Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

‘Raised up by God’: Televangelist Paula White compares Trump to Queen Esther – Washington Post

During last years presidential campaign, some Christian leaders compared Donald Trumpto various biblical kings, most often as a modern-day David, an imperfect man chosen by Godto lead Israel.

On Tuesday, televangelist Paula White, a prosperity gospel pastor and spiritual adviser to Trump, madeanother scriptural comparison this timebetween the president and aJewish woman in the bible.

Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show, White said Trumps victory in November was akin to Esther becoming queen in the Hebrew Bible because both were unconventionalchoices for the roles they received.

Esther, as the story goes in Jewish and Christian scripture, was an orphan hand-pickedby the Persian king to be hisnew queen at atime when Jews were persecuted. In her position she was able to stop a plan tokill all the Jewish people in Persia. The Bible says Esther was placed there by God for this purpose.

Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority it is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down, White said on the show.

Esther did not have theimage or the background to be queen, yet God chose her, White said. The same is true for Trumps ascent to the presidency, she believes.

God is raising up Esthers, she said.

Stephen Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine, a Pentecostal news site, said Christians often look for spiritual parallels in modern-day life, so it is natural for them to make these comparisons between Trump and biblical figures, though he could not remember previous presidents, Democrat or Republican,similarly being associated this way.

Paula White will be among the invited religious leaders leading a prayer during President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Here’s why she is a considered to be controversial choice. (Claritza Jimenez/Photo: AP, Video: The Post)

White has known Trump since the early 2000s, and he chose her as one of the clergy members to pray at his inauguration. The choice was controversial, as my colleague Julie Zauzmer wrote then, because prosperity gospelsays true believers of God will receive both eternal salvation and material wealth on Earth. Other Christians says this is heretical, and warn that preachers like White profit off their gospel by asking followers for money.

[Why electing Donald Trump was a triumph for the prosperity gospel]

Two years ago, comedian John Oliver did a segment dissecting the practices of prosperity gospel.In 2007, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) launched an investigationinto spending by televangelists, including White. But its reportthree years later did not reach any conclusions.

During her appearance this week, White went on to encourage viewers to be obedient and loyal to Trump because it is what God wants. If God hadnt intervened in the U.S. elections, she said, religious liberties would have eroded to such an extentthat people would have had to pray in an underground church within five years.

Whites perspective is similar albeit perhaps more dramatic to many conservative Christian leaders who have increasingly said in recent years that growingtolerance for liberal mores and secularism comes at a cost to traditional faith. Many GOP candidates, including Trump, said during the campaign that protecting the religious liberty of traditional believers was among their top priorities.

Lance Wallnau, a Christian author, claimed God spoke to him and showed himthat Trump was like King Cyrus, who followed Gods will despite being a pagan.

I really believe that the mercy of God intervened in this last election cycle and gave us an individual who has the willpower and the tenacity to be able to do a reset, Wallnau told CBN News in March. I heard the Lord, Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.

Strang shares Wallnaus belief that Cyrus is the more apt comparison, showing that God can raise up a leader to rescue his people even if that leader comes from an untraditional background. He doesnt quite see the Esther one, however.

Whites analogy was equally puzzling to Dennis Olson,a professor of Old Testament theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Though he understands the point about Esther and Trump both being outsiders, he sees more reasons why they are opposites.

Esthers story is one about protecting persecuted ethnic minorities, said Olson, while the president haswonsupport from white supremacist groups and seeks to crack down onimmigration.

But evangelical Christians in America see themselves as persecuted by an increasingly secular nation and see Trump as the one chosento fight for them. On that subject, Strang has written a book to be released in November called, God and Donald Trump, which examinesTrumps divine win.

I believe that bible-bleeding Christians have been praying for a turn in our country and we feel our religious liberties have been eroded and our country is less and less Godly, Strang said. And somehow, someway, his election was a partial answer to our prayer.

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‘Raised up by God’: Televangelist Paula White compares Trump to Queen Esther – Washington Post

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Lion’s Den: Being a part of the prophecy – The Jerusalem Post

Henri Dunant.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

Apart from the Jewish people, there is no other people group in the world that supports Israel more passionately than Bible-believing Christians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that without the support of Christian Zionists the Jewish state may never have been established. When Theodore Herzl was rejected by the influential Jewish leaders at his time, it was Christian friends, such as Rev. William Hechler, who introduced him to world leaders who could support his cause.

The list of prominent Christian leaders who have played a key role in the birthing of the Jewish state is long but still many of them are forgotten. The Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1901, Henri Dunant, was not only an exceptional humanitarian and the founder of the International Red Cross.

He was also a passionate friend of Israel who dreamed of a Jewish homeland in Palestine even before Herzl had written Der Judenstaat. He later befriended the latter and was part of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. In Britain, influential men of cloth as well as government ministers, such as Lord Palmerston and Lord Balfour, believed in restoring the Jewish people back to the land of their ancestors, and they did everything in their power to make it happen.

What unites these heroes of faith is the fact that they loved Israel and the Jewish people, not only in words but also in deeds. For Hechler and Dunant it was not enough to have discovered biblical truth and celebrate Gods promises, they were also willing to become part of their fulfillment.

Modern Christians could learn a lot from these men. Loving Israel can become a subculture where we preach to the choir and celebrate Israel within the four walls of our church while support for Israel in society at large and among the younger generations in particular is eroding. Hechler and Dunant did not keep their passions for themselves but were actively influencing mainstream culture and decision-makers for the Zionist cause.

Also in modern times we have many examples of Christians who have turned their love for Israel in to practical action. Many Christian Jerusalem-based ministries help out whenever there is a need. When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989 Christians from around the world were ready to help those Jews who wanted to make aliya.

For Swiss businessman Gustav Scheller it was simply not enough to watch prophecy unfold, he wanted to be part of it and so he gave up his successful travel business to help bring Jews out from Russia to Israel by ship. Over the years tens of thousands have been assisted in making aliya thanks to Scheller and his Christians friends.

In 2001, as new forms of antisemitism resurged in Europe and around the world, a few of us discovered that Christians who loved Israel did not have a voice in the international political arena. They were helping out in many wonderful ways by visiting the land and giving generously to social projects. But whenever Israel was attacked at the European Union or the United Nations, Israel and the Jewish organizations were alone.

A few years later I helped start a new organization to help give Christians a voice at a governmental level in the international capitals of the world. The challenges facing Israel today are not only from conventional wars but just as often diplomatic. Still to this day, Christians can help defend Israel and the Jewish people with prayer and advocacy. The trenches of the battle for Jerusalem will take place in the corridors of power in Brussels and New York just as much as around the borders of Israel. This is where Christians are again called to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and to love Israel in the spirit of Dunant, Hechler and Scheller.

The writer is the founding director of European Coalition for Israel. For more info please visit www.ec4i.org. The writer can be reached at [emailprotected]sign up to our newsletter

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Lion’s Den: Being a part of the prophecy – The Jerusalem Post

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Standing Firm in the Face of Moral Depravity at the Top – The Good Men Project (blog)

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This post is the opinion of the the author and does not necessarily represent The Good Men Project.

One day, when I was very young child in New York City, I sat upon my maternal grandfather Simon (Szymon) Mahlers knee. Looking down urgently but with deep affection, he said to me through his distinctive Polish accent, Varn, you are named after my father, your great-grandfather, Wolf Mahler. I lived in Krosno, Poland with my father, Wolf, and my mother, Bascha Trencher Mahler, and 13 brothers and sisters, and aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Simon talked about our mishpocheh (family) with pride, but as he told me this, he revealed an obvious sadness on his face. I asked him if our family still lived in Poland, and he responded that his father and most of the remainder of his family were no longer alive. When I asked him how they had died, he told me that they had all been killed by people called Nazis except his mother, Bascha, who died of a heart attack in 1934. I questioned him why the Nazis killed our family, and he responded, Because they were Jews.

Those words have reverberated in my mind, haunting me ever since.

We later learned that Nazi troops forced 2100 Jewish residents of Krosno into the woods, shot them, and tossed their lifeless bodies into a mass unmarked grave. The Nazis eventually loaded the remaining Jews of Krosno onto cattle cars and transported them to Auschwitz and Belzec death camps. The handful of Krosno Jews who survived liberation of the camps attempted to return to their homes that had been confiscated by the non-Jewish residents, but the Polish residents refused to return their property. Today, no Jews reside in the area.

