence of Islam. Their aim is to establish
Muslim control in politics, economics and culture in every country.
In this process the Islamic world is growing more assertive and
intolerant towards the West. This resurgence of Islam and the
increasing power of Islamism (political Islam) strongly impact
Muslim communities in the West. In response, the West is
gradually changing its structures, laws and customs to suit its
Muslim communities.
MIGRATION AND DEMOGRAPHICS
Muslims are still a minority in the West; however, their growth rate
Example: the number of Muslims in Britain
The 2001 UK census found that 1,591,126 people identified
themselves as Muslims – this amounted to 2.7% of the total
population.4 However, other estimates from Muslim bodies, NGOs
and academics suggest that the real figure was much higher. In
2002 Professor M. Anwar, head of the Centre for Research in
Ethnic Relations at the University of Warwick, calculated that the
Muslim population was 1.8 million. In 2001 the Muslim Council of
Great Britain estimated that there had been 1.7 million Muslims in
the UK in 1999. In 2002 a Government sponsored delegation of
British Muslims told senior figures in Egypt that there were about 3
million Muslims in Britain.5 British Census records have also been
criticised because vast numbers of respondents have refused to
answer the question about religious affiliation. This evidence
suggests that the government is underplaying the size of the British
Muslim population.
So even though recent government estimates have shown dramatic
increases in the size of the Muslim population from their earlier
estimates, they may still vastly underestimate the true size of the
Muslim population and should therefore be treated with caution.
7 “Bishop attacks ‘Muslim hypocrisy’”, BBC NEWS, 5 November 2006.
Christianity in the UK: rising to the challenges ii

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pastor killed by gunman

A dynamic Christian pastor has died after being shot in the head as he was leaving church, in what is being seen as a bid to intimidate converts from Islam in the strongly Islamic republic of Dagestan.
Artur Suleimanov (49), himself a convert from Islam, was murdered by a gunman who approached and opened fire as the pastor got into a car outside Hosanna House of Prayer in the capital, Makhachkala, on Thursday 15 July. He died from his wounds in hospital around an hour later. Nobody else was injured in the attack. Pastor Suleimanov leaves behind a wife, Zina, and five children, the youngest of whom is twelve years old.
Mr Suleimanov’s church is one of the largest Protestant churches in Dagestan. In a context where Christians face regular harassment and intimidation, his life had been threatened on several previous occasions.
Barnabas Fund has supported Christians in Dagestan, and our co-ordinator for the Former Soviet Union met Pastor Suleimanov a number of times. He said, “Pastor Suleimanov was a wonderful Christian brother and his shocking death is a devastating loss for the Dagestan church. He and the Hosanna House of Prayer church were very active in ministry and outreach in particular. We see his murder as an attempt to put further pressure on Christian converts in Dagestan.”
Please pray
That God will comfort and uphold Pastor Suleimanov’s family, and their large church family, in their distress and grief.

That the murderer and all those behind this horrendous incident will be brought to justice, and that they will come to faith in the Lord Jesus.

For protection over those attending Pastor Suleimanov’s funeral as well as the wider Church in Dagestan.

That Christians will not be intimidated by this act of violence.
The Russian Republic of Dagestan borders Chechnya in the turbulent North Caucasus. The population is 98 per cent Muslim, and the Church faces harassment and intimidation from various groups.
BARNABAS FUND EMAIL NEWS SERVICE

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Monday, July 19, 2010

NIGERIA: CHILDREN AMONGST INJURED IN VILLAGE ATTACK IN JOS

Mazah Village is still counting its casualties following an attack in the early hours of 16 July by armed Fulani Muslims that left an estimated ten dead and churches and homes burned to the ground.

Mazah is the ancestral home of the Anaguta people of the troubled area of Jos North, in Nigeria’s Plateau State. While the exact number of casualties is still unclear, children are known to be among those killed and seriously injured. The victims were frightened out of their homes with gun shots, then hacked with machetes by their attackers once they were outside. Similar tactics were used in attacks on the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Ratsat and Zot in March.

The attackers targeted key members of the community, focusing on the homes of the local councillor, the village head and a local church leader. During the attack, Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) Reverend Nuhu Dawat escaped with one of his children, but his wife and two other children were killed. His grandson, Nanfa, was shot in the foot, thrown in a bathroom and left to die. Fortunately, he was found by the police and taken to hospital, where he is recuperating well.

