Archive for the ‘Christian’ Category

A Gellman the Dog sighting – Plattsburgh Press Republican

Q: Hello, Rabbi Gellman, My name is N … and a friend recently gave me a copy of your column from the Raleigh News & Observer, May 7, 2017. I am a puppy walker for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and I was the starting home for a puppy named Gellman in the summer of 2014. I knew he had a sponsor, but never knew the origin of his name. In August of 2014 he went to a puppy walker at the University of Georgia named Kaitlyn. I was wondering if this is the puppy your congregants sponsored. Kaitlyn and I have a lot of pictures of this sweet boy if you are interested.

A: When I retired from my synagogue in 2014, my dear congregants sponsored a guide dog puppy in my honor and gave him the name “Gellman.” Although at first I was a little confused to know that in our world there is now a Gellman the Rabbi as well as a Gellman the Dog, I was also a bit embarrassed to know that somewhere someone was shouting, “Gellman! Don’t pee on the rug!”

Nevertheless, I was happy and proud to continue my support for this terrific and holy organization. I lost track of Gellman the dog and I am sure that your kind note was a message from God (and Gellman). Please send pictures. I think the odds of there being two guide dogs with the name “Gellman” is in the zero range, and the timeline matches. I hope Gellman is helping someone see. That is all I have ever tried to do in my own way. Thank you and God bless you!

Q: I was raised Catholic. Everything I read in the Bible (teaches) that everyone was Jewish. How did I become Catholic? Where did (Catholicism) come from? I asked several people, including a priest and haven’t gotten an answer. I think it would make a great article. From J on Long Island, N.Y.

A: Well dear J, let’s begin by correcting your misapprehension that everyone in the Bible is Jewish. In addition to the big empire guys (Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and Philistines) there were also a lot of smaller non-Jewish tribes in biblical times like the Jebusites, Hittites, Amalekites, and a variety of other and assorted “ites”). However, on the line you are concerned about, the Jewish people began around 1,800 years before zero in the time of Abraham. They left Egypt in the Exodus with Moses around 1,200 BCE and the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon occurred around the year 1,000 BCE. Jesus comes into the picture obviously around the year zero.

It is true that Jesus and all his disciples were Jewish. In fact whenever people try to convert me to Christianity I ask them, “Was Jesus Jewish?” They answer “Yes” and so I say, “Well, if it was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me!”

The split between Judaism and Christianity occurred after Jesus’ death with the Apostle Paul in the first century. Paul found that the Jewish laws concerning circumcision and not eating pork had severely limited his work in converting gentiles to Christianity and he began to preach that keeping such ritual provisions of Jewish law were no longer necessary for new Christians.

This violation of Jewish law plus of course the claim that Jesus was the Messiah caused a final split between Paul and the Jerusalem Church led by James, and with it a final split between Judaism and Christianity. This is the period of what is called the Apostolic Church and it lasted until 325 when the Emperor Constantine under the influence of his mother Helena declared Christianity to be the religion of the Roman Empire.

The whole Roman Empire was transformed from an empire that fed Christians to lions to an empire that worshiped Jesus as God. This gigantic empire caused Christianity to split into five sees or districts by the mid-6th century called the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. With the rise of the Islamic Empire in the 7th century the Eastern sees that were within the Islamic empire were cut off from Rome, which became the center of the Roman Catholic church. In the 16th century the Christian world split into Catholicism and Protestantism and that is how the Christian world looks today.

In the meantime the Jewish world slowly grew on its own and eventually became the target of anti-Semitism, which was condemned by Pope John XXIII in the 1960s as a sin that was rejected from all Catholic teachings.

All of this made possible the God Squad and my friendship with Father Tom Hartman, and all this enabled us to write a column where I could explain to you where all the Christians came from and where all the Jews went to.

Send all questions and comments to the God Squad via email at godsquadquestion@aol.com.

See the original post:
A Gellman the Dog sighting – Plattsburgh Press Republican

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

American Cyrus: How Desperate Christians Anointed Trump – HuffPost

As best anyone can tell, the nonsense began with Lance Wallnau, an evangelical Christian and self-styled leadership coach who boasts a doctorate in theology from an institution that awards academic credit for life experience such as hobbies, extensive reading, and television courses.

As Wallnau tells it, the Lord spoke to him in early 2016, revealing that Donald Trump, then a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, was a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.

A bit later, God followed up with another message for Wallnau: a vision of Trump as the 45th president and a command to read Isaiah 45.

Forty-fifth president, 45th chapter. Get it?

The section in the Hebrew bibles Book of Isaiah to which Wallnau was summoned lauds the Persian king Cyrus the Greats release of the Jews from their so-called Babylonian Captivity. The Jewish kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 587 BC. Jerusalem was razed and its king and people hauled off to Babylon. Fifty years later, after the Babylonians were in turn conquered by Cyrus, he allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem.

Isaiah (or, more accurately, the unknown author of chapter 45; there are most likely 3 different authors writing during different time periods) was ecstatic at this outcome, going so far as to praise Cyrus as mashiah, the anointed one. Believing that God had stirred up the pagan Cyrus to justice, Isaiah rapturously proclaimed that God could use even an ungodly man like the Persian king for good.

And there it was: the birth of the nonsense. Wallnau immediately concluded that God had revealed to him that Trump was the new Cyrus who would lead American exiles back to the promised land. Morally corrupt though he was, Trump was clearly Gods anointed instrument in a cosmic battle against the demonic agenda imperiling America.

Wallnau was so excited by the revelation that he furiously churned out and hurriedly published his own prophetic book, God’s Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and the American Unraveling.

Wallnaus screechy, exclamation point-laden tome appeared just a month before the November 2016 election. His announcement that Trump was Gods instrument was an instant hit with Trump-leaning Christians (and a handful of orthodox Jews) who were nonetheless uncomfortable with the candidates sordid history of sexual groping, mockery of the disabled, fetish for deception, shameless self-promotion, shady business dealings, willingness to throw his own people under the bus, pettiness and petulance in speeches and tweets, disrespect for imprisoned and slain GIs, character assassination of the press, penchant for bullying, and obvious indifference to Christianity.

God used Cyrus, they shouted with relief, and God can use Trump, too! So they swallowed their reservations, overlooked everything repugnant in Trumps character, and put him in the White House to redeem America and stand up for Christian values.

Thats when the anointing of Trump as the American Cyrus transitioned from nonsense to tragedy. The character flaws that sat uneasily with his evangelical supporters have been on full display during the 7 months of his administration, and have ripped the nation apart. If God really is using Trump to restore America, Gods taking his own sweet time going about it.

But in truth, Trump is no Cyrus, and Christians who voted for him out of either genuine hope or cynical pretense that he is made a bargain with the devil. Regardless of their intentions, they embraced one of the most dangerously expedient principles going, and one that in other circumstances the vast majority of them wouldve surely condemned: the end justifies the means.

Opposition to abortion and same-gender marriage was the deciding issue for many conservative Christians when they stepped into the voting booth to cast their ballots for Trump: that was the end. They were willing to hold their noses and even pretend enthusiasm for a candidate whose moral flaws comprise a catalog of virtually everything Christianity is not: the means.