More recently, on a snowy February morning in 2002, while in my university office organizing materials for that days classes, I received an email message that would forever poignantly and profoundly change my life. A man named Charles Mahler had been looking for descendents of the Mahler family of Krosno, Poland, and he had come across an essay I had written focusing on Wolf and Bascha Mahler.

Charles informed me that he had survived the German Holocaust along with his sister, parents, and maternal grandparents and uncle, but the Nazis murdered his fathers parents (Jacques and Anja Mahler), sister, and her two children, and other relatives following Hitlers invasion and occupation of Belgium, their adopted home country.

My cousin Charles related their story in hiding from August 1942 until the final armistice in Europe. His father, Georg, altered the familys identity papers from Jewish to Christian, and they abandoned Antwerp for what they considered the relative safety of the Belgium countryside. During their plight, members of the Belgium resistance movement and other righteous Christians shepherded them throughout the remainder of the war to three separate locations as the German Gestapo followed closely at their heels. On a number of occasions, they successfully passed as Christian directly under the watchful gaze of unsuspecting Nazis.

Though most of the Jewish inhabitants of Antwerp ultimately perished, many survived. However, at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel) one will observe Krosno chiseled into the glass and the stone walls listing towns and villages where Nazis and their sympathizers decimated entire Jewish communities.

Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene.

I have learned many lessons in my studies of genocides perpetrated throughout the ages. Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene. Everyone, not only the direct perpetrators of oppression, plays a key role in the genocide dramas.

On a micro level, this is also apparent, for example, in episodes of schoolyard, community-based, as well as electronic forms of bullying. According to the American Medical Association definition: Bullying is a specific type of aggression in which the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one.

Dan Olweus, international researcher and bullying prevention specialist, enumerates the distinctive and often overlapping roles enacted in these episodes: the person or persons who perpetrate bullying; the active followers; those who passively support, condone, or collude in the aggression; the onlookers (sometimes referred to as bystanders); the possible defenders; those who actually defend the targets of aggression; and those who are exposed and attacked.

One piece of my family puzzle met a tragic end, another partial segment survived. In both instances, the bystanders determined the balance of power: in Krosno, they conspired with the oppressors, while in Antwerp, they dug deeply within themselves transitioning from bystanders into courageous, compassionate, and empathetic upstanders in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Each day we all are called on to make small and larger choices and to take actions.

Donald J. Trump made his choice by either losing or refusing to refer to his moral compass when racist and anti-Semitic white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended in Charlottesville, Virginia for their so-called Unite the Right march and rally. His utter failure to take decisive action in words and deeds further energized the far right.

The committed and courageous anti-fascist activists, however, who came out to counter the pure and undisguised hatred of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Boston, Los Angeles, and throughout the nation will ultimately overcome the hatred. They as we the people will ensure that our nation and world will not repeat the evil of the past from genocide of First Nations peoples on this continent to slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching; from the rise of white supremacy and the theocratic right, to McCarthyism and Trumpism.

Which side are we on? This question brings to mind civil rights activist Eldridge Cleavers call to action: If youre not part of the solution, youre part of the problem.

Today as in the past, no truer words were ever uttered, for in the spectrum from occasional microaggressions to full-blown genocide, there is no such thing as an innocent bystander.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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Standing Firm in the Face of Moral Depravity at the Top – The Good Men Project (blog)

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many reasons to accept immigrants – Stillwater News Press

Randi Eldevik

Stillwater

To the editor:

In response to Allan Walls letter he seems to think that alleviation of poverty is the only humanitarian reason why immigrants were ever allowed to enter the U.S. In fact, it is one of many reasons.

Providing a home for people who have been forced out of their old homes by war or by cruel foreign regimes is another reason. Walls suggestion that charity dollars should be used abroad to alleviate poverty in other countries might be a good suggestion so long as poverty is the only problem; but it is a suggestion that doesnt apply to people who are fleeing from war or tyranny. Those people need a safe haven elsewhere, without delay; once that is achieved you can consider pouring American dollars into a foreign war or non-military attempts at bringing about regime change, but you may find this financially prohibitive.

I suggest we be guided by Emma Lazaruss words engraved at the base of the State of Liberty: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Notice that poverty is mentioned (your poor), but the need to escape tyranny in order to breathe free gets a bigger emphasis.

To me, the refusal of many states in the U.S. to take in Syrian refugees is shameful. The excuses given the idea that the Syrian refugees may be terrorists in disguise are similar to the reasons why German Jews, desperate to escape from Hitler, were turned away from the U.S. in the late 1930s and the early 1940s: just because they spoke German, they were suspected of being Nazi agents in disguise! A whole shipload of Jewish refugees was turned back from American shores and eventually returned to Germany, where the passengers were killed.

This cruelty on the part of the U.S. government shouldnt have occurred then and should not be occurring now. I say this not only because I, as a Christian, abhor cruelty, but also because I know that the writer Emma Lazarus was Jewish and practiced Jewish ethics that are similar to Christian ethics.

Indeed, among all my friends who include other Christians, and Jews, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and agnostics and atheists there exists great similarity in our practice of ethics toward our fellow man. In order to persuade the greatest number of readers, I prefer not to appeal exclusively to my fellow Christians, but rather to put up a big tent that acknowledges the ethical overlap among all compassionate people.

I hope this big tent will attract more people than does the heartlessness of the RAISE proposal.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many reasons to accept immigrants – Stillwater News Press

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Rochester area pastor says the church should lead the way to unity following Charlottesville – WXXI News

Between 750 and 1,000 Christians and Jews from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds are expected to attend a joint worship service in Rochester Sunday.

The ROC Service and picnic will bring together four Christian and one Jewish congregation for an annual gathering that has been held for the past decade, but faith leaders say there is a special meaning behind this year’s event.

Vince DiPaola, pastor of Lakeshore Community Church, says the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville proves more than ever the need to unit people of all faiths.

“I don’t know all of the people who were involved in Charlottesville, but certainly when some of them claim to be Nazis or Aryans or white supremacists, it shakes us all to the core.”

Pastor DiPaolo says the event is more about embracing unity than it is a protest.

“If we can advance the positive…sometimes we just kind of spend time in the ‘ain’t in awful, ain’t it awful, ain’t it awful,’ and there may be a place for that, but I want to say ‘here’s how it can be better,’ and I believe the pastors of the other churches believe the same thing.”

Two services are scheduled Sunday, August 27 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Lakeshore Community Church at 3651 Latta Road. The 11 a.m. service will be followed by a picnic at 12:30 p.m.

The services will include members of Ark of Jesus Ministries, Congregation Shema Yisrael, New Way Christian Faith Center, and Victorious Living Christian Life Center, but Pastor DiPaolo said anyone who is open to God is welcome to attend.

“I believe it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said the most segregated time of the week is Sunday at 11, he said. And and we just feel that’s the exact opposite of what it should be; we feel the church should be modeling the way.”

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Rochester area pastor says the church should lead the way to unity following Charlottesville – WXXI News

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Solar Eclipse of 2017: Four Reasons It’s Bad, According to the Talmud – Haaretz

Judaism’s central rabbinic text says today’s solar eclipse is nothing to celebrate

CHARLESTON – Across the United States, Jews are gathering in anticipation of the historic Great American Eclipse, particularly in cities known as ideal spots to experience the phenomenon.

But at the downtown Brith Shalom Beth Israel synagogue Sunday evening, nestled in the historic southern city perfectly positioned for the Monday event, Dr. Jeremy Brown had bad news for a group who had gathered for a kosher meal on Eclipse Eve: in traditional Judaism, an eclipse is nothing to celebrate.

Eclipses happen because people sin, he said. Theres no getting around it, Brown says. The Talmud – the central text of rabbinic Judaism – is unambiguous in its interpretation of eclipses – both lunar and solar, as a form of divine punishment – a curse to be dreaded and feared, rather than a miraculous wonder of nature.

If that isnt bad enough, Brown told his audience of Charleston locals and Jews who had come to the city for the big event, the four sins specifically blamed by the Talmud plunging the earth into eerie darkness are so notably bizarre and politically incorrect, that nobody really wants to talk about them.

What are they?

1. The failure to properly bury the leader of a Rabbinic Court

2. If a betrothed girl cries out as she is being raped and there is no one to save her

3. Homosexuality

4. If two brothers were killed at the same time.

If these reasons sound random and unrelated with no possible connection, fear not – said Brown. Even the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, normally relied upon for his clear and concise Talmudic explanation of just about everything, was uncharacteristically clueless in the case of eclipse-triggering transgressions, writing I have not heard any explanation for this.

