Obama’s Grandmother Cancels Seventh-Day Adventist Baptism

The Kenya Sunday Nation has a story about Barack Obama’s Kenyan grandmother:

Attempts to convert US President Barack Obama’s grand mother to Christianity flopped on Saturday at the 11th hour after family members opposed the move.

Although Mama Sarah Obama had dressed up for the day, her son, Saidi Obama, and other family members were adamant that she would not attend a baptism ceremony organised by the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA).

…”I did not understand why they were asking her to attend a Christian ceremony, yet she is a Muslim. I thought her presence in the church would not add any value,” Mr Saidi said.

…On Saturday, SDA Pastor Tom Obuya arrived at Mama Sarah’s Nyang’oma Kogello home to take her to the Jomo Kenyatta Sports ground where the ceremony was to take place. However, he found she had changed her mind on instructions from Mr Saidi.

For WorldNetDaily, this is obviously a good excuse for another piece hinting that Barack Obama is really a Kenyan Muslim:

When Pastor Tom Obuya arrived at Mama Sarah’s Nyang’oma Kogello home, he was told she would not be accomplanying him to the Christian service.

“Mama Sarah had assured us that she was converting, and we were ready to baptize her today, but it seems the family has prevailed upon her,” said Pastor Obuya.

Where’s the proof Barack Obama was born in the U.S. or that he fulfills the “natural-born American” clause in the Constitution? If you still want to see it, join more than 360,000 others and sign the petition demanding proof of eligibility now!

A February report in an Adventist magazine called Record adds some further details:

According to Dr John Jeremic, director of Amazing Discoveries, “If Mrs Obama’s plans and prayers are realised, she will be baptised during an Amazing Discoveries Crusade planned for the west Kenyan re-gion in March.”

Dr Jeremic, along with Central Nyansa Field secretary Pastor Tom Obuya, visited Mrs Obama in November, 2008. “We had a warm welcome, finding Mrs Obama andher grandson, Raphael, in the house,” saysPastor Obuya. “Despite the fact that we’d made no appointment, Jesus made every-thing possible for us.”

Dr Jeremic says, “Mrs Obama was a delightful and gracious lady. She lives in a neat home, with many photos of her fam-ily around her.”

Jeremic is apparently a Melbourne businessman with a long-standing interest in African evangelism. He is the subject of a biography, Africa: They Were There, by Lee Dunstan.

Throw the Turk off the Boat

polish-maths

From the Polish News:

“How would you place Christians and Turks on a sinking ship so that only the latter drowned?”, reads a problem in a math textbook for Poland’s primary school pupils.

“On board a sinking ship there are fifteen Christians and fifteen Turks. In order to save the ship from going to the bottom, half of the crew needs to be thrown overboard. One of the Christians proposes that the whole crew form a circle and every ninth person jump overboard. How should the Christians place themselves so that only the Turks are drowned?” reads a problem, quoted the lay Catholic newspaper Tygodnik Powszechny.

Apparently the textbook – Miniatury matematyczne 12, or The Mathematical Miniatures for Primary Schools – has been around since 2004, and has only just become a centre of controversy. It is published by the Aksjomat Publishing House of Torun (not to be confused with another publishing house of the same name in Krakow), and the co-author, Piotr Nodzynski (var. Piotr Nodzy?ski), claims that no anti-Turkish sentiment was intended. The original Polish article can be seen here; a second report in English adds:

The chairman of the Association Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, Jerzy Jedlicki, said the textbook must never fall into the hands of children, because of its racist views.

…According to Jedlicki, there is a growing tendency in Poland to encourage nationalist sentiment in children, and promote the idea that ethnic Poles should have more rights than those of other religions or nationalities.

“Such ideas form a false understanding in children’s minds, which later grows into hatred and discrimination,” Jedlicki said.

…Nodzynski said that the textbook has been published in English, German, French and Russian and is still on sale in bookstores.

