Some Memorable Quotes

Memorable Quotes

Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everybody is writing a book”

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child”

If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it”

Politicians are not born; they are excreted”

What is morally wrong can never be advantageous, even when it enables you to make some gain that you believe to be to your advantage. The mere act of believing that some wrongful course of action constitutes an advantage is pernicious”

For books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past, the reason why men worked and died, the essence of their lives”

We must not say that every mistake is a foolish one”

Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century: Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others; Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected; Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it; Refusing to set aside trivial preferences; Neglecting the development and refinement of the mind; Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do”

A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banners openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear”

All of the above quotes are from Marcus Tullius Cicero, born January 3rd 106 BC, died December 7th 43 BC aged 63; Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, poet, political theorist, consul and constitutional theorist and is the traditional master of Latin prose, credited with transforming Latin from a modest utilitarian language into a versatile literary medium capable of expressing abstract and complicated thoughts with precision and clarity. Jefferson named Cicero as one of a handful of figures who contributed to the tradition of public rights.

He still speaks to us from across a two thousand year bridge.

Not With a Bang, but a Whimper…?

According to the Pew Research Center poll on Religion in Public Life, the Christian share of the US population is declining while the number of adults who do not identify with any organized religion is increasing. The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014 and the percentage of unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular”) increased from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014; the drop in the Christian population registered mostly among mainline Protestants and Catholics, each of which shrunk by approximately 3% since 2007. The evangelical Protestant share has also declined but at a lower rate of about 1% in the same time period. The unaffiliated are also getting younger; the median age has dropped from 38 in 2007 to 36 in 2014; contrast this with the median age of mainline Protestants at 52 from one of 50 in 2007 and that of Catholics to 49, up from 45 in 2007.

While the percentage of people who identify themselves as Christians in the US remains the largest in the world, the results of the poll indicate a definite downward trend that has provoked concern and alarm among the religious leaders of the various Christian denominations in the country. The results should not have come as a surprise; a cursory examination of the country’s religious landscape shows mostly complacent congregations entertained by music best described as mod and listening to mild and sometimes amusing sermons better suited to a safe and orderly world. But the world is neither safe nor orderly; while we listen to the occasional joke from the pulpit, in the Middle East Christians are being slaughtered for no other reason that they are Christians with nary a word of indignation preached to the congregations, with the exception of perhaps offering a prayer as an afterthought.

The fact is that today, the world’s largest group of people persecuted for their faith are Christians; they are being killed, brutalized, tortured and sold as slaves, robbed of their good reputation and threatened solely because they are Christians. Where is the outrage, where are the demonstrations and marches? Where are the thunderous sermons? Where are the pickets in front of the diplomatic offices of the countries that notoriously persecute, terrorize and brutalize Christians?

While we fret about political correctness, Islamic savages murdered 21 Egyptian Christian Copts in Libya by cutting their throats as if they were slaughtering cattle. In 2013, in Kenya, Islamic terrorists cornered people in a Nairobi shopping center and after instructing Muslims to leave, shot the remaining non-Muslims, killing 39 and wounding 150. During the 2014 ISIS offensive in Iraq, the savages issued a decree in July demanding that all indigenous Assyrian Christians in the areas under their control must leave the lands they had occupied for 5000 years or pay a special tax of $470 per family, convert to Islam or be murdered. Christian homes were painted with the Arabic letter nun for Nassarah, the Arabic word for Christian and declared them “the property of the Islamic State”. According to Patriarch Louis Sako, there are no Christians in Mosul for the first time in the nation’s history. While American churches were holding picnics or having coffee and donuts after milquetoast services, ISIS attacked the Assyrian town of Qaraqosh. The 5-year old son of one of the founding members of St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad was slaughtered by the savages, who cut the boy in half.

The attacks on Christianity are not limited to the Islamic lands nor to the Communist controlled states, such as North Korea, China or Cuba; anyone who keeps abreast of the news will realize that there is a concerted and unceasing attack against Christians in the United States, especially after the 2008 elections. President Obama loses no opportunity to wag his finger and attack Christian audiences, as he did not too long ago during the National Prayer Breakfast, when he brought up the Crusades and the Inquisition, events that took place almost a thousand years ago for the former and close to five hundred for the latter while urging his audience to “get off their high horse” Recently, during an appearance at Georgetown University -a Catholic institution- he suggested that “Catholics and Evangelicals should focus more on helping the poor, instead of focusing on divisive issues such as gay marriage and abortion” This is the same president who, while never passing up and opportunity to verbally slap Christian audiences, opened a press conference with the following statement “Let’s make one thing very clear. ISIS is not Islamic” before fielding a single question. The same president who went to the UN a few days after terrorists murdered four Americans, including our ambassador, during an almost seven hour siege of the American consulate in Benghazi, and famously said in a very energetic tone of voice “The future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”. Apparently, the future does belong to those who slander the followers of Christ and the descendants of Abraham.