Villagers claim that although the security forces were called and arrived in time to quell the violence, they waited until the attack had ended before entering Mazah. The area is currently reported to be "quiet but tense." According to local sources, there was an unconfirmed report of another attack close to Mazah village on 18 July.

CSW National Director Stuart Windsor says, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Mazah at this sad time. Once again, unarmed and peaceful villagers have been attacked and murdered in their beds, and once again there are indications that the security forces have not taken effective action, despite being in a position to do so. We once again urge the Federal authorities to urgently and comprehensively review the current security arrangements for Plateau State in order to ensure that vulnerable communities are protected and army units unwilling or unable to fulfill their duties effectively and without bias are brought to book."

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, email kiri@csw.org.uk or visit www.csw.org.uk .

CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.

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From a pastor near Jos

Last week Muslims came from a neigbouring state of Bauchi, North of here into a small town of Maza just here in Jos and machetted one of our pastors' wife and two of his children, a boy and a daughter and 5 others, making a total of 8 persons. This pastor is one of the Pastors we had trained and was just posted to that place. We need your prayers as we try to encourage him

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

More on my last visit to my detainee friend.

I forgot to say, I wore my Hausa robe, a gift from a Muslim lady I have never met except on f/b. That opened conversation with the guards and nominal Christians there too, Nigerian and English. One does not see many of the latter in the place. Next to no English visitors except legal and chaplaincy. Staff and detainees are from all over the wold with 60% of detainees being Muslim. But I was not allowed to wear the hat which goes with the dress for security reasons. but the rule is only religious headgear. Next time I go robed I will say the hat is religious head gear. All Nigerian Muslim men should wear a hat which has no peak. You wear it to pray. A hat with a peak prevents your head from touching the ground. In Hausa a peaked cap or brimmed hat is called, 'refusing prayer'. If it is argued I am not a Muslim, I will ask, what is a Muslim but one who submits to God. I do....through his Son. Wise as serpents.....

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

My final visit to T

Back from my final visit to T. He will be deported on Wednesday, unless BA is on strike again. He cannot return for 5 years. Perhaps we will visit him in Hausaland.He hopes to marry soon. I spoke to his fiancee in Nigeria on his mobile. I read I John 1 with him in two Hausa translations and expounded the person and work of Christ. I preached the grace of God loud enough for the guards to hear in English. If I were not a Calvinist I would have asked him to pray the believers prayer. I am sure he would have, but perhaps only in kindness to me. God will irresistably call his elect and I have no business hurrying them. I prayed and we left alone. All other visitors were long gone when visitng closed at 9pm. I left a booklet for the chaplain to give to him tomorow. I could not give it to him myself due to security. It is in Hausa; the testimony of a Muslim who came to Christ.

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A good morning

A great morning hearing a security guard at TVU tell us the Spirit had told him the Holy Spirit was in our church for we are a united people. I told him to join us tomorrow and it was my word to him from the Lord. (He is Pentecostal from Ivory Coast). Then I visited the mosque for over an hour and my photo was taken with some of the leaders there. I told them I would support their planning application and asked them to support our church's too. It looks as if it will be the best building in W Ealing. £6M and not from Saudi money says the English non-Muslim architect. No call to prayer will sound from the minaret. I met the deputy mayor there, John Gallagher, the man who nearly 20 years invited me to address the London Campaign for Homosexual Equality after I had got into politics to oppose such lobbying. It was my most unusual public speaking ever. The second was my first open air sermon. That was in the shadow of the IRA memorial in Galway.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Pastor killed by gunman