From what I could glean from an internet machine translation of the Polish article, another of the book’s co-authors, Zbigniew Bobi?ski, says he warned that this particular passage was a bad idea, but he was ignored.

(Hat tip: Andrew Brown)

More on Luton Protest

Tabloid Watch casts an eye over the Daily Star’s coverage of recent events in Luton:

Today’s [15 April] front page has a small teaser story headed ‘St George ban anger’. It’s continuation inside reads St George banned but it’s okay for Muslims to abuse our troops.

And just about everything about this story is provably untrue.

Let’s take the headline. St George has not been banned. Indeed, there is a two-day event celebration taking place at Wrest Park. Two days from 10am-6pm. That’s a lot of St George if he’s ‘banned’. And as this and this shows, there was a similar celebration last year too.

The “St George banned” part has since been removed from the headline. As I blogged a couple of days ago, an application for a St George’s Day parade through Luton was recently made by Paul Ray, the pro-BNP anti-Muslim blogger known as “Lionheart”. Due to lack of details the application was rejected by the local council, and as a result there was a protest on Monday, which apparently attracted a number of football supporters. The Star claims that one protestor had two teeth knocked out by the police. The protestors, and the Star, contrasted the fate of the proposed march with the recent counter-protest by a small number of Islamists against a military parade. According to the local Herald and Post (16 April p.11):

Demostrators waved placards blaming Luton Borough Council for extremists being able to hold a protest, but the authority said yesterday it had never sanctioned their presence at the March 10 parade…

A report at Bedford Today adds:

The protestors were demanding someone in authority be held to account for a group of Islamic extremists being allowed to demonstrate during the parade by the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment on March 10, which resulted in ugly clashes that hit the national headlines.

…Six arrests were made during the afternoon, but a spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said none of them were protestors. One, a 17-year-old who threw a brick at a police officer on horseback, was charged with possessing an offensive weapon and will appear at Luton Magistrates Court on April 21. The others were involved in an assault and public order offences and bailed by police.

Strangely, there is no mention of anyone losing two teeth as a result of police violence, despite this being a dramatic and topical detail.

Tabloid Watch also notes:

As an aside, I would like to point out that a man called Glen Jenvey is a member of Paul Ray’s ‘St George & D-day in Luton’ Facebook group. Is it really him?

Indeed it is – Ray was at one point a strong defender of Jenvey against the claim he had made bogus postings to Muslim websites in order to create tales of extremists he then sold to tabloids; in January he complained that the evidence had been concocted by “some obscure blog that is full of lies, hate and denials” (that would be Bloggerheads) and a Muslim extremist. However, as the evidence against Jenvey piled up – and as his behaviour became more erratic – Ray has become silent on the subject. Perhaps he’s taken his lead from Jeremy Reynalds, who wrote a strange piece defending Jenvey. His article was soon after quietly removed from the original source, and Reynalds has since put a bit of distance between himself and his former collaborator.

Jenvey does not have many Facebook friends – just Ray, Dave Smeeton of “March for England” and a couple of others. Jenvey’s involvement is not encouraging – he recently sent Tim Ireland an email threatening physical violence for investigating his activities.

Private Eye Review Slams OUP Book on Scientology

The perenially-acerbic “Literary Review” section of the latest Private Eye (1234, p.26) takes aim at Scientology, a new volume from the Oxford University Press edited by James R. Lewis – a scholar whose credibily was damaged in 1995 when the Aum Supreme Truth group flew him out to Japan to tell journalists that there was no way they could have been responsible for the sarin gas Tokyo subway attack. Scientology appears to be true to form:

In the opening essay…J. Gordon Melton sets out “an overview of the life of L. Ron Hubbard anchored by the generally agreed facts”. The general tone can be deduced from this conclusion: “After a suitable pause to acknowledge the founder’s life and accomplishments, the church continued its forward march. In another chapter, David G. Bromley claims that “the basic outline of L. Ron Hubbard’s life is not contested”.