I get that this couldnt have been a pleasant position for them to be in, and that the Cyrus nonsense propagated by Wallnau made the bitter pill go down just a bit easier.

But overlookingnot to mention whitewashingthe presidents egregious moral failings by insisting that God can write straight with Trumps crooked lines is more of a desperate Hail Mary pass than an act of faith, as bitter months of his broken leadership have demonstrated.

The takeaway is what we all know in our heart of hearts, even if we dont always live by it: No end ever justifies corrupt or evil means. That a large percentage of the nations Christians ignore this truth by defending Trump is a scandal that will haunt American Christianity for decades to come.

The Morning Email

Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Read more:
American Cyrus: How Desperate Christians Anointed Trump – HuffPost

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Jews, Christians, and the Law – Commentary Magazine

And yet realism is currently in crisis.

Realism was once a sophisticated intellectual tradition that represented the best in American statecraft. Eminent Cold War realists were broadly supportive of Americas postwar internationalism and its stabilizing role in global affairs, even as they stressed the need for prudence and restraint in employing U.S. power. Above all, Cold Warera realism was based on a hard-earned understanding that Americans must deal with the geopolitical realities as they are, rather than retreat to the false comfort provided by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

More recently, however, those who call themselves realists have lost touch with this tradition. Within academia, realism has become synonymous with a preference for radical retrenchment and the deliberate destruction of arrangements that have fostered international stability and prosperity for decades. Within government, the Trump administration appears to be embracing an equally misguided version of realisman approach that masquerades as shrewd realpolitik but is likely to prove profoundly damaging to American power and influence. Neither of these approaches is truly realist, as neither promotes core American interests or deals with the world as it really is. The United States surely needs the insights that an authentically realist approach to global affairs can provide. But first, American realism will have to undergo a reformation.

Realism has taken many forms over the years, but it has always been focused on the imperatives of power, order, and survival in an anarchic global arena. The classical realistsThucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbesconsidered how states and leaders should behave in a dangerous world in which there was no overarching morality or governing authority strong enough to regulate state behavior. The great modern realiststhinkers and statesmen such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan, and Henry Kissingergrappled with the same issues during and after the catastrophic upheaval that characterized the first half of the 20th century.

They argued that it was impossible to transcend the tragic nature of international politics through good intentions or moralistic maxims, and that seeking to do so would merely empower the most ruthless members of the international system. They contended, on the basis of bitter experience, that aggression and violence were always a possibility in international affairs, and that states that desired peace would thus have to prepare for war and show themselves ready to wield coercive power. Most important, realist thinkers tended to place a high value on policies and arrangements that restrained potential aggressors and created a basis for stability within an inherently competitive global environment.

For this very reason, leading Cold Warera realists advocated a robust American internationalism as the best way of restraining malevolent actors and preventing another disastrous global crack-upone that would inevitably reach out and touch the United States, just as the world wars had. Realist thinkers understood that America was uniquely capable of stabilizing the international order and containing Soviet power after World War II, even as they disagreedsometimes sharplyover the precise nature and extent of American commitments. Moreover, although Cold War realists recognized the paramount role of power in international affairs, most also recognized that U.S. power would be most effective if harnessed to a compelling concept of American moral purpose and exercised primarily through enduring partnerships with nations that shared core American values. An idealistic policy undisciplined by political realism is bound to be unstable and ineffective, the political scientist Robert Osgood wrote. Political realism unguided by moral purpose will be self-defeating and futile. Most realists were thus sympathetic to the major initiatives of postwar foreign policy, such as the creation of U.S.-led military alliances and the cultivation of a thriving Western community composed primarily of liberal democracies.

At the same time, Cold War realists spoke of the need for American restraint. They worried that Americas liberal idealism, absent a sense of limits, would carry the country into quixotic crusades. They thought that excessive commitments at the periphery of the global system could weaken the international order against its radical challengers. They believed that a policy of outright confrontation toward the Kremlin could be quite dangerous. Absolute security for one power means absolute insecurity for all others, Kissinger wrote. Realists therefore advocated policies meant to temper American ambition and the most perilous aspects of superpower competition. They supportedand, in Kissingers case, ledarms-control agreements and political negotiations with Moscow. They often objected to Americas costliest interventions in the Third World. Kennan and Morgenthau were among the first mainstream figures to go public with opposition to American involvement in Vietnam (Morgenthau did so in the pages of Commentary in May 1962).

During the Cold War, then, realism was a supple, nuanced doctrine. It emphasized the need for balance in American statecraftfor energetic action blended with moderation, for hard-headed power politics linked to a regard for partnerships and values. It recognized that the United States could best mitigate the tragic nature of international relations by engaging with, rather than withdrawing from, an imperfect world.

This nuance has now been lost. Academics have applied the label of realism to dangerous and unrealistic policy proposals. More disturbing and consequential still, the distortion of realism seems to be finding a sympathetic hearing in the Trump White House.

Consider the state of academic realism. Todays most prominent self-identified realistsStephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Christopher Layneadvocate a thoroughgoing U.S. retrenchment from global affairs. Whereas Cold War realists were willing to see the world as it wasa world that required unequal burden-sharing and an unprecedented, sustained American commitment to preserve international stabilityacademic realists now engage in precisely the wishful thinking that earlier realists deplored. They assume that the international order can essentially regulate itself and that America will not be threatened byand can even profit froma more unsettled world. They thus favor discarding the policies that have proven so successful over the decades in providing a congenial international climate.

Why has academic realism gone astray? If the Cold War brokered the marriage between realists and American global engagement, the end of the Cold War precipitated a divorce. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. policymakers continued to pursue an ambitious global agenda based on preserving and deepening both Americas geopolitical advantage and the liberal international order. For many realists, however, the end of the Cold War removed the extraordinary threatan expansionist USSRthat had led them to support such an agenda in the first place. Academic realists argued that the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s (primarily in the former Yugoslavia) reflected capriciousness rather than a prudent effort to deal with sources of instability. Similarly, they saw key policy initiativesespecially NATO enlargement and the Iraq war of 2003as evidence that Washington was no longer behaving with moderation and was itself becoming a destabilizing force in global affairs.

These critiques were overstated, but not wholly without merit. The invasion and occupation of Iraq did prove far costlier than expected, as the academic realists had indeed warned. NATO expansioneven as it successfully promoted stability and liberal reform in Eastern Europedid take a toll on U.S.Russia relations. Having lost policy arguments that they thought they should have won, academic realists decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, calling for a radical reformulation of Americas broader grand strategy.

The realists preferred strategy has various namesoffshore balancing, restraint, etc.but the key components and expectations are consistent. Most academic realists argue that the United States should pare back or eliminate its military alliances and overseas troop deployments, going back onshore only if a hostile power is poised to dominate a key overseas region. They call on Washington to forgo costly nation-building and counterinsurgency missions overseas and to downgrade if not abandon the promotion of democracy and human rights.

Academic realists argue that this approach will force local actors in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia to assume greater responsibility for their own security, and that the United States can manipulatethrough diplomacy, arms sales, and covert actionthe resulting rivalries and conflicts to prevent any single power from dominating a key region and thereby threatening the United States. Should these calculations prove faulty and a hostile power be poised to dominate, Washington can easily swoop in to set things aright, as it did during the world wars. Finally, if even this calculation were to prove faulty, realists argue that America can ride out the danger posed by a regional hegemon because the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Americas nuclear deterrent provide geopolitical immunity against existential threats.