From Barnabas Fund

A dynamic Christian pastor has died after being shot in the head as he was leaving church, in what is being seen as a bid to intimidate converts from Islam in the strongly Islamic republic of Dagestan.
Artur Suleimanov (49), himself a convert from Islam, was murdered by a gunman who approached and opened fire as the pastor got into a car outside Hosanna House of Prayer in the capital, Makhachkala, on Thursday 15 July. He died from his wounds in hospital around an hour later. Nobody else was injured in the attack. Pastor Suleimanov leaves behind a wife, Zina, and five children, the youngest of whom is twelve years old.
Mr Suleimanov’s church is one of the largest Protestant churches in Dagestan. In a context where Christians face regular harassment and intimidation, his life had been threatened on several previous occasions.
Barnabas Fund has supported Christians in Dagestan, and our co-ordinator for the Former Soviet Union met Pastor Suleimanov a number of times. He said, “Pastor Suleimanov was a wonderful Christian brother and his shocking death is a devastating loss for the Dagestan church. He and the Hosanna House of Prayer church were very active in ministry and outreach in particular. We see his murder as an attempt to put further pressure on Christian converts in Dagestan.”
Please pray
That God will comfort and uphold Pastor Suleimanov’s family, and their large church family, in their distress and grief.

That the murderer and all those behind this horrendous incident will be brought to justice, and that they will come to faith in the Lord Jesus.

For protection over those attending Pastor Suleimanov’s funeral as well as the wider Church in Dagestan.

That Christians will not be intimidated by this act of violence.
The Russian Republic of Dagestan borders Chechnya in the turbulent North Caucasus. The population is 98 per cent Muslim, and the Church faces harassment and intimidation from various groups.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

AFGHANISTAN: Lobby to protect Muslim background believers

From: "Relay - CSW's weekly email newsletter"

CSW staff have been working to ensure that the protection of Afghan Christians remains on the British Government’s agenda, after video footage recently exposed them publicly in May, drawing vehement opposition and threats on their lives.
Since the original broadcast, further calls from the Kabul-based TV station for the Afghan public to name other Afghan Christians from a Muslim background has greatly endangered members of the Christian community. In Afghanistan’s already precarious security situation, they face daily hardships. The Afghan Constitution is silent on these issues, which means that Shari’a law presides, and Shari’a can be interpreted as requiring the execution of apostates – those converting away from their religion.
We need you to lobby your MP to support EDM 418 – a motion urging the Afghan Government to honour its voluntary commitment to international human rights law, including freedom of religion.
>>> Lobby your MP


NORTH KOREA: EU breakthrough!
Our long-term efforts urging the UN to establish a Commission of Inquiry have seen a breakthrough! The European Parliament has recently supported calls for this important mechanism to be established within the UN, a move that would focus much greater attention on addressing serious human rights abuses in North Korea.
>>> Pray for North Korea


ERITREAN REFUGEES IN LIBYA: thank you for praying
The fast-moving situation of Eritrean refugees in Libya recently saw interventions by the Italian Government, which managed to negotiate a better deal for their welfare. But so far, for the refugees, little has changed. Please take action now so the Libyan authorities will know the world is watching.
>>> Lobby now: write to the Libyan Embassy

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Suicide - christiansquoting.org.uk

Samson crushed himself and his enemies to death beneath the ruins of a building. He can only be excused on the grounds that the Spirit of the Lord, who wrought miracles through him, had bidden him to do so. But, apart from such men excepted by the command of a just law in general or of God, the very Source of justice, in a special case, any one who kills a human being, himself or another, is guilty of murder.
Augustine, City of God, Book 1, Chapter 21, Image Books, Doubleday,1958

It is significant that in Holy Scripture no passage can be found enjoining or permitting suicide either in order to hasten our entry into immortality or to void or avoid temporal evils. God's command, "thou shalt not kill," is to be taken as forbidding self-destruction --. Augustine, City of God, Chapter 20

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. -- Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus (1955)

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
William Shakespeare. Hamlet. Act i. Sc.2

Suicide is belated acquiescence in the opinion of one's wife's relatives.-- H.L. Mencken

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Mayor's response

Dear Rev Weeks,

Thank you very much for your letter to the Mayor, which has been passed to me to respond to.

I am sorry you have been so inconvenienced about access to the Church for your congregation on Sunday July 18th. Please be assured that the road closure plans are very much 'worst case' and we will do all we can to facilitate individual arrangements on the day.

We are working closely with many local business to ensure no one is too inconvenienced by the event and I would have hoped we could have discussed your concerns before your open letter.

A member of the production team Limelight Sports will be in touch with you by tomorrow to discuss with you the times of the services and what access arrangements are required and hopefully reach a suitable compromise.