In fact, of course, it very much is contested. Further:

 …Evidence of editorial mumbo-jumbo comes thick and fast. On page four, editor James R. Lewis lambasts an unnamed critic of Scientology for being a computer scientist rather than a sociologist or a religious studies scholar. Yet at the very end of the book there is an astonishingly uncritical essay…co-authored by…a senior lecturer in, er, “tourism management”.

This highlights an on-going problem with the study of certain groups – scholars naturally want to understand what makes a group tick, and that means attempting a bit of empathy that goes beyond dismissing those who hold unusual religious views as simply being manipulated or just weird. There is also an understandable wish to create distance from polemical “anti-cult” groups that sometimes have religious agendas of their own. However, it should also be noted that cooperative religious groups can provide academics with never-ending streams of data for articles and books; publish something too critical, and that research source is likely to be cut off. Also, writing critically can be problematic due to libel law: in the UK, a volume of edited essays entitled Harmful Religion was pulped by the publisher after threats from a group called the Bruderhof; in the USA, an evangelical Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions had to fend off a libel suit from the Local Church.

In the wake of the Aum fiasco, psychologist Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi spoke out:

In light of what we have witnessed we are forced to re-read, our eyes fresh with suspicion, the whole corpus of NRM [New Religious Movements] literature…Recent and less recent NRM catastrophes help us realize that in every single case allegations by hostile outsiders and detractors have been closer to reality than any other accounts. Ever since the Jonestown tragedy, statements by ex-members turned out to be more accurate than those of apologists and NRM researchers. The reality revealed in the cases of People’s Temple, Rajneesh International, Vajradhatu, the Nation of Yahweh, the Branch Davidians, the Faith Assembly, Aum Shinrykio, the Solar Temple, or Heaven’s Gate is much more than unattractive; it is positively horrifying. In every case of NRM disasters over the past 50 years, starting with Krishna Venta (Beit-Hallahmi, 1993), we encounter a hidden world of madness and exploitation in a totalitarian, psychotic, group, whose reality is actually even worse than detractors’ allegations.

The happy consensus, shared by colleagues I admire and to whom I will always be in debt, turns out to be, on closer examination, a rhetoric of advocacy, apologetics and propaganda. The advocacy and apologetics agenda creates an impoverished discourse, denying the madness, passion, and exploitation involved in NRMs, and leads to an intellectual dead end. The real issue is how a community of brilliant scholars committed itself to this kind of NRM advocacy…

Protest in Luton over St. George’s Day Event Decision

The lastest from Luton, where a protest by self-described English “patriots” took place on Bank Holiday Monday:

Police in Luton were out in the town on Easter Monday to ensure an illegal protest organised via the Internet passed peacefully.

The protest involved approximately 150 members of the public who wished to march in Luton.

None of the protesters were arrested but six people are being held in custody for causing disturbances elsewhere in the town centre.

The report – from the Luton and Dunstable Express – quotes the police as complaining that the protestors had not contacted them or the council before the event.

The only other reports on the incident appear in the Daily Star, a sensationalist tabloid which likes to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment with dubious reporting (I blogged on one story here). Alas, it’s the only source available on this particular subject. One piece  – inevitably headlined “It’s OK for Muslims to Abuse Our Troops” –  tells us that:

…While fanatical Muslims were given the green light to gather and scream insults when the Royal Anglian Regiment returned from Iraq last month, an application for a St George’s Day celebration this month was turned down.

I blogged on this decision here. The Star continues:

Approval has also been granted for events to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed and the death of his grandson.

Many Luton residents complaining of “double standards” were further angered when a rally to protest at the council’s decisions two days ago was stopped and then broken up by police.

Craig McKoy, 22, claims he had two teeth smashed in by a policeman’s truncheon during the event.