Todays academic realists portray this approach as hard-headed, economical strategy. But in reality, it represents a stark departure from classical American realism. During the Cold War, leading realists placed importance on preserving international stability and heeded the fundamental lesson of World Wars I and IIthat the United States, by dint of its power and geography, was the only actor that could anchor international arrangements. Todays academic realists essentially argue that the United States should dismantle the global architecture that has undergirded the international orderand that Washington can survive and even thrive amid the ensuing disorder. Cold War realists helped erect the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous world. Contemporary academic realists advocate tearing down those pillars and seeing what happens.

The answer is nothing good. Contemporary academic realists sit atop a pyramid of faulty assumptions. They assume that one can remove the buttresses of the international system without that system collapsing, and that geopolitical burdens laid down by America will be picked up effectively by others. They assume that the United States does not need the enduring relationships that its alliances have fostered, and that it can obtain any cooperation it needs via purely transactional interactions. They assume that a world in which the United States ceases to promote liberal values will not be a world less congenial to Americas geopolitical interests. They assume that revisionist states will be mollified rather than emboldened by an American withdrawal, and that the transition from U.S. leadership to another global system will not unleash widespread conflict. Finally, they assume that if such upheaval does erupt, the United States can deftly manage and even profit from it, and that America can quickly move to restore stability at a reasonable cost should it become necessary to do so.

The founding generation of American realists had learned not to indulge in wishfully thinking that the international order would create or sustain itself, or that the costs of responding to rampant international disorder would be trivial. Todays academic realists, by contrast, would stake everything on a leap into the unknown.

For many years, neither Democratic nor Republican policymakers were willing to make such a leap. Now, however, the Trump administration appears inclined to embrace its own version of foreign-policy realism, one that bears many similarities toand contains many of the same liabilities asthe academic variant. One of the least academic presidents in American history may, ironically, be buying into some of the most misguided doctrines of the ivory tower.

Any assessment of the Trump administration must remain somewhat provisional, given that Donald Trumps approach to foreign policy is still a work in progress. Yet Trump and his administration have so far taken multiple steps to outline a three-legged-stool vision of foreign policy that they explicitly describe as realist in orientation. Like modern-day academic realism, however, this vision diverges drastically from the earlier tradition of American realism and leads to deeply problematic policy.

The first leg is President Trumps oft-stated view of the international environment as an inherently zero-sum arena in which the gains of other countries are Americas losses. The postWorld War II realists, by contrast, believed that the United States could enjoy positive-sum relations with like-minded nations. Indeed, they believed that America could not enjoy economic prosperity and national security unless its major trading partners in Europe and Asia were themselves prosperous and stable. The celebrated Marshall Plan was high-mindedly generous in the sense of addressing urgent humanitarian needs in Europe, yet policymakers very much conceived of it as serving Americas parochial economic and security interests at the same time. President Trump, however, sees a winner and loser in every transaction, and believeswith respect to allies and adversaries alikethat it is the United States who generally gets snookered. The reality at the core of Trumps realism is his stated belief that America is exploited by every nation in the world virtually.

This belief aligns closely with the second leg of the Trump worldview: the idea that all foreign policy is explicitly competitive in nature. Whereas the Cold War realists saw a Western community of states, President Trump apparently sees a dog-eat-dog world where America should view every transactioneven with allieson a one-off basis. The world is not a global community but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage, wrote National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn in an op-ed. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.

To be sure, Cold War realists were deeply skeptical about one worldism and appeals to a global community. But still they saw the United States and its allies as representing the free world, a community of common purpose forged in the battle against totalitarian enemies. The Trump administration seems to view U.S. partnerships primarily on an ad hoc basis, and it has articulated something akin to a what have you done for me lately approach to allies. The Cold War realistswho understood how hard it was to assemble effective alliances in the first placewould have found this approach odd in the extreme.

Finally, there is the third leg of Trumps realism: an embrace of amorality. President Trump has repeatedly argued that issues such as the promotion of human rights and democracy are merely distractions from winning in the international arena and a recipe for squandering scarce resources. On the presidents first overseas trip to the Middle East in May, for instance, he promised not to lecture authoritarian countries on their internal behavior, and he made clear his intent to embrace leaders who back short-term U.S. foreign-policy goals no matter how egregious their violations of basic human rights and political freedoms. Weeks later, on a visit to Poland, the president did speak explicitly about the role that shared values played in the Wests struggle against Communism during the Cold War, and he invoked the hope of every soul to live in freedom. Yet his speech contained only the most cursory reference to Russiathe authoritarian power now undermining democratic governance and security throughout Europe and beyond. Just as significant, Trump failed to mention that Poland itselfuntil a few years ago, a stirring exemplar of successful transition from totalitarianism to democracyis today sliding backwards toward illiberalism (as are other countries within Europe and the broader free world).

At first glance, this approach might seem like a modern-day echo of Cold War debates about whether to back authoritarian dictators in the struggle against global Communism. But, as Jeane Kirkpatrick explained in her famous 1979 Commentary essay Dictatorships and Double Standards, and as Kissinger himself frequently argued, Cold War realists saw such tactical alliances of convenience as being in the service of a deeper values-based goal: the preservation of an international environment favoring liberty and democracy against the predations of totalitarianism. Moreover, they understood that Americans would sustain the burdens of global leadership over a prolonged period only if motivated by appeals to their cherished ideals as well as their concrete interests. Trump, for his part, has given only faint and sporadic indications of any appreciation of the traditional role of values in American foreign policy.

Put together, these three elements have profound, sometimes radical, implications for Americas approach to a broad range of global issues. Guided by this form of realism, the Trump administration has persistently chastised and alienated long-standing democratic allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific and moved closer to authoritarians in Saudi Arabia, China, and the Philippines. The presidents body language alone has been striking: Trumps summits have repeatedly showcased conviviality with dictators and quasi-authoritarians and painfully awkward interactions with democratic leaders such as Germanys Angela Merkel. Similarly, Trump has disdained international agreements and institutions that do not deliver immediate, concrete benefits for the United States, even if they are critical to forging international cooperation on key issues or advancing longer-term goods. As Trump has put it, he means to promote the interests of Pittsburgh, not Paris, and he believes that those interests are inherently at odds with each other.

To be fair, President Trump and his proxies do view the war on terror as a matter of defending both American security interests and Western civilizations values against the jihadist onslaught. This was a key theme of Trumps major address in Warsaw. Yet the administration has not explained how this civilizational mindset would inform any other aspect of its foreign policywith the possible exception of immigration policyand resorts far more often to the parochial lens of nationalism.

The Trump administration seems to be articulating a vision in which America has no lasting friends, little enduring concern with values, and even less interest in cultivating a community of like-minded nations that exists for more than purely deal-making purposes. The administration has often portrayed this as clear-eyed realism, even invoking the founding father of realism, Thucydides, as its intellectual lodestar. This approach does bear some resemblance to classical realism: an unsentimental approach to the world with an emphasis on the competitive aspects of the international environment. And insofar as Trump dresses down American allies, rejects the importance of values, and focuses on transactional partnerships, his version of realism has quite a lot in common with the contemporary academic version.