Brown, a doctor, who wrote the book New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish reception of Copernican Thought and recently published an article on halachic and philosophical aspects of the 2017 eclipse traveled from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland to Charleston to fully experience the eclipse first-hand.

For centuries, he notes, rabbis have wrestled with the Talmudic attitude towards eclipse. It contains, he notes, an inherent illogic in the Jewish approach that was clear even hundreds of years ago. Eclipses are a natural occurrence that is utterly predictable, they will take place no matter what any human being does. So how in the world, rabbis and scholars have asked, could they possibly be a result of sin or any form of human behavior?

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As far back as 1609, Brown said, the Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew tried to justify the Talmudic text by theorizing if we lived in a world without sin, no eclipses would happen. In his view, since human fallibility and sin are both inevitable, so was an eclipse. That attitude, however, leans closer to the Christian concept of original sin than to the traditional Jewish beliefs.

Another big problem with the Maharals theory as far as Jews are concerned, he observed – if there were never any eclipses, it would have to mean that the moon wouldnt ever be able to orbit in the same plane as the sun and the earth.

The only way for there to be no solar eclipses in the Maharals imaginary sin-free universe would be for the moon to orbit the earth at 90 to the sun-earth axis. Then it would never come between the sun and the earth, says Brown. This would wreak havoc with the Jewish calendar, which is based on lunar patterns – preventing Rosh Chodesh the beginning of the Hebrew month, that Jews consider a kind of a holiday.

The conundrum continued in the modern era, with famed Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson positing in 1957 that while a solar eclipse was predictable, the local weather was most certainly not. So presumably, if it was a cloudy day and the eclipse wasnt visible, people hadnt been sinful, but if it was clear and the sight was eerily abnormal – that meant the sins had taken place.

Schneerson was emphatic when it came to those who might be inspired to bless the event, writing that it is forbidden to institute a blessing that is not mentioned in the Talmud. And some say that the reason that no blessing was instituted is because the eclipse is a bad omen. Brown says that the rebbe believed that if Jews should pray for anything – it would be that the eclipse shouldnt happen. Or maybe they should just cry gevalt!

But, over the years, he notes it seems attitudes have softened. When Israels current Chief Rabbi David Lau was asked in 2006 was asked whether it wasnt perhaps possible to view such a cosmic occurrence in a positive light and even say a blessing when it occurs if they feel a religious stirring. In his response, Lau admitted that he himself had also been awed when witnessing an eclipse, but that because the rabbis of the Talmudic era had not prescribed a blessing over an eclipse, it was not possible to institute such a blessing today. He added, however, that there was nothing wrong with reciting an appropriately celebratory and worshipful psalm, and even recommended a few for the occasion.

Brown, an observant Jew himself, endorses Laus approach, as do, he says, most of todays rabbis. Even though an official eclipse prayer may technically be out-of-bounds for the faithful, he thinks a memorable celestial event is indeed an occasion joyful attention and wonder – no matter what the Talmud says.

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One in three Jews considers leaving Britain because of rising antisemitism – ChristianToday

One in three British Jews has considered leaving the UK due to surging antisemitism, according to a report today from the Campaign Against Antisemitism(CAA).

Surveys of more than 3,000 British Jews for the campaign’s Antisemitism Barometer by YouGov and the campaign found nearly a third of British Jews have considered leaving the UK in the past two years.

Just six in ten, or 59 per cent, of British Jews feel welcome in the UK, and 17 per cent feel unwelcome. For the past two years, 37 per cent of British Jews have been concealing their Judaism in public.

Examples of those preparing to quit Britain include include Mandy, a Jewish businesswoman whose father was the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and a Major in the army, and whose mother was a magistrate. Mandy is now making preparations to leave Britain due to mounting antisemitism in politics and antisemitic crime, and the failure to tackle it. Another is Michelle, a mother who has moved her family to Israel due to growing antisemitism in Britain, which made her fear for her children’s future.

Last month, CAA published police figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that there has been a 45 per cent surge in antisemitic crime since 2014. Additionally CAA revealed that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has yet to prosecute more than two dozen antisemitic crimes per year.

More than half of British Jews said that the CPS is not doing enough to fight antisemitism, and only 39 per cent of British Jews felt confident that antisemitic hate crime would be prosecuted.

Nearly eight in ten British Jews feel that recent political events have resulted in increased hostility towards Jews, and for two years, more than four-fifths of British Jews have considered the Labour Party to be harbouring antisemites in its ranks.

The failure of the criminal justice system and political parties to tackle antisemitism is in stark contrast with the attitudes of the British public towards Jews.

YouGov’s polling for CAA found that antisemitism, measured by how many respondents agreed with seven antisemitic statements, has been in decline for the past three years. In 2015, 45 per cent of British people held at least one antisemitic view, but that fell to 40 per cent in 2016 and then dropped again to 36 per cent in 2017.

In the report, CAA calls on the Government to urgently implement the recommendations of our last two National Antisemitic Crime Audits, and for all political parties to adopt our manifesto for fighting antisemitism.

‘Our recommendations for the criminal justice system include basic measures such as producing specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to antisemitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes, as police forces are already required to do.

‘Our recommendations for political parties are to adopt the Government’s definition of antisemitism, as many have, and to enforce it using transparent and robust disciplinary processes, with expulsion from the party in the worst cases,’ the campaign said.

Gideon Falter of the CAA said: ‘We now have data that show that in a very British way, fairly and quietly, Britons have been rejecting antisemitic prejudice. British society has shunned a growing worldwide addiction to antisemitism and proved that so-called British values are no mere buzzphrase, but are embedded in our national being.

‘However, our research shows that one in three British Jews has become so fearful of mounting antisemitic crime and the failure to excise antisemites from politics that they have considered leaving Britain altogether. Our research clearly shows that British Jews have pointed their fingers at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party.

‘If British society can fight antisemitism, why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little? There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave, as has happened elsewhere in Europe.’

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Here’s What Different Religions Have To Say About The Solar Eclipse – The Daily Caller

A full solar eclipse will appear over America on Monday for the fist time in close to a century, and various religious groups have hailed it as a sign of great spiritual significance.

The eclipse, which will be sighted first in Salem, Ore., just after 10 a.m. PT and will enter the final stage of visibility from land right before 3 p.m. EST over Charleston, S.C., is the first total solar eclipse to be visible over North America in 99 years. Eclipses, both solar and lunar, are entirely predictable, but the timing and positioning of eclipses have led some people to question whether it is an instrument of divine communication.

For many religious groups, the answer is yes. The intended divine message, however, depends on who you ask. Here are some of the various answers.

The Ancients

Solar eclipses were a thing of terror for the ancient world. Day plunged into night. The sun, which some cultures revered as a god, disappeared; and the natural order, as humanity knew it, was totally subverted.

The ancient Mesopotamians believed a total solar eclipse signified the death of a king, while the Aztecs sacrificed people of fair complexion to stave off demons of darkness, whom they believed would come down and devour people, according to Live Science.

Several other ancient cultures believed celestial beasts or dark deities devoured the sun, according to Time And Date. The ancient Chinese claimed a heavenly dragon consumed the sun and had to be scared away by banging pots and pans. The Vietnamese blamed a giant frog, while Norse cultures said hungry wolves ate the sun.

Ancient Hindus claimed Rahu was the culprit. Rahu was the head of a demon, severed for stealing the nectar of the gods, who followed the sun as the personified form of one of the nine planets. Every so often, as the legend goes, Rahu would catch up to the sun and devour it.

Judaism

Jews traditionally interpreted solar eclipses to be the result of human sin angering God, who would then hide the sun as a warning to his people, according to the Babylonian Talmud. Ancient Hebrews knew that eclipses could be predicted, but still believed they were a sign.

When the luminaries are stricken, it is an ill omen for the world. To what can we compare this? To a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and set a lantern to illuminate the hall. But then he became angry with them and said to his servant: Take the lantern from before them and seat them in darkness,’ Talmud, Sukkah 29a

The text goes on to state that lunar eclipses are ill omens for Israel, since Jews follow the lunar calendar, while solar eclipses are ill omens for non-Jews, or Gentiles, as they followed solar calendars.

Modern interpretations of solar eclipses in the Jewish faith vary, but still depict the event as a negative thing or, at the very least, a time for contemplation of ones place in the universe, according to the Rabbinical Assembly.