He said: “I don’t have any problem at all with large-scale Muslim celebrations on the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.

“But why can’t other people be given the same rights, especially as I don’t think Muslims would have a problem with a St George’s Day celebration either?”

Another report in the same paper adds:

POLICE broke up a march yesterday by British people wanting to “reclaim” their streets from Muslim fanatics.

Riot police with horses and dogs sealed off the town centre before scuffles broke out and several of the 200 demonstrators were arrested.

…Sean Smith, 32, said: “I saw one guy who shouted ‘let us march’ and a policeman whacked him with his truncheon and knocked two of his teeth out.”

No Youtube footage has yet appeared, but the subject of police violence is rather topical just now [UPDATE: Some footage has now been posted, although there is no evidence there of police violence; UPDATE 2: Paul Ray has now posted a photograph showing an injured mouth with missing teeth].

Plans for the St. George’s Day event developed after a proposed counter-protest to the Islamist provocation was abandoned when its organiser came to fear that the far-right and football hooligans would hijack the event. However, McKoy is black, and he says that protestors carried banners attacking the far-right National Front.

So who organised the Easter Monday protest? A report at Hope Not Hate written a few days before has some background to one of those involved:

…In wades Peter Fehr to announce another march on Bank Holiday Monday, 13 April. In an email to supporters he does a reasonable job of organising the event, saying:

“This Demo is being well publicised all over Great Britain and over 20,000 people are expected to descend to Luton on the 13th April to show their disgust towards Muslim extremists. So please attend and bring friends, relatives and work colleges, and show your support by bringing along a Union Jack flag. The 13th is on Easter Monday, so this is a bank holiday, so no excuses, turn-up and show your support.”

On the other hand, later in the email he goes to some lengths to distance the BNP from the event, saying:

“I MUST STRESS THAT THIS DEMO IS NOT BEING ORGANIZED BY THE BNP. Please do not wear any BNP badges if you plan on going to this event.”

…A flyer for the march on the 13th was sent to the Searchlight offices on Blood and Honour notepaper. On it was a phone number, which turned out to be that of NF activist Stuart Hollingdale, the person who was jailed for three months in 1999 for daubing the Stephen Lawrence memorial with white paint. Hollingdale said that his erstwhile NF chum, none other than BNP parish councillor Simon Deacon, was briefing him on events in Luton.

Fehr’s involvement is not mentioned in either of the Star‘s reports. Fehr is a former BNP activist who has supposedly “retired” from campaigning.

As for the St. George’s Day event, I’ve explained some of the causes for concern about that (which is not the same as saying it should not be allowed) in previous blog entries: in particular, the main organiser is Paul Ray (“Lionheart”), an inflammatory pro-BNP blogger (“you should not judge these people who God is doing a work with and through”) who makes no distinction between moderate and extremist Muslims. Ray (who has featured on this blog a number of times, and whom even Little Green Footballs considers excessive) also expresses solidarity with a local group of football supporters called the “Luton Town MIGs“, which has a reputation for violence; Hope Not Hate describes him as ” a lynchpin for the various strands of nationalism in the area – from the football-orientated Luton MIGs…to those drawn into BNP membership”. While I’m sure that McKoy is law-abiding, his Facebook profile is an English flag with the word “MIG Crew” written on it (Apparently “MIG” refers to the Russian fighter plane; the claim that it stands for “Men in Gear” comes from rival groups, presumably as a taunt of some kind).

Also involved with the plans for the St. George’s Day event were elements from the “March for England” (MFE) organisation, which I blogged on here. MFE is run by Dave Smeeton, who has a similar Facebook profile picture that advertises the “6.57 Crew”. This is a Portsmouth group of the same kind as the MIGs, although in the comments to my blog entry here he expresses irritation that I might think this choice of profile picture might mean he is a member or supporter:

A picture of a me and a flag does not mean i was 6,57…Does me being in the Cubs or Boys Brigade long ago i know. Have any relevence to your spin? NO. I am in my 50s with 5 grown up children and 8 granchildren. If i had any connections to the 6,57 that would have been 30 years ago.So if i had what relevence is 30 years ago?