Daniel Drezner of Tufts University has noted the overlap, declaring in a Washington Post column, This is [academic] realisms moment in the foreign policy sun. Randall Schweller of Ohio State University, an avowed academic realist and Trump supporter, has been even more explicit, noting approvingly that Trumps foreign-policy approach essentially falls under the rubric of off-shore balancing as promoted by ivory-tower realists in recent decades.

Yet one suspects that the American realists who helped create the postWorld War II order would not feel comfortable with either the academic or Trumpian versions of realism as they exist today. For although both of these approaches purport to be about power and concrete results, both neglect the very things that have allowed the United States to use its power so effectively in the past.

Both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that U.S. power is most potent when it is wielded in concert with a deeply institutionalized community of like-minded nations. Alliances are less about addition and subtractionthe math of the burden-sharing emphasized by Trump and the academic realistsand more about multiplication, leveraging U.S. power to influence world events at a fraction of the cost of unilateral approaches. The United States would be vastly less powerful and influential in Europe and Central Asia without NATO; it would encounter far greater difficulties in rounding up partners to wage the ongoing war in Afghanistan or defeat the Islamic State; it would find itself fighting alonerather than with some of the worlds most powerful partnersfar more often. Likewise, without its longstanding treaty allies in Asia, the United States would be at an almost insurmountable disadvantage vis–vis revisionist powers in that region, namely China.

Both versions of realism also ignore the fact that America has been able to exercise its enormous power with remarkably little global resistance precisely because American leaders, by and large, have paid sufficient regard to the opinions of potential partners. Of course, every administration has sought to put America first, but the pursuit of American self-interest has proved most successful when it enjoys the acquiescence of other states. Likewise, the academic and Trump versions of realism too frequently forget that America draws power by supporting values with universal appeal. This is why every American president from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama has recognized that a more democratic world is likely to be one that is both ideologically and geopolitically more congenial to the United States.

Most important, both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that the classical postWorld War II realists deliberately sought to overcome the dog-eat-dog world that modern variants take as a given. They did so by facilitating cooperation within the free world, suppressing the security competitions that had previously led to cataclysmic wars, creating the basis for a thriving international economy, and thereby making life a little less nasty, brutish, and short for Americans as well as for vast swaths of the worlds population.

If realism is about maximizing power, effectiveness, and security in a competitive global arena, then neither the academic nor the Trump versions of realism merits the name. And if realism is meant to reflect the world as it is, both of these versions are deeply deficient.

This is a tragedy. For if ever there were a moment for an informed realism, it would be now, as the strategic horizon darkens and a more competitive international environment reemerges. There is still time for Trump and his team to adapt, and realism can still make a constructive contribution to American policy. But first it must rediscover its rootsand absorb the lessons of the past 70 years.

A reformed realism should be built upon seven bedrock insights, which President Trump would do well to embrace.

First, American leadership remains essential to restraining global disorder. Todays realists channel the longstanding American hope that there would come a time when the United States could slough off the responsibilities it assumed after World War II and again become a country that relies on its advantageous geography to keep the world at arms length. Yet realism compels an awareness that America is exceptionally suited to the part it has played for nearly four generations. The combination of its power, geographic location, and values has rendered America uniquely capable of providing a degree of global order in a way that is more reassuring than threatening to most of the key actors in the international system. Moreover, given that today the most ambitious and energetic international actors besides the United States are not liberal democracies but aggressive authoritarian powers, an American withdrawal is unlikely to produce multipolar peace. Instead, it is likely to precipitate the upheaval that U.S. engagement and activism have long been meant to avert. As a corollary, realists must also recognize that the United States is unlikely to thrive amid such upheaval; it will probably find that the disorder spreads and ultimately implicates vital American interests, as was twice the case in the first half of the 20th century.

Second, true realism recognizes the interdependence of hard and soft power. In a competitive world, there is no substitute for American hard power, and particularly for military muscle. Without guns, there will notover the long termbe butter. But military power, by itself, is an insufficient foundation for American strategy. A crude reliance on coercion will damage American prestige and credibility in the end; hard power works best when deployed in the service of ideas and goals that command widespread international approval. Similarly, military might is most effective when combined with the softer tools of development assistance, foreign aid, and knowledge of foreign societies and cultures. The Trump administration has sought to eviscerate these nonmilitary capabilities and bragged about its hard-power budget; it would do better to understand that a balance between hard and soft power is essential.

Third, values are an essential part of American realism. Of course, the United States must not undertake indiscriminate interventions in the name of democracy and human rights. But, fortunately, no serious policymakernot Woodrow Wilson, not Jimmy Carter, not George W. Bushhas ever embraced such a doctrine. What most American leaders have traditionally recognized is that, on balance, U.S. interests will be served and U.S. power will be magnified in a world in which democracy and human rights are respected. Ronald Reagan, now revered for his achievements in improving Americas global position, understood this point and made the selective promotion of democracyprimarily through nonmilitary meansa key part of his foreign policy. While paying due heed to the requirements of prudence and the limits of American power, then, American realists should work to foster a climate in which those values can flourish.

Fourth, a reformed realism requires aligning relations with the major powers appropriatelyespecially today, as great-power tensions rise. That means appreciating the value of institutions that have bound the United States to some of the most powerful actors in the international system for decades and thereby given Washington leadership of the worlds dominant geopolitical coalition. It means not taking trustworthy allies for granted or picking fights with them gratuitously. It also means not treating actual adversaries, such as Vladimir Putins Russia, as if they were trustworthy partners (as Trump has often talked of doing) or as if their aggressive behavior were simply a defensive response to American provocations (as many academic realists have done). A realistic approach to American foreign policy begins by seeing great-power relations through clear eyes.

Fifth, limits are essential. Academic realists are wrong to suggest that values should be excised from U.S. policy; they are wrong to argue that the United States should pull back dramatically from the world. Yet they are right that good statecraft requires an understanding of limitsparticularly for a country as powerful as the United States, and particularly at a time when the international environment is becoming more contested. The United States cannot right every wrong, fix every problem, or defend every global interest. America can and should, however, shoulder more of the burden than modern academic and Trumpian realists believe. The United States will be effective only if it chooses its battles carefully; it will need to preserve its power for dealing with the most pressing threat to its national interests and the international orderthe resurgence of authoritarian challengeseven if that means taking an economy-of-force approach to other issues.

Sixth, realists must recognize that the United States has not created and sustained a global network of alliances, international institutions, and other embedded relationships out of a sense of charity. It has done so because those relationships provide forums through which the United States can exercise power at a bargain-basement price. Embedded relationships have allowed the United States to rally other nations to support American causes from the Korean War to the counter-ISIS campaign, and have reduced the transaction costs of collective action to meet common threats from international terrorism to p.iracy. They have provided institutional megaphones through which the United States can amplify its diplomatic voice and project its influence into key issues and regions around the globe. If these arrangements did not exist, the United States would find itself having to create them, or acting unilaterally at far greater cost. If realism is really about maximizing American power, true realists ought to be enthusiastic about relationships and institutions that serve that purpose. Realists should adopt the approach that every postCold War president has embraced: that the United States will act unilaterally in defense of its interests when it must, but multilaterally with partners whenever it can.