The two hot-button issues facing the churches today are abortion and gay marriage. What should have been a unanimous negative reaction based on the core doctrines of every Christian denomination, instead shows a fragmented response, especially among those “with it” and “responsive” denominations trying to adjust to a “changing environment”. While the Catholic, Orthodox, Mormon and Evangelical churches completely oppose abortion and gay marriage, there is a surprising number of so-called Christian denominations that favor either one or the other, or both.

Gay Marriage

Presbyterian Church (USA) Redefined marriage as a “commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman”

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America allows same-sex couples to be married but leaves it to the individual ministers of the congregations to decide . “There is nothing that prescribes who a congregational pastor can marry or not marry so long as it is consistent with state law” (ELCA Secretary David Swartling, 2012)

The Episcopal Church established a rite of blessing for same-sex couples in 2012 and prohibited discrimination against transgender people.

The United Church of Christ has allowed same-sex couples to get married since 2005

Abortion

Presbyterian Church The General Assembly reaffirmed its belief that the termination of pregnancy is a personal decision. While the church disapproves of abortion as a means of birth control or as a method of convenience, it seeks “to maintain within its fellowship those who, on the basis of a study of Scripture and prayerful decision come to diverse conclusions and actions” on the issue.

United Church of Christ “is a firm advocate of reproductive rights, including the right to a safe abortion”

United Methodist Church “sanctions the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures” but rejects abortion as a method of gender selection or birth control.

Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations “support the right to choose contraception and abortion as a legitimate expression of our constitutional rights”

Wonderful, isn’t it? The ambivalence bleeds through all of the sanctimonious expressions. Are we firm, yet flexible? Do we worship at the altar of political correctness? I particularly like the statement on terminating a pregnancy after reading Scripture and praying and reflecting on it. I must have missed that part in either the Old or New Testament. I do not recall any incidents of same-sex marriage in either book of the Bible, unless they perhaps refer to the wedding at Cana, but somehow I doubt it. In the meantime, while some of our brethren cultivate a Slinky Toy for a spine, Christians in the Middle East are being slaughtered by savages who smell weakness.

Pope Francis denounced the murder and persecution of Christians in the Middle East and called them “martyrs, killed simply because they were Christians. The blood of our brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ”

Whereas the number of self-proclaimed Christians declined in the fat and prosperous lands, it actually increased in those places where the mere act of being a Christian is a potential death sentence. Revelation 3:16 reads: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth”

Free Speech…or Almost Free Speech?

Free Speech…or Almost Free Speech?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Thus reads the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, an amendment so important that the Founding Fathers placed it ahead of all others. It should be obvious to all that without free speech all the other amendments, even the Constitution, become moot points.

On Sunday, May 4th, Pamela Geller, co-founder of “The Freedom Defense Initiative” sponsored a “Draw Mohammed “ contest at the Curtis Culwell Center in the city of Garland, Texas. Two hours into the event, a dark vehicle pulled up and two men, wearing body armor and carrying rifles emerged from it and opened fire, wounding an unarmed security guard in the ankle. The gunmen were intent in replicating the Charlie Hebdo massacre; unfortunately for them, they picked the wrong venue and an outgunned, but better trained traffic officer, moonlighting as security for the event, shot and killed the would-be jihadists. It turned out that both men, who had tweeted allegiance to ISIS, had driven from Phoenix, AZ, some 1080 miles and 16 hours away, as per Google Maps. The key note speaker of the event was Dutch politician Geerd Wilders, under death sentence from Islamist extremists for having made the short film, “Fitna” which depicts extreme acts of terrorism against a background of Koranic verses. It is obvious that both Ms Geller and Mr Wilders were the main targets for assassination, along with anyone else the “holy warriors” had the opportunity to kill before they themselves could be dispatched to Paradise.

The reaction from what passes as the main stream press was swift in coming and Ms Geller was dubbed as anything from a “provocateur” to “despicable” and “hate monger” Surprising criticism came from Bill O’Reilly and some of the Fox News commentators. Apparently, the opinion they espoused is that the event was “offensive” to Muslims and therefore should not have taken place. The “progressive” press, with the New York Times leading the charge, called it “hate speech” and “offensive and provocative” therefore, not protected by the 1st Amendment.