In relation to the other points you raise, no one 'expects' the roads to be closed for them. This event is aimed at new and occasional cyclists. It aims to offer them a chance to experience their local area by bike and to discover what local and regional trips can easily be made by bicycle and to challenge people's preconceptions about cycling in terms of distance, effort and accessibility.

In relation to your concern for local trading, experience from 2009 in Hounslow showed a dramatic increase in trade in the business around the route on the Sunday the event was stage - over 10,000 people, who might not otherwise have been there, were on the borough streets and frequenting local businesses.

Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me direct.

Yours sincerely


Daire Basra
Senior Events Officer

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An open letter to the Mayor of London concerning Skyride in Ealing this coming Sunday

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I write concerning the Mayor of London’s Skyride in Ealing this coming Sunday.

I cycled regularly in London from my undergraduate days in Bloomsbury in the Sixties until the Nineties when I was a Conservative councilor in this borough for eight years. Commuting by cycle was healthier, cheaper and usually quicker than by motorised public or private transport.

But I never expected roads to be closed for me, parking suspended, buses diverted and other people inconvenienced so that I could cycle with fewer safety concerns.

I have in the past few days spent several hours ascertaining how the congregation of our church will be able to get to our meeting place off The Park. Public information has been very sparse for those of us who live outside the Skyride area but wish to travel into it to worship. I have had to search the websites of Skyride, Ealing Council and Transport for London to find information, which has sometimes been unclear and contradictory. I have had to phone the town hall so that a disabled member can drive to church and park there. Hers will be the only car in the car park. The rest of the motoring congregation will have to find spaces on streets crammed with displacement parking.

There has been to my knowledge no consideration given neither to the needs of worshipping Christians nor to those businesses operating on Sunday. I hope It has not escaped your notice that there is Sunday trading these days as well as Christian worship. Tell me Mr. Mayor, would you close roads around a mosque on a Friday without telling the Imam? So why this secularist and anti-business approach to this coming Sunday in Ealing?

You, sir, will not I trust have forgotten how your predecessor in the office of mayor lost many votes in this borough with his unlamented failed plan for trams along the Uxbridge Road. Do you really think that Skyride will be a vote winner?

Yours faithfully,

The Reverend Graham Weeks
(Chairman of the Borough of Ealing Environment Committee 1992-93.)

P.S. I will be informing Sky that if they continue to inconvenience me in this way they will lose my custom like you will lose my vote.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Daddy, how was I born ?'

A little boy goes to his father and asks 'Daddy, how was I born ?'

The father answers, 'Well, son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway! Your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo. Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Momand we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, andgoogled each other. There your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive. As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button , nine months later a little Pop-Up appeared that said:


Scroll down...You'll love this ........
















'You got Male!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy Birthday to my favourite Frenchman, b. 11 Jul. 1509

Nature as the architect of the universe, he suppresses the name of God.- John Calvin

Every one of us is, even from his mother's womb, a master craftsman of idols. John Calvin

A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.... John Calvin (1509-1564)

Ambition is the mother of all Heresies...Almost all corruptions of doctrine flow from the pride of men. - John Calvin (Acts 20:30)
Assuredly there is but one way in which to achieve what is not merely difficult but utterly against human nature: to love those who hate us, to repay their evil deeds with benefits, to return blessings for reproaches. It is that we remember not to consider men's evil intention but to look upon the image of God in them, which cancels and effaces their transgressions, and with its beauty and dignity allures us to love and embrace them.- John Calvin

At this day, the earth sustains on her bosom many monster minds, minds which are not afraid to employ the seed of Deity deposited in human nature as a means of suppressing the name of God. Can anything be more detestable than this madness in man, who, finding God a hundred times both in his body and his soul, makes his excellence in this respect a pretext for denying that there is a God? He will not say that chance has made him different from the brutes; but, substituting Nature as the architect of the universe, he suppresses the name of God.- John Calvin

more at http://www.christiansquoting.org.uk/quotes_by_author_c.htm

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Never trust a journalist

A Harley biker is riding by the zoo in Washington, DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.


The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.


Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, 'Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I've seen a man do in my whole life.'

The Harley rider replies, 'Why, it was nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger and acted as I felt right.'

The reporter says, 'Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this story on the front page...
So, what do you do for a living and what political affiliation do you have?'

The biker replies, 'I'm a U.S. Marine and a Republican.'