Finally, realism requires not throwing away what has worked in the past. One of the most astounding aspects of both contemporary academic realism and the Trumpian variant of that tradition is the cavalier attitude they display toward arrangements and partnerships that have helped produce a veritable golden age of international peace, stability, and liberalism since World War II, and that have made the United States the most influential and effective actor in the globe in the process. Of course, there have been serious and costly conflicts over the past decades, and U.S. policy has always been thoroughly imperfect. But the last 70 years have been remarkably good ones for U.S. interests and the global orderwhether one compares them with the 70 years before the United States adopted its global leadership role, or compares them with the violent disorder that would have emerged if America followed the nostrums peddled today under the realist label. A doctrine that stresses that importance of prudence and discretion, and that was originally conservative in its preoccupation with stability and order, ought not to pursue radical changes in American statecraft or embrace a come what may approach to the world. Rather, such a doctrine ought to recognize that true achievements are enormously difficult to come byand that the most realistic approach to American strategy would thus be to focus on keeping a good thing going.

Follow this link:
Jews, Christians, and the Law – Commentary Magazine

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Inherently American to be pro-Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Washington Crossing the Delaware, December 25, 1776, by Emanuel Leutze, 1851.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

The presidents of the USA, by far, have always taken a pro-Israel stance.

From Unitarian president John Adams expressing his desire to see the Jews return to their land and establish a state, to Baptist president Harry S. Truman, who was the leader of the free world when he recognized the State of Israel in 1948, and all the way until Presbyterian President Donald J. Trump. Even through President Trump has disappointed on the embassy issue, he has nonetheless proven to be a true friend of the Jewish state, US-Israel relations have almost always been on the amicable side.

While each leader may have had his own personal beliefs, the courage to implement them came from the Father of His Country. George Washington set a standard for his successors, and it was clearly made known in a letter he wrote to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, following a visit there on August 17, 1790.

May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid, he said. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

Washingtons response was meant to further strengthen the ideology of separation of church and state and to strengthen the right of each individual to practice his or her religion.

However, Washingtons treatment of the Jewish people was something that had a much larger affect than just on his country.

Washington, baptized as a child into the Church of England, was a practicing Christian his whole life, but what exactly he practiced is still debated by scholars.

He did live in a society influenced by the Puritans, who believed themselves to be like the Israelites fleeing Egypt, wandering into the vast and unknown wilderness and reaching the promised land of the New World. They used the Bible as their guide, adopted biblical customs, established biblical codes, such as observance of the Sabbath, and gave their children Hebrew names.

As Washington wished for the freedom of the Jews in Newport and in the United States in general, he made it clear that this was his wish for all the Jewish people, and all nations.

Since Washington asserted the principle of asylum [in general orders from April 18 1783] and wished that the Jewish people would find in America their ‘vine and fig tree’ [in his letter to the Newport congregation] it is safe to assert that he would have favored the existence of a justly established homeland for Jews in Israel, wrote Peter Lillback, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, in his book George Washington & Israel.

Washingtons views about Israel helped set the direction that American presidents have taken toward Israel until now, he wrote during the tenure of president Barack Obama.

To learn more about the role of the Bible in history and the roots of Christian Zionism, check us out at @christian_jpost, on Facebook.com/jpostchristianworld/ and see the best of the Holy Land in The Jerusalem Post – Christian Edition monthly magazine.

Share on facebook

Original post:
Inherently American to be pro-Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

A Message to all the Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists – HuffPost

I am tired of being Mr. Nice Guy!

I immigrated from Syria in 1984 and became an American citizen in 1989. I bask in what this country offers from freedom to democracy to opportunity to dreams of a better life. And like you, I get to vote. My voice counts.

As a matter of fact, I just voted for my governor in Alabama this week and then called my three children and screamed: I JUST VOTED. They know the ritual. They know their father gets extremely excited when he votes. For 18 years of my life, I have witnessed enough corruption in Syria to last a lifetime.

Last night, I attended the Stand Against Hate march in downtown Birmingham, and I didnt see you racists there. I wanted to stick a small yellow flower in the front of your shotgun.

Karim Shamsi-Basha

I do have a message for you

No matter what you do, we will not go away the people who see no skin color.

No matter how much terror you inflict, we will not be scared the people who care about he poor.

No matter how many people you injure, we will stay the course of reconciliation, tolerance, and love the people who help those who have not.

And no matter how many people kill and scare and push and yell at, we will keep marching, we will keep protesting, and we will keep raising our voices until we are heard the people who want to live and let live.

Heres a fact you may find delightful: Despite my being born in Damascus, I am more American than you are.

You were raising Confederate flags in Charlottesville, a flag that stood for slavery and drove this country into its most gruesome war. You were also raising swastikas, a symbol that stands for the most horrific event where six million Jews perished. Neither of these symbols is a gathering symbol. They stand for death, inequality and horror. You are not a patriot. You use the ugly past to forge an uglier future.

Tonight, I saw signs preaching love and compassion. I saw homemade posters colored by little ones hoping we leave them a decent planet to inhabit. I saw white hands holding black and brown hands. I saw blue smiles, hopeful eyes, and reverent bows.

Karim Shamsi-Basha

What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend would probably repeat. After all, we have one of you in the White House. The point is not whats taking place or whos insulting whom. The point is whats on the inside of our hearts and souls. Until that heart is sparkling with only love as the driver, we will again hear the echo of Charlottesville.

We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart gets rid of racism.

We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart squelches intolerance.

We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart crushes prejudice.

We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart tramples xenophobia.

And we will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart silences bigotry.

The human heart does not know racism when young, it learns racism later in life. Lets keep our heart young and innocent.

My message to the neo-Nazis and white supremacists?

Love is more powerful than you will ever be. Love will destroy you like it has destroyed your ancestors millions of times over the last few centuries. Even if it looks promising for a while, love will ultimately crush you.

Love is mighty, effective and potent. I dare you to mess with it.

For more, visit arabinalabama.com.

Here is the original post:
A Message to all the Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists – HuffPost

Fair Usage Law

August 16, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Among my Jewish ancestors, a Confederate major – Houston Chronicle

Photo: Patricia Bernstein

This great-great-grandfather of mine was described in his 1912 obituary in the Trenton, Tennessee, Herald Democrat as “an excellent Christian character.” I want to know if this excellent Christian character owned slaves.

This great-great-grandfather of mine was described in his 1912…

For the last 10 or 15 years, I have been writing books about Texas history that have entailed a lot of research into the bitter experience of black Americans during the Jim Crow era. My first book on this topic was about the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco; my new book is about the 1920s Ku Klux Klan.

During all this research, I was vaguely grateful, without thinking about it much, that my ancestors never owned slaves or fought to defend slavery. My ancestors, I thought, played no part in the long, ugly history of racism in our country. They arrived in this country decades after the Civil War. As Jews, they weren’t even eligible to belong to the despised KKK. In fact, as members of a long-abused minority, they understood persecution firsthand.