News flash! It is precisely that kind of speech that the 1st Amendment protects. If all speech were like The Barney the Dinosaur song (remember?) the 1st Amendment would have no reason to exist, but it is not and therefore, it exists. Yes, you cannot yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater but that is an exception, not the rule. You can yell “Fire!” anywhere else. You may not yell “Loot!” and incite a crowd at the door of a store during a riot but you may write, or say “Loot!” from the safety of your home at a distance, as Al Sharpton has demonstrated countless times. If you are a minister, priest or holy man, you can fulminate from the pulpit and call the wrath of God upon the heads of those miscreants who have the audacity to not recognize the righteousness of your cause, but you have no right to harm, hurt, maim, kill or otherwise impede the welfare or destroy the property of those miscreants. That is precisely what those two gunmen in Garland attempted to do. The irony is that they inadvertently vindicated Ms Geller’s and Mr Wilder’s point. There is a violent streak in Islam and it comes not from the lunatic fringe but from its core.

The same public outlets that cried out against “right wing” and “fascist censorship” when objections were raised against the display of a crucifix immersed in a plastic jar full of urine or when the Brooklyn Museum of Art ran an exhibit in which a portrait of the Virgin Mary was surrounded with pornographic images and elephant dung, are the same ones who now object and fret about something as inane as a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed…..and why? Because in contrast to Catholics and other Christians, Islamic extremists not only threaten, but kill those who have the audacity to depict the prophet.

On April 12th, 2006, Comedy Central censored an image of Mohammed scheduled to be shown on the night’s episode of “South Park”, bowing to pressure from Islamic extremists. However, Comedy Central had no problem showing an episode of “South Park” -during Holy Week, no less- showing Jesus Christ defecating on President Bush and on the American flag. Mormons and Scientologists have been the butt of humor verging on the offensive; yet, neither Catholics, Protestants, Mormons or Scientologists have ever threatened Comedy Central with physical violence or death. The most they have ever done is to switch off their television sets.

Muhammed has been depicted in the past, particularly in Medieval Muslim art and illuminated manuscripts, especially in Shiite sources, and no one was killed.

Pamella Geller is a 56 year old single mother of four children and was born June 14th 1958 in Hewlett Harbor, a section of Long Island, NY, the third of four sisters. Helping her father in his business, she became fluent in Spanish. During a recent interview on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, she debated an Islamic cleric, who called for her to be tried and punished by a Sharia court, to which she replied: “Canon Law applies only to Catholics, Jewish Law applies only to Jews, but Sharia applies to everyone? I live in America, sir and I’m free to do and think what I want”

I lived the majority of my life without paying much attention to Islam or the Arab world….until September 11th 2001, when I saw those planes deliberately crashing into the World Trade Center towers. I watched them collapse into enormous clouds of dust and mountains of rubble, but the image that still stays with me and that I sometimes dream about, is that of people jumping from the burning towers to their deaths on the pavement below, human beings faced with the choice of either burning to death or splattering on the concrete. I started to read and learn all I could about Islam, and what I read I did not like; if you have any doubts as to the root causes of 9-11 just read Mohammed Atta’s will.

Are all Muslim like that? Certainly not. But the hard fact is that Islam needs a reformation, as the Egyptian President recently stated. But all is not lost. During the recent Nigerian army operation that resulted in the liberation of scores of young girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, there was a young lady who had been kidnapped, along with her sister, when they visited a local beauty supply store. While they were being transported in trucks, there was an opportunity to escape and her sister took advantage of it, but she could not, because while they were being herded on foot, she ran across three children whose parents had been killed and she took it upon herself to care for them and decided she could not abandon them. She, along with the children, were rescued by the army. She is Muslim. The children are Christian. You see, there is hope.

ISIS has called for Pamela Geller’s death, calling her a “pig” She is a very courageous lady who speaks her mind very clearly. She runs a blog called “Atlas Shrugs” which has become the target not only for Islamists but for “progressive” forces as well, who want to shut her down, the same “progressive” forces who claim 1st Amendment rights when it comes to attack, ridicule and slander Christians or Jews knowing full well that no physical harm will come to them as a result; however, when it comes to Islam, these “progressives” suddenly become conscious of “hate mongers”, “freedom of religion” and “offensive speech”, wonderful expressions behind which they hide their cowardice and jellyfish spines. Ms Geller has shown them for what they really are and now they join in the chorus call of blaming the victim, not the perpetrators. It is said that some Oriental rulers, when receiving a message they did not like, ordered the messenger killed. Apparently, the modern version of that mentality is still with us.

Kowtowing to any group or institution that puts limits or definitions on what should or should not be said in public discourse is a first step on the downward road to serfdom. Almost free speech is not free at all.

Stay safe, Pamela!!!

Reference Links

https://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/islamic-depictions-of-mohammed-in-full/

http://pamelageller.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitna_%28film%29

Muammar Gaddafi….miss him yet?

On April 30th the headlines were full of the story of a ship lost at sea off the coast of Libya carrying as many as 900 people trying to reach Europe. All are feared lost.

On May 5th, dozens of overloaded rubber boats and rickety fishing vessels sent by human traffickers were intercepted by European authorities. Between Friday 1st and Sunday 3rd, some 7000 people were rescued.