Whether or not one views the solar eclipse as a negative event according to their interpretation of the Jewish faith, the Rabbinical Assembly prescribed a particular blessing to be said over the eclipse.

, (BlessedWhose power and strength fill the world.)

Christianity

Modern Christian interpretations of solar eclipses vary almost as widely as the denominations of the Christian faith.

One view, according to Religion News Service(RNS), is that while the heavens operate according to the design of God, who created them, solar eclipses do not foretell the end of the world or any lesser calamity.

The term fake news is very in vogue and overused these days. The end times stuff is kind of like fake religion,’ Roman Catholic Rev.James Kurzynski told RNS. Its just the kind of stuff thats spun in a way to try to get Christians scared when theres nothing to fear.

Gary Ray, writer for the Charismatic Christian publication Unsealed, presented a view from the other end of the spectrum of Christian interpretations of eclipses. Ray said he and those who follow a similar interpretation of the Christian faith do not believe the eclipse will announce the end of the world, but that it does communicate a warning about the latter days of history as we know it.

We simply believe that God may be communicating a message through this eclipse about thegeneral nearnessof the rapture of the Church and Christs return, Garys explanation reads. In other words, we believe that these prophetic events will occur soon, but we dont know the day or hour on which they will occur.

Gary noted the timing of this eclipse presented certain numerical signs significant in a Christian context. The event will occur 33 days before another celestial event during which the constellation Virgo will be clothed in the sun, moon will be at her feet, and Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will join the constellation Leo to crown Virgo with 12 celestial bodies. Some believe that this alignment is the sign referenced in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, verses one through five, which appears to announce the second coming of Christ.

The eclipse also happens on the same day of the beginning of the Season of Teshuvah, a period of 40 days leading up to Yom Kippur. Jews view this season as a time to prepare ones heart and get in right standing with God for the Day of Atonement. The period holds significance for Christians who view the eclipse from an eschatological (study of end times) perspective.

Islam

Muslims believe that eclipses are a sign from Allah that do not portend the death or birth of anyone in particular, but remind Muslims of the approaching Day of Judgement. One particular Hadith describes the Prophet Muhammeds reaction to and explanation of a solar eclipse during his lifetime:

The sun eclipsed and the Prophet () got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered the prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness.

The Hadith prescribes that two cycles of a prayer specifically recommended for the event of an eclipse be offered in a Muslim congregation, according to ThoughtCo.

Hinduism

Hindu tradition, according to the Vedas, or Hindu scriptures, states that eclipses are bad omens, as they are a reflection of the demon Rahu. Therefore the Vedas prescribe certain rules and activities before, during, and after an eclipse to purify Hindu faithful from the bad effects of the eclipse, according to Festivals of India.

The Vedas advise Hindus to fast from food during the day of the eclipse, refrain from sleeping during the event, chant certain purifying mantras throughout the day, and throw away any extra prepared food before the eclipse. Pregnant women are advised not to move during the eclipse and water imbibed must be infused with Basil or Tulsi leaves.

Hindu adherents are advised to bathe in their clothes after the eclipse and give to charity according to their means.

Neo-Pagan

The umbrella of neo-paganism, which is the resurgence of different pagan belief systems updated for modern time, houses various interpretations of solar eclipses.

Wiccans, which worship various deities and nature spirits, believe it to be a time for personal transformation, when the sun and the moon work in union and allow for occult practitioners to work with them to bring their magic down to earth for the purposes of cleansing and inner spiritual evolution, according to the Wiccan community at Oak Spirit Sanctuary.

Occult practitioners in that community will perform rituals during the eclipse in for inner cleansing and worship of the goddess Nuit, who features prominently in the Wiccan tradition of Thelema.

Thelema is an occult philosophy founded in 1904 by the occultist Aleister Crowley.

Be Safe

Whatever your beliefs about the upcoming solar eclipse, people of all faiths should avoid looking directly at the full eclipse without special sunglasses, as doing so will cause blindness.

via GIPHY

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Here’s What Different Religions Have To Say About The Solar Eclipse – The Daily Caller

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history – Washington Post

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew.

The words above are displayed at the United States Holocaust Museum. This week, amid outrage over President Trumps rhetoric about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville,they have been recited around the world as a simple, haunting warning.

But the lineage of those words is more complicated, beginning with Martin Niemller, the German Protestant pastor who originally spoke them.

Niemller supported Adolf Hitler and Jewish hatred until he was sent to a concentration camp.

In my native Teklenburg, there were many farmers who were in debt to Jewish moneylenders and livestock traders, he told a German TV host in 1963. At that time, the mood in this area was not systematically anti-Semitic, but it was intuitively and traditionally so, and I never questioned it.

In 1920, at age 28, he belonged to the Academic Defense Corps, a group of right-wing students with nationalist, hateful ideologies. His beliefs found their way into his calling, according to a Holocaust Museum biography:

Niemllers sermons reflected his strong nationalist sentiment. He felt that reparations, democracy and foreign influence had led to damaging social fragmentation and an overemphasis on the individual in German society. Niemller believed that Germany needed a strong leader to promote national unity and honor.

Hitler.

Niemller cheered the rise of the National Socialist Party, voting for Hitler and openly echoing his nationalistic, pro-Christian, exclusionary rhetoric. Niemller remained an outspoken anti-Semite throughout the 1930s, justifying his prejudices by referring to Christian teachings that the Jews were guilty of deicide, the killing of Jesus, the Holocaust Museum says.

Niemller was a complicated guy.

Pressured by other German Christians, he became concerned that the Nazis were politicizing the church, excluding non-Aryans. In 1933, he founded the Pastors Emergency League (PEL) to address the issue. A year later, he and two Protestant bishops met with Hitler to discuss their concerns a turning point in Niemllers political sympathies, the Holocaust Museum said, explaining why:

At the meeting it became clear that Niemllers phone had been tapped by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) and that the PEL was under close state surveillance. Following the meeting, the two bishops signed a statement of unconditional loyalty to the Fhrer. In contrast, Niemller had come to see the Nazi state as a dictatorship, one which he would oppose.

[Hitlers mother was the only person he genuinely loved.]

Niemllers sermonsattacked the Third Reichs attempts to control the church. The Nazis obviously didnt like this very much. They sent him to Dachau, a German concentration camp, where the intolerant ideology of his earlier years continued dissipating, as he recounted in the 1960s TV interview:

it was not at all clear to me what only dawned upon me later in the concentration camp: that, as a Christian, I must conduct myself not according to my sympathies or antipathies, but must see in each human being, even if he is unsympathetic to me, the fellow human being for whom Jesus Christ hung His cross as much as for me. This simply precludes any form of rejection and action against a group of human beings of any race, any religion, any skin color.

After he was liberated by U.S. troops in 1945, Niemller publicly advocated for German Christians who continued supporting Hitler to acknowledge their guilt. However, as the Holocaust Museum points out, Niemller initially failed to explicitly repudiate Hitlers political aims, condemning unequivocally only Nazi interference in religious matters. He also criticized Allied forces.

Then, in 1946, he published a memoir, writing:

Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself.

In his public speeches and sermons including a speaking tour of 52 cities in the United States Niemller began saying the things for which he is now remembered.

Sort of.

In examining interviews, speech transcripts and other documents, University of California at Santa Barbara history professor Harold Marcuse concluded that Niemller didnt quite say things as hes been quoted. The persecuted groups he cited sometimes changed for his audience. So did the order in which he listed them. Sometimes he spoke as we. Other times, it was I and me as in, When they came for me, there wasnt anyone left who protested.

Even today, there is no one correct version, no exact replica of his words.

But there is the spirit.

In 1958, at the end of a paperback issue of The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank, schoolchildren found it put like this:

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew

Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.

(Pastor Niemoeller, Victim of the Nazis in Germany)

Read more Retropolis:

Hitler refused to use sarin during WWII. The mystery is why.

Six Nazi spies were executed in D.C. White supremacists gave them a memorial on federal land.

Death of a devil: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated.

The day 30,000 white supremacists in KKK robes marched in the nations capital

Leo Frank was lynched for a murder he didnt commit. Now neo-Nazis are trying to rewrite history.