For centuries in Europe, Jews were forced to travel from country to country seeking a permanent resting place, suffering frequent pogroms in which hundreds or thousands were murdered and their communities destroyed.

During the Crusades, Jews were burned in their synagogues by fanatics traveling to the Holy Land. The Spanish Inquisition tortured and executed Jews and those merely suspected of practicing Judaism in secret. At least six million Jews died during the Holocaust. Because of our own long history of suffering, Jews have traditionally been more likely to feel empathy for others who are unfairly mistreated.

But while I was congratulating myself that my ancestors had not been part of the problem, I somehow managed to push to the back of my mind the ancestor who was not Jewish and whose family was already living in the United States long before the Civil War.

IMPROBABLY ENOUGH, on April 8, 1913, in Shreveport, Louisiana, of all places, my petite, auburn-haired Jewish grandmother, Estelle Braunig, eloped with my Gentile grandfather, Roy Penn Bennett, at a time when it was something of a scandal if a Presbyterian married a Methodist! In our family, we know a great deal about our Jewish ancestors. We have lots of stories and photographs. My father’s mother lived well into her 90s and was happy to spin tales about her childhood in Belarus.

But Bennett died long before any of his grandchildren were born, and we have never known much about him. We did know that he came originally from Humboldt, Tennessee. As it happens, this fall I will travel to Memphis to promote my new book. Humboldt is only about 100 miles east of Memphis. This will be an opportunity for me to visit the town and find out more about the Bennetts of Humboldt.

But I’ve already begun the investigation on the internet.

To read this article in one of Houston’s most-spoken languages, click on the button below.

Get Gray Matters sent to your inbox. Sign up now!

There are a few a very few stories that have come down to me from my mother in connection with the Bennett family. One elusive bit of lore was that the Bennett family had once owned a plantation called Fruitlands. I quickly discovered that it was not a plantation, just a village near Humboldt, which has since been absorbed into what you might call Greater Humboldt. It appears so far, from most of the documentation I have uncovered, that the Bennetts were farmers, plain, old, ordinary farmers.

GRAY MATTERS: What Russia can teach us about Confederate statues

And then I got an unexpected shock. I came upon a photograph of the gravestone of a Bennett ancestor in the Center Baptist Church Cemetery of Gibson County, Tennessee, that read, “Maj. G.W. Bennett, 1837-1912.”

It turns out that, in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, my very own great-great-grandfather, George Washington Bennett, 26, organized a company of men in Western Tennessee called “Bennett’s Battalion.”

Bennett’s Battalion joined up with the Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry and eventually fought under Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was famous as the Confederacy’s most brilliant military strategist and infamous for the massacre under his command of black Union troops at Fort Pillow. After the war, Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the original Ku Klux Klan.

WHEN I was growing up in Dallas, many Dallasites would have been delighted to discover that they had an ancestor who had served as a major in the Confederate Army though I seriously doubt that the Dallas branch of the Daughters of the Confederacy of that period would have been thrilled to take on a Jewish member.

But we live in a time when some Confederate monuments are being torn down and the names of streets and buildings changed to reflect less devotion to the romanticized “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy and greater sensitivity to the history of all Americans.

I was particularly pleased that the statue of the monstrous, rabble-rousing bigot Tom Watson who helped to incite the lynching of Leo Frank a statue contaminating the grounds of the Georgia state capital for more than 80 years was finally removed in 2013.

GRAY MATTERS: Where do Confederate statues belong?

So it was with mixed feelings that I emailed my three daughters to tell them that their great-great-great-grandfather was a major in the Confederate Army. I expected some sort of excited response, for better or worse. Their reactions were, in this order: 1) eye-roll emoji, 2) “Precisely my response,” and 3) distressed emoji. This discovery just doesn’t carry a lot of emotional weight for them, one way or another.

But for me this is somehow important. I’m on the hunt. This great-great-grandfather of mine was described in his 1912 obituary in the Trenton, Tennessee, Herald Democrat as “an excellent Christian character.” I want to know if this excellent Christian character owned slaves. If so, I want to know what happened to those slaves. I want to know if there are any letters or other documents in which he expresses his own feelings about the war and the times. Thank goodness, from what I’ve seen so far, it looks as though Bennett’s Battalion was not present at the massacre at Fort Pillow.

At this distance, I certainly can’t judge the young man George Washington Bennett was, and I can’t take his sins, such as they might have been, on myself. But I’d like to know more about who this man, so radically unlike all of my other ancestors, might have been.

Patricia Bernstein is a Houston writer who has published three books, two of them about Texas history, The First Waco Horror: The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP, and, most recently, Ten Dollars to Hate: The Texas Man Who Fought the Klan. She also heads her own Houston public relations firm.

Bookmark Gray Matters. It’s on the hunt.

Link:
Among my Jewish ancestors, a Confederate major – Houston Chronicle

Fair Usage Law

August 16, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Rex Tillerson’s religious freedom report stresses anti-Christian violence in Europe – Washington Examiner

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a new religious freedom report on Tuesday that said the Islamic State committed genocide against Christians and stressed a rise in anti-Christian bigotry in Europe.

“Application of the law to the facts at hand leads to the conclusion ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controls or has controlled,” Tillerson said.

That declaration contrasted with former Secretary of State John Kerry’s hesitation to make a similar declaration until 2016 and was apparently meant to reassure Christians who were worried that the genocide designation might be revered. But the increased emphasis on anti-Christian discrimination extended beyond the Middle Eastern theocracies, as the State Department demonstrated a heightened concern for Christian rights in western Europe.

“There were continued reports of attacks against Christians, Jews, and Muslims,” the State Department’s 2016 report on France declared. It also noted that attacks on Christians were on the rise, while attacks on people of other faiths had fallen.

“The government, as well as Muslim and Jewish groups, reported the number of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents decreased by 59 percent and 58 percent respectively from the previous year to 335 anti-Semitic acts and 189 anti-Muslim acts,” it said. “Anti-Christian incidents increased by 17 percent compared to the previous year.”

That summary puts greater emphasis on anti-Christian discrimination than the 2015 report on France, which stressed attacks on Muslims around the country, and related hate speech against Muslims. The summary first mentioned Christians by noting, “Jehovah’s Witnesses also cited incidents of violence against their members, and they and other Christian groups reported societal abuses or discrimination.”

The 2016 report on France stressed “attacks against Muslims included violence against women wearing veils or headscarves,” but singled out the fact that “two ISIS militants” murdered a priest during a Christian mass. President Trump cited that attack, during the presidential campaign, as an argument for stricter immigration policies.

But the 2016 report emphasized that “after the killing of the Catholic priest, Muslims attended masses and hundreds of people of different faiths marched in solidarity with Catholics.”

The new report released by Tillerson implied that discrimination against Christians can emanate from modern European popular opinion, as well. The report on the United Kingdom sympathized with a proponent of a socially-conservative view of marriage, as alongside beleaguered Muslim and Jewish minorities.

“Governmental organizations reported an increase in religious hate crimes and incidents in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland,” the State Department observed. “A university expelled a Christian graduate student after he expressed his opposition to gay marriage on social media because of his Christian beliefs. There were anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim protests, and vandalism of Jewish graves, mosques, and other religious sites.”