Smeeton adds:

You are still under the delusion we are anti muslim. We have only ever turned up to protest at one event which has attracted Radical Islam. The Al Quds event had and was part organised by an extremist group both Blair and Brown said they would ban. But no suprise they never did.

99% of March for Englands events have nothing to do with Islam but are directed at the Goverment or are in support of our troops. Our Rememberance at the Cenetaph in London every Nov.Our St Georges Parades is used to raise money for forces charities.

…I can safely say we have controled all our marches and protests. There has never been an arrest on one of our events. Myself and our Stewards monitor our events carefully. We also work closely with the Police to ensure we steward our events as they ask. This is the reason why we to date have had no problem putting on our events.

To make it crystal clear we do everything within the law informing the Police and gaining all relevent permission. If we where a violent group the Police would not allow our events due to public order concerns.

Smeeton believes that I wish deliberately to misrepresent MFE; I have responded to his complaint here.

Pastor Brunson vs a Blogger

Pastor Mac Brunson of the First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, explains how to deal with conflict at church, in The New Guidebook for Pastors (p. 203, co-authored with James W. Bryant), 2007:

Conflict, at heart, is a spiritual matter that involves spiritual warfare. Frank Peretti’s book This Present Darkness is a classic novel about this issue. It is important for the pastor to recognize spiritual warfare and to use the spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6 to fight it. Just be sure you do not fight people. We wrestle not against flesh and blood.

Pastor Mac Brunson describes a church member who wrote a critical blog about him, 2009:

But Brunson said Rich’s persistent criticism over nearly two years indicates the writer has an “obsessive compulsive problem” and is “not very stable at all,” Brunson said.

“What you’re dealing with is a sociopath,” Brunson said.

Brunson employed earthly rather than spiritual means against his opponent, who was blogging anonymously; Jacksonville.com reports:

A blogger critical of First Baptist Church Pastor Mac Brunson wants to know why his Web site was investigated by a police detective who is also a member of the minister’s security detail.

Thomas A. Rich also wants the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to explain what suspected crimes led Detective Robert Hinson to open the probe into his once-anonymous Web site.

Rich also wants to know why Hinson revealed his name to the church despite finding no wrongdoing. Hinson obtained a subpoena from the State Attorney’s Office requiring Google Inc. to reveal the author of the blog.

Alas, however, Hinson’s actions now mean that Rich’s blog is now of international interest. His list of concerns about the church are summarized in this entry. They include the following, all expressed coherently and rationally:

I saw long-term pastors leave while we were told that “God called” them somewhere else…only to find that actually they were fired and some were treated very disrespectfully in their departure after decades of faithful service.

I saw nepotism on full display, with family members put on staff without the congregation being told their ministry titles or responsibilities.

I saw a video testimony featuring the business owned by the sons of the man who gave the $307,000 land gift be played smack dab in the middle of the preacher’s sermon. It looked like quid-pro-quo, pay-for-play, of the worst kind.

I then began to watch the preacher begin to display an attitude toward his congregation of condescension and anger, saying abusive things to his congregation as standard fare in his sermons. I heard of large salaries totaling near $500,000 per year total compensation for Team Brunson. I watched the church sponsor a non-Christian event called “Time to Stand For Israel” that had ties to bio-medical research firms, raising money for an Israeli hospital at which abortions were performed.

The First Baptist Church in Jacksonville is one of the better-known conservative evangelical churches in the USA; the former pastor, Jerry Vines, achieved fame with his comment that Muhammad was “a demon-possessed pedophile”.

(Hat tip: Bene Diction)

WorldNetDaily Sense of Proportion Fail

Here:

A self-described Christian 12-year-old boy who dared post his views on same-sex marriage on the popular Internet video site, YouTube, has since been ridiculed and insulted by tens of thousands of comments that attack the boy, his sexuality and his faith.