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‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history – Washington Post

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‘Raised up by God’: Televangelist Paula White compares Trump to Queen Esther – Washington Post

During last years presidential campaign, some Christian leaders compared Donald Trumpto various biblical kings, most often as a modern-day David, an imperfect man chosen by Godto lead Israel. On Tuesday, televangelist Paula White, a prosperity gospel pastor and spiritual adviser to Trump, madeanother scriptural comparison this timebetween the president and aJewish woman in the bible. Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show, White said Trumps victory in November was akin to Esther becoming queen in the Hebrew Bible because both were unconventionalchoices for the roles they received. Esther, as the story goes in Jewish and Christian scripture, was an orphan hand-pickedby the Persian king to be hisnew queen at atime when Jews were persecuted. In her position she was able to stop a plan tokill all the Jewish people in Persia. The Bible says Esther was placed there by God for this purpose. Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority it is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down, White said on the show. Esther did not have theimage or the background to be queen, yet God chose her, White said. The same is true for Trumps ascent to the presidency, she believes. God is raising up Esthers, she said. Stephen Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine, a Pentecostal news site, said Christians often look for spiritual parallels in modern-day life, so it is natural for them to make these comparisons between Trump and biblical figures, though he could not remember previous presidents, Democrat or Republican,similarly being associated this way. Paula White will be among the invited religious leaders leading a prayer during President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Here’s why she is a considered to be controversial choice. (Claritza Jimenez/Photo: AP, Video: The Post) White has known Trump since the early 2000s, and he chose her as one of the clergy members to pray at his inauguration. The choice was controversial, as my colleague Julie Zauzmer wrote then, because prosperity gospelsays true believers of God will receive both eternal salvation and material wealth on Earth. Other Christians says this is heretical, and warn that preachers like White profit off their gospel by asking followers for money. [Why electing Donald Trump was a triumph for the prosperity gospel] Two years ago, comedian John Oliver did a segment dissecting the practices of prosperity gospel.In 2007, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) launched an investigationinto spending by televangelists, including White. But its reportthree years later did not reach any conclusions. During her appearance this week, White went on to encourage viewers to be obedient and loyal to Trump because it is what God wants. If God hadnt intervened in the U.S. elections, she said, religious liberties would have eroded to such an extentthat people would have had to pray in an underground church within five years. Whites perspective is similar albeit perhaps more dramatic to many conservative Christian leaders who have increasingly said in recent years that growingtolerance for liberal mores and secularism comes at a cost to traditional faith. Many GOP candidates, including Trump, said during the campaign that protecting the religious liberty of traditional believers was among their top priorities. Lance Wallnau, a Christian author, claimed God spoke to him and showed himthat Trump was like King Cyrus, who followed Gods will despite being a pagan. I really believe that the mercy of God intervened in this last election cycle and gave us an individual who has the willpower and the tenacity to be able to do a reset, Wallnau told CBN News in March. I heard the Lord, Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness. Strang shares Wallnaus belief that Cyrus is the more apt comparison, showing that God can raise up a leader to rescue his people even if that leader comes from an untraditional background. He doesnt quite see the Esther one, however. Whites analogy was equally puzzling to Dennis Olson,a professor of Old Testament theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Though he understands the point about Esther and Trump both being outsiders, he sees more reasons why they are opposites. Esthers story is one about protecting persecuted ethnic minorities, said Olson, while the president haswonsupport from white supremacist groups and seeks to crack down onimmigration. But evangelical Christians in America see themselves as persecuted by an increasingly secular nation and see Trump as the one chosento fight for them. On that subject, Strang has written a book to be released in November called, God and Donald Trump, which examinesTrumps divine win. I believe that bible-bleeding Christians have been praying for a turn in our country and we feel our religious liberties have been eroded and our country is less and less Godly, Strang said. And somehow, someway, his election was a partial answer to our prayer. Read more: Megachurch pastor resigns from Trumps evangelical council As a white evangelical leader, I have said too little on racism. I ask forgiveness. Citing Trump, World Relief to lay off 140 staffers and close five locations

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Lion’s Den: Being a part of the prophecy – The Jerusalem Post

Henri Dunant.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons) Apart from the Jewish people, there is no other people group in the world that supports Israel more passionately than Bible-believing Christians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that without the support of Christian Zionists the Jewish state may never have been established. When Theodore Herzl was rejected by the influential Jewish leaders at his time, it was Christian friends, such as Rev. William Hechler, who introduced him to world leaders who could support his cause. The list of prominent Christian leaders who have played a key role in the birthing of the Jewish state is long but still many of them are forgotten. The Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1901, Henri Dunant, was not only an exceptional humanitarian and the founder of the International Red Cross. He was also a passionate friend of Israel who dreamed of a Jewish homeland in Palestine even before Herzl had written Der Judenstaat. He later befriended the latter and was part of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. In Britain, influential men of cloth as well as government ministers, such as Lord Palmerston and Lord Balfour, believed in restoring the Jewish people back to the land of their ancestors, and they did everything in their power to make it happen. What unites these heroes of faith is the fact that they loved Israel and the Jewish people, not only in words but also in deeds. For Hechler and Dunant it was not enough to have discovered biblical truth and celebrate Gods promises, they were also willing to become part of their fulfillment. Modern Christians could learn a lot from these men. Loving Israel can become a subculture where we preach to the choir and celebrate Israel within the four walls of our church while support for Israel in society at large and among the younger generations in particular is eroding. Hechler and Dunant did not keep their passions for themselves but were actively influencing mainstream culture and decision-makers for the Zionist cause. Also in modern times we have many examples of Christians who have turned their love for Israel in to practical action. Many Christian Jerusalem-based ministries help out whenever there is a need. When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989 Christians from around the world were ready to help those Jews who wanted to make aliya. For Swiss businessman Gustav Scheller it was simply not enough to watch prophecy unfold, he wanted to be part of it and so he gave up his successful travel business to help bring Jews out from Russia to Israel by ship. Over the years tens of thousands have been assisted in making aliya thanks to Scheller and his Christians friends. In 2001, as new forms of antisemitism resurged in Europe and around the world, a few of us discovered that Christians who loved Israel did not have a voice in the international political arena. They were helping out in many wonderful ways by visiting the land and giving generously to social projects. But whenever Israel was attacked at the European Union or the United Nations, Israel and the Jewish organizations were alone. A few years later I helped start a new organization to help give Christians a voice at a governmental level in the international capitals of the world. The challenges facing Israel today are not only from conventional wars but just as often diplomatic. Still to this day, Christians can help defend Israel and the Jewish people with prayer and advocacy. The trenches of the battle for Jerusalem will take place in the corridors of power in Brussels and New York just as much as around the borders of Israel. This is where Christians are again called to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and to love Israel in the spirit of Dunant, Hechler and Scheller. The writer is the founding director of European Coalition for Israel. For more info please visit www.ec4i.org. The writer can be reached at [emailprotected]sign up to our newsletter Share on facebook

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Standing Firm in the Face of Moral Depravity at the Top – The Good Men Project (blog)