Tillerson said that the State Department would continue to oppose such restrictions on religious liberty around the world.

“No one should have to live in fear, worship in secret, or face discrimination because of his or her beliefs,” he said. “As President Trump has said, we look forward to a day when, quote, people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience,’ end quote. “The State Department will continue its efforts to make that a reality.”

Originally posted here:
Rex Tillerson’s religious freedom report stresses anti-Christian violence in Europe – Washington Examiner

Fair Usage Law

August 15, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

From The Courthouse To The Big Screen, The Story Of The Ten Commandments In America – Jewish Week

Historically, religiously and socially, our relationship to the Ten Commandments is complicated.

We know from the Talmud that in Second Temple times, the recitation of the Ten Commandments was part of the daily prayer service. But the Talmud reports that the Decalogue was removed from the service because, to the early Christians, the normative covenant (the 613 mitzvot) between God and the Jews had been abrogated by the new True Israel Christianity; the image of Moses clutching the two tablets suggested that Jews themselves believed that the standard core was reduced to 10 laws. To the early Christians this was proof itself of the new faith, and was enough for the rabbinic leadership to toss the Decalogue out of the prayer service. (Indeed, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, for this very reason mounted a quixotic campaign to remove depictions of the two tablets from synagogues worldwide.)

Fast forward a couple of millennia, to America. How did the Decalogue become iconic as it did in a pluralistic American society?

Jenna Weissman Joselit chronicles how the Decalogue became iconic in a pluralistic American society. Oxford University Press

To help answer that question comes historian Jenna Weissman Joselit, the author of the highly regarded New Yorks Jewish Jews about the inter-war Orthodox community, with her lively and entertaining Set in Stone: Americas Embrace of the Ten Commandments (Oxford University Press). This 232-page volume engagingly explores how the Ten Commandments became part of the fiber of American society, deeply embedded in its consciousness so deeply embedded as to inspire not one but two Cecil B. DeMille epics (was there a Jew in America who did not kvell with Charlton Hestons Moses and frown at Edward G. Robinsons Dathan?), and to generate church-state battles over public-sector displays of the two tablets. American Christians embraced the Decalogue even more than did Americas Jews, even though the Commandments appear in the Hebrew Old Testament not once but twice and not in the New, which to many Christians supersedes the Old.

The Ten Commandments were set in stone, literally in synagogue stained-glass windows and arks and figuratively, in attempts to embed the biblical edicts into legislation. Set in Stone lays out, in a series of chapters, stories of bogus tablets unearthed in rural America; battles over the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments in public spaces; and how the two epic Ten Commandments movies came to be.

Joselit deftly tells the story of how the centrality of the Ten Commandments led to the seemingly innocuous recitation of the Commandments in public schools (Hmm we say under God, dont we?) and placement of the two-tablets image in courthouses. (Joselits best story involves the 5,200-pound rendition of the tablets in the Alabama State Courthouse, placed there by Alabama Judge Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments judge.) The Decalogue became a constitutional cause clbre, with the pioneering American Jewish Congress spearheading the Jewish response.

The best chapter and the most fun to read is Good Neighbors, about representations of the tablets in synagogues. Joselit shows how, in the 1950s the era of Will Herbergs Judeo-Christian manifesto Catholic-Protestant-Jew the Ten Commandments were simultaneously Jewish and Christian [and] fit right in. The book discusses how some rabbis, perhaps unconsciously harking back to the Talmuds proscription of the Asseret Ha-dibrot (The Ten Statements) in the daily prayer service, did not cotton to the idea of giving undue reverence to the figure of Moses with the tablets in effect, equating Moses with Jesus and the Decalogue with Christian norms. But to most Jews and to Christians the Ten Commandments worked.

In the post-war 1950s, Jews and Christians used the Ten Commandments to highlight what they had in common Herbergs Judeo-Christian tradition and thereby come closer together. To Jews especially, coming out of decades of widespread attitudinal anti-Semitism in the United States (to say nothing of the Destruction of European Jewry), depictions of the two tablets on the exterior of the synagogue linked Jewish identity to the American agenda; the tablets were a giant exclamation point we belong! Joselit is particularly good on the internal struggles within the Jewish community surrounding the Ten Commandments.

But more basic is the question of why the Decalogue has the resonance it does among American Christians. The Christians, after all, were the most eager to mount displays of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and other public places. The reader awaits some theological orientation alas, not forthcoming to the question of how a document embedded in superseded scripture (the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament) has such reverberation among so many American Christians. This is a puzzler; unfortunately, historian Joselit is not theologian Joselit. Even a lively book of social and cultural history, as Set in Stone is, can bear the weight of a touch of theological context.

At bottom, Set in Stone is an eminently readable series of stories, with an ironic thrust on every page. Joselit answers the what? of Americas encounter with the Ten Commandments, and its great stuff. Students and scholars, and general readers, both Jew and Christian, will savor the book. But the why? of the encounter yet awaits a serious discussion.

Jerome Chanes, a regular contributor, is the author of four books on Jewish history and public policy. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Jenna Weissman Joselit chronicles how the Decalogue became iconic in a pluralistic American society. Oxford University Press

Read more from the original source:
From The Courthouse To The Big Screen, The Story Of The Ten Commandments In America – Jewish Week

Fair Usage Law

August 15, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Christians Who Demonize Israel – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit:

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

(See also Part I: Christians Who Demonize Israel: Kairos and Christians Who Demonize Israel Part II)

The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center is an arguably anti-Semitic and supersessionist organization that has recently been criticized by several Anglican clergy. Sabeel was founded in 1989 by an Anglican priest, Naim Ateek, former Canon of St. Georges Cathedral in Jerusalem. Still based in Jerusalem, it has eleven chapters in Western countries. In Ateeks theology, Jesus is no longer a Jew living under Roman rule, but a Palestinian living under an occupation. Ateek has spoken without irony while preaching that

it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.

Here, he is drawing on the familiar canard of Jews as Christ-killers, a trope rejected by most mainstream Christian churches. The concept has, as we know, been the basis for all earlier Christian persecution and murder of Jews.

Sabeels theology distorts the Old Testament by denying Jews any ongoing connection with the land of their origin, and treating them as a people abandoned by God. There is also repeated disparagement of Judaism as tribal, primitive, and exclusionary. Judaism has also been unjustly described as a theology of contempt.[1]

Where most modern churches have left the anti-Semitism of the past behind and recognize that the Romans, not the Jews, crucified Jesus, the exponents of this cult of what has been called Christian Palestinianism deny any historical or theological connection between the biblical Israel, the Jewish people, and the modern State of Israel. In doing this in a period that has seen a massive upsurge in anti-Semitism throughout Europe, North America, and the Islamic world, Sabeel openly states that historys most persecuted community, the Jews, has no right whatsoever to a land in which it can defend itself from assaults and the current open threat, this time from Iran, of another genocide. Sabeel seems to have turned its back on all the work done by organizations such as the Council of Christians and Jews, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, or the World Congress of Faiths. (For a list of other statements by Ateek, see here.)