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads, on the front page:



U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT
AND STEALS HIS LUNCH


That pretty much sums up the media's approach to the news these days

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America’s Revolution: The Prequel

New York Times
Op-Ed Contributor

America’s Revolution: The Prequel

By ADRIAN TINNISWOOD

Published: July 2, 2010

Bath, England
PICTURE the scene: Out of the dawn mist, a fleet of longboats glides across the water, packed full of musket-wielding patriots and weather-beaten Massachusetts militiamen. Standing in the prow of the lead boat, like Washington crossing the Delaware, is a man with long flowing hair and a blood-red banner emblazoned with two words: Vincat veritas. Truth Conquers.
But it’s not Washington, and it’s not the American Revolution. In fact, it’s not even America. This daring amphibious assault by Col. Thomas Rainborowe and his regiment of New Englanders took place 3,000 miles away, in old England, and in 1644, more than 130 years before those famous shots were fired at Lexington to herald what we Brits insist on calling the War of American Independence.
It is a fact rarely discussed on either side of the Atlantic that American colonists played a crucial role in the English Civil War, the bitter struggle between King Charles I and Parliament that tore England apart in the 1640s. The English Revolution — and that is just what it was — can be interpreted in all kinds of ways: as a religious fight between pathologically earnest Puritans and the Catholic-leaning bishops of the Church of England; as an uprising by a nascent merchant class determined to throw off the shackles of medieval feudalism; as right-but-repulsive Roundheads bashing the wrong-but-romantic Cavaliers.
It was all those things. But it was also a battle against the arbitrary tyranny of the crown that prefigured America’s own struggle for independence. And hundreds of American colonists cared enough about that struggle to sail back across the vast Atlantic, to build a city upon a hill — not in the frightening, alien landscape of Massachusetts but in the familiar fields and townships of England.
Most of these men were linked by friendship, business or marriage to the Rainborowes, a charismatic clan of English merchant-mariners, pioneers and visionaries who moved back and forth between the Old World and the New in the 1630s and 1640s.
Stephen Winthrop — the son of Gov. John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and a revolutionary who was once described as “a great man for soul liberty” — married Judith Rainborowe, the daughter of Thomas’s brother William. (Winthrop’s father later married Judith’s sister — which, by my reckoning, made the governor both grandfather and uncle to Stephen’s children.) The younger Winthrop decided he couldn’t stand on the sidelines in the colonies when there was a righteous fight in England; he enlisted as a captain in the Parliamentary Army and never returned to America.
Nehemiah Bourne, a Boston shipbuilder, had once been the Rainborowes’ neighbor in London; he too sailed back to fight the crown. Israel Stoughton, who captained the Dorchester militia in the Pequot wars of the 1630s, was a friend of William’s. William himself sold his farmstead in Charlestown to return to England, and Bourne and Stoughton served as officers in the Parliamentary Army under Thomas, whose regiment was packed with colonists. They were with him when he launched the daring amphibious assault on a Royalist garrison in the east of England in 1644 that made these “New-England men” famous all over the country.
The interesting thing about these colonists was their radicalism, their revolutionary fervor. They were Puritans — but they were more than that. They were merchant-venturers, looking for new markets and business opportunities. They were more than that, too. They were idealists, who went to extraordinary lengths and traveled extraordinary distances to fight for the chance to build a fairer society.
These were the men who, when the Parliamentarians had all but won the war and Charles I was imprisoned, pressed Oliver Cromwell and the other Roundhead grandees to sweep away the old order. To change the world. William Rainborowe asserted that there could be no compromise when it came to “the rights and freedoms of the people.” Thomas, who was greatly influenced by the radical colonists in his regiment, hoped the new regime would at least extend the limited male suffrage that was being adopted throughout the New England colonies. But he also pushed hard for the grandees to take it further and grant the vote to all men — something that wouldn’t be achieved in Britain for another 270 years.
Thomas declared, “I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government.”
His words still have power, even after all this time; they could have been spoken by Jefferson. And as the skies light up this Fourth of July, consider this great paradox of history: while the English Revolution owed so much to America, the first shots in the American War of Independence were fired in England.
(Adrian Tinniswood, the author of “The Verneys: A True Story of Love, War and Madness in 17th-Century England,” is working on a book about the Rainborowe family.)

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