Embed from Getty Images This post is the opinion of the the author and does not necessarily represent The Good Men Project. One day, when I was very young child in New York City, I sat upon my maternal grandfather Simon (Szymon) Mahlers knee. Looking down urgently but with deep affection, he said to me through his distinctive Polish accent, Varn, you are named after my father, your great-grandfather, Wolf Mahler. I lived in Krosno, Poland with my father, Wolf, and my mother, Bascha Trencher Mahler, and 13 brothers and sisters, and aunts, uncles, and cousins. Simon talked about our mishpocheh (family) with pride, but as he told me this, he revealed an obvious sadness on his face. I asked him if our family still lived in Poland, and he responded that his father and most of the remainder of his family were no longer alive. When I asked him how they had died, he told me that they had all been killed by people called Nazis except his mother, Bascha, who died of a heart attack in 1934. I questioned him why the Nazis killed our family, and he responded, Because they were Jews. Those words have reverberated in my mind, haunting me ever since. We later learned that Nazi troops forced 2100 Jewish residents of Krosno into the woods, shot them, and tossed their lifeless bodies into a mass unmarked grave. The Nazis eventually loaded the remaining Jews of Krosno onto cattle cars and transported them to Auschwitz and Belzec death camps. The handful of Krosno Jews who survived liberation of the camps attempted to return to their homes that had been confiscated by the non-Jewish residents, but the Polish residents refused to return their property. Today, no Jews reside in the area. More recently, on a snowy February morning in 2002, while in my university office organizing materials for that days classes, I received an email message that would forever poignantly and profoundly change my life. A man named Charles Mahler had been looking for descendents of the Mahler family of Krosno, Poland, and he had come across an essay I had written focusing on Wolf and Bascha Mahler. Charles informed me that he had survived the German Holocaust along with his sister, parents, and maternal grandparents and uncle, but the Nazis murdered his fathers parents (Jacques and Anja Mahler), sister, and her two children, and other relatives following Hitlers invasion and occupation of Belgium, their adopted home country. My cousin Charles related their story in hiding from August 1942 until the final armistice in Europe. His father, Georg, altered the familys identity papers from Jewish to Christian, and they abandoned Antwerp for what they considered the relative safety of the Belgium countryside. During their plight, members of the Belgium resistance movement and other righteous Christians shepherded them throughout the remainder of the war to three separate locations as the German Gestapo followed closely at their heels. On a number of occasions, they successfully passed as Christian directly under the watchful gaze of unsuspecting Nazis. Though most of the Jewish inhabitants of Antwerp ultimately perished, many survived. However, at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel) one will observe Krosno chiseled into the glass and the stone walls listing towns and villages where Nazis and their sympathizers decimated entire Jewish communities. Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene. I have learned many lessons in my studies of genocides perpetrated throughout the ages. Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene. Everyone, not only the direct perpetrators of oppression, plays a key role in the genocide dramas. On a micro level, this is also apparent, for example, in episodes of schoolyard, community-based, as well as electronic forms of bullying. According to the American Medical Association definition: Bullying is a specific type of aggression in which the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. Dan Olweus, international researcher and bullying prevention specialist, enumerates the distinctive and often overlapping roles enacted in these episodes: the person or persons who perpetrate bullying; the active followers; those who passively support, condone, or collude in the aggression; the onlookers (sometimes referred to as bystanders); the possible defenders; those who actually defend the targets of aggression; and those who are exposed and attacked. One piece of my family puzzle met a tragic end, another partial segment survived. In both instances, the bystanders determined the balance of power: in Krosno, they conspired with the oppressors, while in Antwerp, they dug deeply within themselves transitioning from bystanders into courageous, compassionate, and empathetic upstanders in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Each day we all are called on to make small and larger choices and to take actions. Donald J. Trump made his choice by either losing or refusing to refer to his moral compass when racist and anti-Semitic white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended in Charlottesville, Virginia for their so-called Unite the Right march and rally. His utter failure to take decisive action in words and deeds further energized the far right. The committed and courageous anti-fascist activists, however, who came out to counter the pure and undisguised hatred of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Boston, Los Angeles, and throughout the nation will ultimately overcome the hatred. They as we the people will ensure that our nation and world will not repeat the evil of the past from genocide of First Nations peoples on this continent to slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching; from the rise of white supremacy and the theocratic right, to McCarthyism and Trumpism. Which side are we on? This question brings to mind civil rights activist Eldridge Cleavers call to action: If youre not part of the solution, youre part of the problem. Today as in the past, no truer words were ever uttered, for in the spectrum from occasional microaggressions to full-blown genocide, there is no such thing as an innocent bystander. __ Photo credit: Getty Images

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many reasons to accept immigrants – Stillwater News Press

Randi Eldevik Stillwater To the editor: In response to Allan Walls letter he seems to think that alleviation of poverty is the only humanitarian reason why immigrants were ever allowed to enter the U.S. In fact, it is one of many reasons. Providing a home for people who have been forced out of their old homes by war or by cruel foreign regimes is another reason. Walls suggestion that charity dollars should be used abroad to alleviate poverty in other countries might be a good suggestion so long as poverty is the only problem; but it is a suggestion that doesnt apply to people who are fleeing from war or tyranny. Those people need a safe haven elsewhere, without delay; once that is achieved you can consider pouring American dollars into a foreign war or non-military attempts at bringing about regime change, but you may find this financially prohibitive. I suggest we be guided by Emma Lazaruss words engraved at the base of the State of Liberty: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Notice that poverty is mentioned (your poor), but the need to escape tyranny in order to breathe free gets a bigger emphasis. To me, the refusal of many states in the U.S. to take in Syrian refugees is shameful. The excuses given the idea that the Syrian refugees may be terrorists in disguise are similar to the reasons why German Jews, desperate to escape from Hitler, were turned away from the U.S. in the late 1930s and the early 1940s: just because they spoke German, they were suspected of being Nazi agents in disguise! A whole shipload of Jewish refugees was turned back from American shores and eventually returned to Germany, where the passengers were killed. This cruelty on the part of the U.S. government shouldnt have occurred then and should not be occurring now. I say this not only because I, as a Christian, abhor cruelty, but also because I know that the writer Emma Lazarus was Jewish and practiced Jewish ethics that are similar to Christian ethics. Indeed, among all my friends who include other Christians, and Jews, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and agnostics and atheists there exists great similarity in our practice of ethics toward our fellow man. In order to persuade the greatest number of readers, I prefer not to appeal exclusively to my fellow Christians, but rather to put up a big tent that acknowledges the ethical overlap among all compassionate people. I hope this big tent will attract more people than does the heartlessness of the RAISE proposal.

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Rochester area pastor says the church should lead the way to unity following Charlottesville – WXXI News

Between 750 and 1,000 Christians and Jews from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds are expected to attend a joint worship service in Rochester Sunday. The ROC Service and picnic will bring together four Christian and one Jewish congregation for an annual gathering that has been held for the past decade, but faith leaders say there is a special meaning behind this year’s event. Vince DiPaola, pastor of Lakeshore Community Church, says the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville proves more than ever the need to unit people of all faiths. “I don’t know all of the people who were involved in Charlottesville, but certainly when some of them claim to be Nazis or Aryans or white supremacists, it shakes us all to the core.” Pastor DiPaolo says the event is more about embracing unity than it is a protest. “If we can advance the positive…sometimes we just kind of spend time in the ‘ain’t in awful, ain’t it awful, ain’t it awful,’ and there may be a place for that, but I want to say ‘here’s how it can be better,’ and I believe the pastors of the other churches believe the same thing.” Two services are scheduled Sunday, August 27 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Lakeshore Community Church at 3651 Latta Road. The 11 a.m. service will be followed by a picnic at 12:30 p.m. The services will include members of Ark of Jesus Ministries, Congregation Shema Yisrael, New Way Christian Faith Center, and Victorious Living Christian Life Center, but Pastor DiPaolo said anyone who is open to God is welcome to attend. “I believe it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said the most segregated time of the week is Sunday at 11, he said. And and we just feel that’s the exact opposite of what it should be; we feel the church should be modeling the way.”

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Solar Eclipse of 2017: Four Reasons It’s Bad, According to the Talmud – Haaretz