Last year, about 219,000 refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean and at least some 3500 died in the attempt. Most migrants come to Europe through Italy; after all, the small Italian island of Lampedusa is closer to Tunisia than to Sicily and the authorities there are overwhelmed by the unchecked influx of refugees.

The migrants come from as far away as Syria but mostly from North and sub-Sahara Africa. They congregate in Libya, a center of lawlessness and a haven for rings of human smugglers and then are herded into overcrowded and unsafe vessels at the Libyan ports of Zarawah and Zawiya. Saharan tribes, such as Tuaregs and Tebus, battle each other for control of the lucrative human trade.

Zarawah and Zawiya in Tripolitania and Benghazi in Cyrenaica have long been notorious centers for the traffic of migrants into Europe. As an aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq and the subsequent change of Gaddafi’s behavior and disposal of his nuclear armament, Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, in 2007, signed an accord with the Libyan leader in an attempt to help transition Gaddafi from the role of pariah into one of more or less respectability. Among the accord’s provisions, Gaddafi agreed to curtail people smuggling; later on, he made a similar agreement with Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi. Unintended consequences being what they are, the accords prompted the Zawarians to rise against Gaddafi because he had destroyed their source of income, not because they yearned for some sort of democracy.

It was at this point that the Arbiters of the World came together and decided that it was time for Gaddafi to go. Latching on to something they dubbed The Arab Spring, they bombed and decimated Gaddafi’s forces. In October 2011, Gaddafi was captured, tortured and executed, in living color, to the delighted squeal of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was unfortunate for the Arbiters that things did not go according to script. Libya collapsed into anarchy and lawlessness.

Under Gaddafi, Libya was a mercantile haven and thus became a magnet for the Northern and sub-Saharan Africans who flocked there; presently, it has become the focal point for human smuggling, a very profitable trade carried out by Libyan militias, tribesmen, bandits and law-enforcement officials; the collapse of the Libyan economy and the race between the militias and tribesmen to find sources of money to finance their internal wars provide ample fuel for the brazen traffic in human misery.

The Middle East is in an almost frenzy-like state of turmoil, much of it because of the incredibly inept US foreign policy, fashioned by President Obama and his triumvirate of Warrior Amazons Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarred and Susan Rice. The turmoil extends all the way to sub-Sahara Africa and it is reflected in the composition of those fortunate enough to be rescued in the Mediterranean. The carnage in Iraq and the civil war in Syria have displaced millions of people towards Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. There is an estimate of at least 500,000 Syrians ready to go to sea.

The UN estimates that close to a million refugees will eventually reach European shores, mostly poor, uneducated, some illiterate and by necessity, mostly male and if the previous pattern of North African immigration holds, Muslims who do not wish to assimilate into European society but rather, want European society to assimilate into them, with a birth rate that outnumbers the native European population, long steeped into the culture of birth control and abortion.

This would not be the first time that huge population displacements have resulted in the collapse of civilizations. It was the Huns who exerted pressure on the Germanic tribes to move westward into the Roman Empire which created the upheavals that eventually resulted in its collapse. Contrary to popular myths, Rome did not disappear into a sea of flames, rape and pillage; rather, in 477 AD, Odoacer the Herulian, commander of the palace guard, decided that it was time for the boy-emperor, Romulus Augustus, to go. He did not kill him; rather, he sent him away to southern Italy where he lived his days in obscurity. Odoacer did not take the title of emperor but was contented with that of Patrician. He bundled the Western Imperial regalia and sent it to the Eastern Roman emperor, Zeno. Thus ended the Roman Empire of the West. Its citizens did not notice the change.

While on a state visit to Italy in 2010, Gaddafi, always theatrical and bombastic, warned that Europe would turn black unless it was more rigorous in turning back immigrants. While he also advised Europeans to convert to Islam, he also told a Rome meeting: “We don’t know what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans. We don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions” Contrast this with Hillary Clinton’s stupid and ignorant cackling in a CBS interview while serving as Secretary of State: “We came, we saw, he died” Who is laughing now?

There is a human tragedy unfolding in the African continent and in the waters of the Mediterranean which did not have to happen. The Arbiters of the World decided that it was high time for the little Dutch boy to remove his fingers from the holes in the dam and go home; the water is gushing forth and the dam is about to burst and once it does, all the king’s men and all the king’s horses will not put Humpty Dumpty together again. Unfortunately, the price will be paid in blood, not water. The ISIS savages will be the executioners but the final responsibility lies with the Arbiters who unleashed them.

Want a little preview of the future? On April 16th 2015, Italian police arrested 15 Muslim migrants who threw 12 Christians overboard from a boat. They eventually drowned. The victims were from Nigeria and Ghana. The suspects from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal.

Gaddafi….miss him yet?