Read how Christian heroes of the past have bravely faced their persecutors with a faith that overcomes in “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,” newly updated with stories from as recent as 2001.

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is an overview of Christians who were killed for their faith, with a particular emphasis on Protestant Christians who were killed in England during the reign of Queen Mary in the sixteenth century. Method of execution was usually burning to death, rather than the infliction of mocking and abusive comments.

More on Marches in Luton

From Bedford Today:

A blogger arrested for inciting racial hatred last year has had his request to hold a St George’s Day march rejected by Luton Borough Council.

Dunstable man Paul Ray was arrested last year by Bedfordshire Police for allegedly inflammatory comments made on his online diary website, Lionheart, and is currently on bail.

…A spokesperson for the authority said Mr Ray had provided scant information about the organisation of the event.

As I blogged at the time, Ray’s arrest briefly made him a  “free-speech martyr” for American Conservatives obsessed with the idea that the UK is under Muslim control; alas, however, he was quickly dropped when pro-BNP sentiments (which he has since supposedly repudiated, although see below) came to light. He has made much of his supposed persecution since his arrest, and he apparently sought political asylum in the USA and at one point relocated to Cyprus.

However, according to a comment he recently made on his blog responding to another commentator, he’s not on police bail after all:

I think you will find i am no longer under investigation or on police bail so that statement is unfounded and baseless, and could also be libelous…

So why did the paper think he was? And why does his blog carry a longer version of the Bedford Today article without adding any correction on this point?

Ray’s request for a march came in the wake of the cancellation of an event planned to demonstrate support for British troops who had been verbally abused by a small group of Islamic extremists during a parade last month. The organiser, James Yeomans, changed his mind when he came to believe that far-right elements intended to hijack it for their own purposes.

In particular, Yeomans was unhappy with support from “March for England”, a group which I blogged on here, and with which Ray has links. Last autumn, March for England took part in a counter-protest against an Islamist rally in London; both the Islamists and an anti-Islamist far-left group claim there were some racist comments, although this was denied by Potkin Azarmehr, the counter-protest’s Iranian dissident organiser. March for England’s organiser, Dave Smeeton, left comments on this blog also denying any racism:

March for England are not anti Muslim. We only protest against extremists who threaten our country. Be that Radical Islam , or any other terror groups.

We where going to luton to show our support to our troops.Our members turn out in there home towns to welcome home our Heroes. Most of your report is bases on hearsay. Never once has any chant or shout on our marches or protests included the word white!!!..

…As stated we have nothing against main stream muslims or any other religion. We have links with sihks and asians etc. But we will not stand idle as Choudry Hamza Bakri and co seek to use terror and unrest on our streets. The same as we opposed the IRA and there splinter groups in the 80s

…From what i know of Far right groups in this Country none would be seen next to or holding the Star of david Flag,or working with Potkin or fighting to get an ethnic group to stay in this country and to have have the same rights as British servicmen that ethnic group being the Gurkhas, To be honest i am offended by your half truths and lies in the above artical. But as usual anybody proud of there troops,Country,history and identity are fair game to be slandered.

Smeeton also promised to “look into” a pro-BNP link on the group’s website that I had noted. Of course, it’s quite possible that the racist comments reported were made up or misheard, or were made by rogue elements. I should also add that I have no wish to “slander” or tell “half truths and lies” about anyone, and that any concerns I raise are I think those that any outside observer might reasonably make.

However, there’s still cause for alarm: Smeeton’s Facebook profile features him standing in front of an England flag on which is inscribed: “Pompey 657 No Surrender”. “Pompey” is a reference to Portsmouth, and “657” is a reference to the “6.57 Crew”, a group of local football supporters who would catch the earliest train out of Portsmouth (at 6.57 am) to away matches. While I am sure that Smeeton is completely law-abiding and would be opposed to any excesses [UPDATE: he clarifies this to some extent in a comment below], it should be noted that the 6.57 Crew has a reputation for violent football hooliganism, and it has been the subject of three books. Here’s the cover of one:

657

Charming.