Judaism’s central rabbinic text says today’s solar eclipse is nothing to celebrate CHARLESTON – Across the United States, Jews are gathering in anticipation of the historic Great American Eclipse, particularly in cities known as ideal spots to experience the phenomenon. But at the downtown Brith Shalom Beth Israel synagogue Sunday evening, nestled in the historic southern city perfectly positioned for the Monday event, Dr. Jeremy Brown had bad news for a group who had gathered for a kosher meal on Eclipse Eve: in traditional Judaism, an eclipse is nothing to celebrate. Eclipses happen because people sin, he said. Theres no getting around it, Brown says. The Talmud – the central text of rabbinic Judaism – is unambiguous in its interpretation of eclipses – both lunar and solar, as a form of divine punishment – a curse to be dreaded and feared, rather than a miraculous wonder of nature. If that isnt bad enough, Brown told his audience of Charleston locals and Jews who had come to the city for the big event, the four sins specifically blamed by the Talmud plunging the earth into eerie darkness are so notably bizarre and politically incorrect, that nobody really wants to talk about them. What are they? 1. The failure to properly bury the leader of a Rabbinic Court 2. If a betrothed girl cries out as she is being raped and there is no one to save her 3. Homosexuality 4. If two brothers were killed at the same time. If these reasons sound random and unrelated with no possible connection, fear not – said Brown. Even the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, normally relied upon for his clear and concise Talmudic explanation of just about everything, was uncharacteristically clueless in the case of eclipse-triggering transgressions, writing I have not heard any explanation for this. Brown, a doctor, who wrote the book New Heavens and a New Earth: The Jewish reception of Copernican Thought and recently published an article on halachic and philosophical aspects of the 2017 eclipse traveled from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland to Charleston to fully experience the eclipse first-hand. For centuries, he notes, rabbis have wrestled with the Talmudic attitude towards eclipse. It contains, he notes, an inherent illogic in the Jewish approach that was clear even hundreds of years ago. Eclipses are a natural occurrence that is utterly predictable, they will take place no matter what any human being does. So how in the world, rabbis and scholars have asked, could they possibly be a result of sin or any form of human behavior? We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. As far back as 1609, Brown said, the Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Yehuda Loew tried to justify the Talmudic text by theorizing if we lived in a world without sin, no eclipses would happen. In his view, since human fallibility and sin are both inevitable, so was an eclipse. That attitude, however, leans closer to the Christian concept of original sin than to the traditional Jewish beliefs. Another big problem with the Maharals theory as far as Jews are concerned, he observed – if there were never any eclipses, it would have to mean that the moon wouldnt ever be able to orbit in the same plane as the sun and the earth. The only way for there to be no solar eclipses in the Maharals imaginary sin-free universe would be for the moon to orbit the earth at 90 to the sun-earth axis. Then it would never come between the sun and the earth, says Brown. This would wreak havoc with the Jewish calendar, which is based on lunar patterns – preventing Rosh Chodesh the beginning of the Hebrew month, that Jews consider a kind of a holiday. The conundrum continued in the modern era, with famed Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson positing in 1957 that while a solar eclipse was predictable, the local weather was most certainly not. So presumably, if it was a cloudy day and the eclipse wasnt visible, people hadnt been sinful, but if it was clear and the sight was eerily abnormal – that meant the sins had taken place. Schneerson was emphatic when it came to those who might be inspired to bless the event, writing that it is forbidden to institute a blessing that is not mentioned in the Talmud. And some say that the reason that no blessing was instituted is because the eclipse is a bad omen. Brown says that the rebbe believed that if Jews should pray for anything – it would be that the eclipse shouldnt happen. Or maybe they should just cry gevalt! But, over the years, he notes it seems attitudes have softened. When Israels current Chief Rabbi David Lau was asked in 2006 was asked whether it wasnt perhaps possible to view such a cosmic occurrence in a positive light and even say a blessing when it occurs if they feel a religious stirring. In his response, Lau admitted that he himself had also been awed when witnessing an eclipse, but that because the rabbis of the Talmudic era had not prescribed a blessing over an eclipse, it was not possible to institute such a blessing today. He added, however, that there was nothing wrong with reciting an appropriately celebratory and worshipful psalm, and even recommended a few for the occasion. Brown, an observant Jew himself, endorses Laus approach, as do, he says, most of todays rabbis. Even though an official eclipse prayer may technically be out-of-bounds for the faithful, he thinks a memorable celestial event is indeed an occasion joyful attention and wonder – no matter what the Talmud says. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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August 21, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

One in three Jews considers leaving Britain because of rising antisemitism – ChristianToday

One in three British Jews has considered leaving the UK due to surging antisemitism, according to a report today from the Campaign Against Antisemitism(CAA). Surveys of more than 3,000 British Jews for the campaign’s Antisemitism Barometer by YouGov and the campaign found nearly a third of British Jews have considered leaving the UK in the past two years. Just six in ten, or 59 per cent, of British Jews feel welcome in the UK, and 17 per cent feel unwelcome. For the past two years, 37 per cent of British Jews have been concealing their Judaism in public. Examples of those preparing to quit Britain include include Mandy, a Jewish businesswoman whose father was the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and a Major in the army, and whose mother was a magistrate. Mandy is now making preparations to leave Britain due to mounting antisemitism in politics and antisemitic crime, and the failure to tackle it. Another is Michelle, a mother who has moved her family to Israel due to growing antisemitism in Britain, which made her fear for her children’s future. Last month, CAA published police figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showing that there has been a 45 per cent surge in antisemitic crime since 2014. Additionally CAA revealed that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has yet to prosecute more than two dozen antisemitic crimes per year. More than half of British Jews said that the CPS is not doing enough to fight antisemitism, and only 39 per cent of British Jews felt confident that antisemitic hate crime would be prosecuted. Nearly eight in ten British Jews feel that recent political events have resulted in increased hostility towards Jews, and for two years, more than four-fifths of British Jews have considered the Labour Party to be harbouring antisemites in its ranks. The failure of the criminal justice system and political parties to tackle antisemitism is in stark contrast with the attitudes of the British public towards Jews. YouGov’s polling for CAA found that antisemitism, measured by how many respondents agreed with seven antisemitic statements, has been in decline for the past three years. In 2015, 45 per cent of British people held at least one antisemitic view, but that fell to 40 per cent in 2016 and then dropped again to 36 per cent in 2017. In the report, CAA calls on the Government to urgently implement the recommendations of our last two National Antisemitic Crime Audits, and for all political parties to adopt our manifesto for fighting antisemitism. ‘Our recommendations for the criminal justice system include basic measures such as producing specific training and guidance on antisemitic hate crime for officers and prosecutors, instructing Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to review all police forces’ responses to antisemitic crime, appointing a senior officer in each force with responsibility for overseeing the response to antisemitic hate crime, and requiring the Crown Prosecution Service to record and regularly publish details of cases involving antisemitism and their outcomes, as police forces are already required to do. ‘Our recommendations for political parties are to adopt the Government’s definition of antisemitism, as many have, and to enforce it using transparent and robust disciplinary processes, with expulsion from the party in the worst cases,’ the campaign said. Gideon Falter of the CAA said: ‘We now have data that show that in a very British way, fairly and quietly, Britons have been rejecting antisemitic prejudice. British society has shunned a growing worldwide addiction to antisemitism and proved that so-called British values are no mere buzzphrase, but are embedded in our national being. ‘However, our research shows that one in three British Jews has become so fearful of mounting antisemitic crime and the failure to excise antisemites from politics that they have considered leaving Britain altogether. Our research clearly shows that British Jews have pointed their fingers at the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party. ‘If British society can fight antisemitism, why are our world-renowned criminal justice system and some of our famous political parties still doing too little? There is not a moment to lose. Without urgent change, British Jews may start to leave, as has happened elsewhere in Europe.’

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Here’s What Different Religions Have To Say About The Solar Eclipse – The Daily Caller