According to the blurb:

6.57…three numbers that are synonymous with the dark world of football hooliganism.

The 6.57 crew were the violent faction that attached itself to Portsmouth Football Club during the 1980’s and reeked havoc the length and breadth of the country…

And here’s the first part of a documentary on the subject. I wonder why Yeomans and authorities in Luton might be feeling rather hesitant?

Meanwhile, PaulRay/Lionheart explains the Christian basis for his belligerence against Muslims (and unlike Smeeton he makes no “extremist” distinction) in his comments, in an argument against a liberal remonstrator:

When I see that Moslem selling heroin to my neighbour as part of their Jihad to rule the World what do i do

Turn the other cheek and walk on the other side of the road like you?

Or do i take the good Samaritan approach?

That’s a rather unusual New Testament mash-up, although Ray goes on to explain that he does not need to be “accountable to a Church”. He also praises Nick Griffin’s Easter message, which he describes “very very good and inspirational”, and goes on to commend the BNP:

It seems that they are the only ones willing to defend and uphold Christianity in this country, as for me i will trust in God to bring about the changes within them to make them the people He wants them to be. As you know there is nothing impossible with Him, and you should not judge these people who God is doing a work with and through.

Griffin’s message is an Easter Sunday call for British Christians to revive their Crusader past in order to oppose Muslims. “Jesus”, “Christ”, and “Resurrection” do not appear to be subjects of interest, and these words are absent from his sermon. Ray also expresses sympathy with a local football hooligan group, the “MIGs” (widely known as the “Men in Gear”, although “MIG” apparently actually refers to the Russian fighter plane):

With regards to the MIG’s, they are born and bred Luton, and this is their community where this is unfolding, and i would rather stand on their side of the fence than your side of the fence any day of the week because they see the World around them the same as I do, only i now have my faith in Jesus Christ.

No Redress for Stupidity

An alarmingly stupid document has been doing the rounds online that purports to reveal “Israel’s agents of influence in Britain”. The author – known only as “Redress Information & Analysis“-  has collated a list of names of persons publicly associated with pro-Israel groups, including a number of British Christian Zionist organisations (which is why I came across it). As research it is incredibly lame, being simply a cut-and-paste from websites “revealing” the names of persons who are already well-known for supporting Israel anyway. And as analysis it is a joke – people support Israel for all kinds of reasons, and the idea that they must be “Israel’s agents” is as nonsensical as the suggestion that anyone who is pro-Palestinian must be “Palestine’s agents”. Further, the claim that they are “of influence” is simply a meaningless assertion.

Articles on the same site describe these persons as “Israel’s stooges”, and this abusive term is now popping up on some of the dimmer pro-Palestinian websites that have been impressed by the document.

Strange Email from Jerusalem Connection Arrives on Good Friday

On Good Friday, an email arrives from American Christian Zionist outfit “Jerusalem Connection”:

jerusalem-connection-passover

Weirdly, depite the title “That His name may be declared in all the earth”, the article makes absolutely no mention of Jesus or of anything in the New Testament. Instead, the proximate occasion of the Jewish festival of Passover is used to launch a belligerent diatribe against Obama’s Israel policy.

This trend towards Christian fundamentalist appropriation of aspects of Judaism is something I’ve blogged on previously; I’ve also recently noted the Jerusalem Connection’s hope that Spanish and Portuguese citizens who discover they have Jewish DNA will convert to Judaism and move to Israel, rather than become Christians. I’m not interested in theological arguments, but from a historical perspective this is clearly a very strange form of Christianity largely disconnected from the religion’s historic concerns and priorities.