A full solar eclipse will appear over America on Monday for the fist time in close to a century, and various religious groups have hailed it as a sign of great spiritual significance. The eclipse, which will be sighted first in Salem, Ore., just after 10 a.m. PT and will enter the final stage of visibility from land right before 3 p.m. EST over Charleston, S.C., is the first total solar eclipse to be visible over North America in 99 years. Eclipses, both solar and lunar, are entirely predictable, but the timing and positioning of eclipses have led some people to question whether it is an instrument of divine communication. For many religious groups, the answer is yes. The intended divine message, however, depends on who you ask. Here are some of the various answers. The Ancients Solar eclipses were a thing of terror for the ancient world. Day plunged into night. The sun, which some cultures revered as a god, disappeared; and the natural order, as humanity knew it, was totally subverted. The ancient Mesopotamians believed a total solar eclipse signified the death of a king, while the Aztecs sacrificed people of fair complexion to stave off demons of darkness, whom they believed would come down and devour people, according to Live Science. Several other ancient cultures believed celestial beasts or dark deities devoured the sun, according to Time And Date. The ancient Chinese claimed a heavenly dragon consumed the sun and had to be scared away by banging pots and pans. The Vietnamese blamed a giant frog, while Norse cultures said hungry wolves ate the sun. Ancient Hindus claimed Rahu was the culprit. Rahu was the head of a demon, severed for stealing the nectar of the gods, who followed the sun as the personified form of one of the nine planets. Every so often, as the legend goes, Rahu would catch up to the sun and devour it. Judaism Jews traditionally interpreted solar eclipses to be the result of human sin angering God, who would then hide the sun as a warning to his people, according to the Babylonian Talmud. Ancient Hebrews knew that eclipses could be predicted, but still believed they were a sign. When the luminaries are stricken, it is an ill omen for the world. To what can we compare this? To a king of flesh and blood who prepared a feast for his servants and set a lantern to illuminate the hall. But then he became angry with them and said to his servant: Take the lantern from before them and seat them in darkness,’ Talmud, Sukkah 29a The text goes on to state that lunar eclipses are ill omens for Israel, since Jews follow the lunar calendar, while solar eclipses are ill omens for non-Jews, or Gentiles, as they followed solar calendars. Modern interpretations of solar eclipses in the Jewish faith vary, but still depict the event as a negative thing or, at the very least, a time for contemplation of ones place in the universe, according to the Rabbinical Assembly. Whether or not one views the solar eclipse as a negative event according to their interpretation of the Jewish faith, the Rabbinical Assembly prescribed a particular blessing to be said over the eclipse. , (BlessedWhose power and strength fill the world.) Christianity Modern Christian interpretations of solar eclipses vary almost as widely as the denominations of the Christian faith. One view, according to Religion News Service(RNS), is that while the heavens operate according to the design of God, who created them, solar eclipses do not foretell the end of the world or any lesser calamity. The term fake news is very in vogue and overused these days. The end times stuff is kind of like fake religion,’ Roman Catholic Rev.James Kurzynski told RNS. Its just the kind of stuff thats spun in a way to try to get Christians scared when theres nothing to fear. Gary Ray, writer for the Charismatic Christian publication Unsealed, presented a view from the other end of the spectrum of Christian interpretations of eclipses. Ray said he and those who follow a similar interpretation of the Christian faith do not believe the eclipse will announce the end of the world, but that it does communicate a warning about the latter days of history as we know it. We simply believe that God may be communicating a message through this eclipse about thegeneral nearnessof the rapture of the Church and Christs return, Garys explanation reads. In other words, we believe that these prophetic events will occur soon, but we dont know the day or hour on which they will occur. Gary noted the timing of this eclipse presented certain numerical signs significant in a Christian context. The event will occur 33 days before another celestial event during which the constellation Virgo will be clothed in the sun, moon will be at her feet, and Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will join the constellation Leo to crown Virgo with 12 celestial bodies. Some believe that this alignment is the sign referenced in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, verses one through five, which appears to announce the second coming of Christ. The eclipse also happens on the same day of the beginning of the Season of Teshuvah, a period of 40 days leading up to Yom Kippur. Jews view this season as a time to prepare ones heart and get in right standing with God for the Day of Atonement. The period holds significance for Christians who view the eclipse from an eschatological (study of end times) perspective. Islam Muslims believe that eclipses are a sign from Allah that do not portend the death or birth of anyone in particular, but remind Muslims of the approaching Day of Judgement. One particular Hadith describes the Prophet Muhammeds reaction to and explanation of a solar eclipse during his lifetime: The sun eclipsed and the Prophet () got up, being afraid that it might be the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment). He went to the Mosque and offered the prayer with the longest Qiyam, bowing and prostration that I had ever seen him doing. Then he said, These signs which Allah sends do not occur because of the life or death of somebody, but Allah makes His worshipers afraid by them. So when you see anything thereof, proceed to remember Allah, invoke Him and ask for His forgiveness. The Hadith prescribes that two cycles of a prayer specifically recommended for the event of an eclipse be offered in a Muslim congregation, according to ThoughtCo. Hinduism Hindu tradition, according to the Vedas, or Hindu scriptures, states that eclipses are bad omens, as they are a reflection of the demon Rahu. Therefore the Vedas prescribe certain rules and activities before, during, and after an eclipse to purify Hindu faithful from the bad effects of the eclipse, according to Festivals of India. The Vedas advise Hindus to fast from food during the day of the eclipse, refrain from sleeping during the event, chant certain purifying mantras throughout the day, and throw away any extra prepared food before the eclipse. Pregnant women are advised not to move during the eclipse and water imbibed must be infused with Basil or Tulsi leaves. Hindu adherents are advised to bathe in their clothes after the eclipse and give to charity according to their means. Neo-Pagan The umbrella of neo-paganism, which is the resurgence of different pagan belief systems updated for modern time, houses various interpretations of solar eclipses. Wiccans, which worship various deities and nature spirits, believe it to be a time for personal transformation, when the sun and the moon work in union and allow for occult practitioners to work with them to bring their magic down to earth for the purposes of cleansing and inner spiritual evolution, according to the Wiccan community at Oak Spirit Sanctuary. Occult practitioners in that community will perform rituals during the eclipse in for inner cleansing and worship of the goddess Nuit, who features prominently in the Wiccan tradition of Thelema. Thelema is an occult philosophy founded in 1904 by the occultist Aleister Crowley. Be Safe Whatever your beliefs about the upcoming solar eclipse, people of all faiths should avoid looking directly at the full eclipse without special sunglasses, as doing so will cause blindness. via GIPHY Follow Joshua on Twitter Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [emailprotected].

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August 20, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

‘Then they came for me’: A Hitler supporter’s haunting warning has a complicated history – Washington Post

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew. The words above are displayed at the United States Holocaust Museum. This week, amid outrage over President Trumps rhetoric about the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville,they have been recited around the world as a simple, haunting warning. But the lineage of those words is more complicated, beginning with Martin Niemller, the German Protestant pastor who originally spoke them. Niemller supported Adolf Hitler and Jewish hatred until he was sent to a concentration camp. In my native Teklenburg, there were many farmers who were in debt to Jewish moneylenders and livestock traders, he told a German TV host in 1963. At that time, the mood in this area was not systematically anti-Semitic, but it was intuitively and traditionally so, and I never questioned it. In 1920, at age 28, he belonged to the Academic Defense Corps, a group of right-wing students with nationalist, hateful ideologies. His beliefs found their way into his calling, according to a Holocaust Museum biography: Niemllers sermons reflected his strong nationalist sentiment. He felt that reparations, democracy and foreign influence had led to damaging social fragmentation and an overemphasis on the individual in German society. Niemller believed that Germany needed a strong leader to promote national unity and honor. Hitler. Niemller cheered the rise of the National Socialist Party, voting for Hitler and openly echoing his nationalistic, pro-Christian, exclusionary rhetoric. Niemller remained an outspoken anti-Semite throughout the 1930s, justifying his prejudices by referring to Christian teachings that the Jews were guilty of deicide, the killing of Jesus, the Holocaust Museum says. Niemller was a complicated guy. Pressured by other German Christians, he became concerned that the Nazis were politicizing the church, excluding non-Aryans. In 1933, he founded the Pastors Emergency League (PEL) to address the issue. A year later, he and two Protestant bishops met with Hitler to discuss their concerns a turning point in Niemllers political sympathies, the Holocaust Museum said, explaining why: At the meeting it became clear that Niemllers phone had been tapped by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police) and that the PEL was under close state surveillance. Following the meeting, the two bishops signed a statement of unconditional loyalty to the Fhrer. In contrast, Niemller had come to see the Nazi state as a dictatorship, one which he would oppose. [Hitlers mother was the only person he genuinely loved.] Niemllers sermonsattacked the Third Reichs attempts to control the church. The Nazis obviously didnt like this very much. They sent him to Dachau, a German concentration camp, where the intolerant ideology of his earlier years continued dissipating, as he recounted in the 1960s TV interview: it was not at all clear to me what only dawned upon me later in the concentration camp: that, as a Christian, I must conduct myself not according to my sympathies or antipathies, but must see in each human being, even if he is unsympathetic to me, the fellow human being for whom Jesus Christ hung His cross as much as for me. This simply precludes any form of rejection and action against a group of human beings of any race, any religion, any skin color. After he was liberated by U.S. troops in 1945, Niemller publicly advocated for German Christians who continued supporting Hitler to acknowledge their guilt. However, as the Holocaust Museum points out, Niemller initially failed to explicitly repudiate Hitlers political aims, condemning unequivocally only Nazi interference in religious matters. He also criticized Allied forces. Then, in 1946, he published a memoir, writing: Thus, whenever I chance to meet a Jew known to me before, then, as a Christian, I cannot but tell him: Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against thy people and against thyself. In his public speeches and sermons including a speaking tour of 52 cities in the United States Niemller began saying the things for which he is now remembered. Sort of. In examining interviews, speech transcripts and other documents, University of California at Santa Barbara history professor Harold Marcuse concluded that Niemller didnt quite say things as hes been quoted. The persecuted groups he cited sometimes changed for his audience. So did the order in which he listed them. Sometimes he spoke as we. Other times, it was I and me as in, When they came for me, there wasnt anyone left who protested. Even today, there is no one correct version, no exact replica of his words. But there is the spirit. In 1958, at the end of a paperback issue of The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank, schoolchildren found it put like this: First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me. (Pastor Niemoeller, Victim of the Nazis in Germany) Read more Retropolis: Hitler refused to use sarin during WWII. The mystery is why. Six Nazi spies were executed in D.C. White supremacists gave them a memorial on federal land. Death of a devil: The white supremacist got hit by a car. His victims celebrated. The day 30,000 white supremacists in KKK robes marched in the nations capital Leo Frank was lynched for a murder he didnt commit. Now neo-Nazis are trying to rewrite history.

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August 19, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed


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