Sabeel has been widely criticized by both Christians and Jews. Anglican Friends of Israel has listed several Christian critics. Dexter Van Zile from the United Church of Christ is convinced that Ateek is dangerous:

Hes able to wrap up Palestinian nationalism in the language of Christian Witness and essentially that agenda then gets legitimized by Churches in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia. He gives legitimacy to a dishonest historical narrative.

Sister Ruth Laut, a lawyer and Dominican nun, of Churches United for Just Peace in the Middle East and Rev. William Harter of Presbyterians Concerned for Jewish Relations and the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, have spoken against the Sabeels agenda.

Charles McVety, the president of Canada Christian College and an evangelical Christian leader, has said that

These groups do not speak on behalf of Christians in any way. They are a radical fringe indulging their anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bias under the guise of neutrality.

Nor are these individuals alone. Anglican Friends of Israel reported in 2005:

Deeply concerned about the programs and message that Sabeel is bringing to North America, a body called The Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East has been formed. It includes the United Church of Christ. The Coalition has stated that They (Sabeel) undermine hopes for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, for greater understanding about the conflict and for the spread of religious tolerance.

The journalist Jeff Jacoby has stated that Sabeel and Ateeks denunciations of Israel have included imagery explicitly linking the modern Jewish state to the terrible charge that for centuries fueled so much anti-Jewish hatred and bloodshed, and that In Ateeks metaphorical telling, in other words, Israel is guilty of trying to murder Jesus as an infant, of killing Jesus on the cross, and of seeking to prevent his resurrection.

Jacoby quotes Adam Gregerman, Assistant Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Relations at Saint Josephs University (a Jesuit institution in Philadelphia). Writing in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies in 2004, Gregerman observed that liberation theologians such as Ateek perpetuate some of the most unsavory and vicious images of the Jews as malevolent, antisocial, hostile to non-Jews. As such, liberation theology impedes rather than fosters any serious attempt at understanding or ending the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

In the UK, the leading representative of Sabeel is the notorious Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, the incumbent of the Anglican parish of Christchurch, Virginia Water, in Surrey. I say notorious because of the trouble he has brought on himself within the church. On January 20, 2015, Sizer posted a link on his Facebook page to a lengthy 9/11 conspiracy theory article entitled 9/11 Israel did it. The article included claims which, among others, seek to connect wealthy American Jews to the attacks, through their ownership of buildings, political affiliations or links to Israel. Sizer asked: Is this anti-Semitic? If so no doubt Ill be asked to remove it. It raises so many questions.

Later, he removed the post, not necessarily because he no longer thought it was true, but because Britains leading Jewish organization, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, had asked for it to be taken down. In correspondence with Jewish News Online, he asked that evidence be provided to refute the conspiracy theory.

On January 29, 2015, the Church of England stated that the comments made by Sizer were unacceptable and that the Diocese of Guildford would launch an investigation. The following day, Sizer issued a statement of apology and announced that the diocese had suspended him from all social media and blogs. The Board of Deputies of British Jews also published a statement condemning Sizers behavior. On February 9, it emerged that he had been banned from social media by the new Bishop of Guildford, the Rt. Revd. Andrew Watson, for at least six months, for his allegation of Israeli responsibility for the 9/11 atrocities. Sizer has also been banned from commenting on issues relating to the Middle East and will not attend further conferences on this subject. In his letter to the bishop, Sizer accepted that if he were to break the undertaking he has made not to use social media for that period, he would have to resign his ministry.

The Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, who chairs the Council of Christians and Jews, has said that

The content and the delay in removing the link from Mr Sizers Facebook page was disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote. Members of the CCJ have described the website as obscenely antisemitic.’

Simon McIlwaine, known as a man of integrity, is the founder of Anglican Friends of Israel. He has called for Sizer to be defrocked.

We have to ask why, in the light of what we know of Sabeel, Naim Ateek and Stephen Sizer, an Anglican church in Newcastle chose to display and distribute literature from this organization, containing quotations from Ateek. This is not a light matter. It raises profound questions. Perhaps the gravest error made by Kairos, Sabeel, and other Christian groups who pursue a one-sided campaign is that they take away from the Palestinians any form of agency or self-reliance. If the Israelis are to blame for all that is wrong and the Palestinians are only victims, then Palestinians must be treated as children, without the will and power to act on their own behalf. Or who can act only through violence and hate.

This infantilization of a people who have taken thousands of innocent lives, committed grave sins, and openly rejected offers of peace makes them, instead, passive recipients of suffering rather than the actors that, in fact, they are. By disengaging Palestinians from responsibility for their own hatred and actions, anti-Israel churchmen and lay members trap the very people for whom they evince the greatest love inside thoughts and policies, many of them inspired by Islamic teachings, that call for the oppression of Jews and Christians as dhimmi peoples (tolerated, second-class citizens) that render them more powerless. They permit the Palestinians to persist within an atmosphere of hatred, rather than calling them to love. There is no place, in our opinion, for the support of hatred within a Christian church, just as no hatred is ever expressed within a synagogue.

Or, as many people increasingly suspect, are these campaigns, replete with fraudulent charges, as in the Inquisition, really not about Palestinians at all, but just the latest incarnation of the old racist and religious hatred of Jews, and a clear expression of the New Anti-Semitism?

In conclusion, let us present the Shalom Declaration, a statement that has been presented to Christians of many denominations and signed by them as a token of their trust of Israel and the Jewish people. It speaks for itself.

The Shalom Declaration:

We deeply appreciate that Israel is the only country in the Middle East which extends freedom of worship to all its citizens and where the Christian community is growing. We grieve and stand with families in Israel and the wider Middle East, who have lost loved ones and with all who are persecuted by the rise of violent extremism and intolerance in the region. We pray that those inciting trouble and disharmony in the Middle East and who threaten the existence of Israel will be thwarted. We further pray that the peacemakers will see their patience and vision rewarded so that Isaiahs prophecy of swords beaten into pruning forks and the declaration of Jesus that Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God, will soon become a reality. We draw succour from the vibrancy of the State of Israel, from its democratic political system, its academic and cultural creativity and its remarkable contribution to humanity in terms of science and technology. And we call upon the spiritual leaders and elected representatives of our nation to work tirelessly to combat anti-Semitism and violent extremism across the world and to strengthen understanding and co-operation between the peoples of our nation and of Israel.

We call upon the Anglican Church to consider this report and to examine the Wall Will Fall event and the false claims of Kairos, Sabeel and like organizations in the light of Christs message of love and forgiveness. It must be the Churchs judgement whether there is need for a call to repentance. But if there is no coming alive to the injustice and deceit of Christian anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, then this ungodly bigotry and confusion within the churches will continue to fester.

Unfortunately, the structure of the workshops at the Walls Will Fall event, held in St Thomas The Martyr Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, meant that one could only attend two out of the four available workshops and not the film.

The first workshop was on Palestinian-Israeli collaboration, and focused on the Villages Group, an NGO involving some Israelis with rural Palestinians in two villages near Nablus. This project seems in many ways commendable, and I can understand why some Christians support it. But the groups own website and Facebook page are avowedly anti-Israeli, taking on causes for the Palestinian side only. This became clear during the workshop, which condemned Israeli security checkpoints, the Israeli security barrier, and related topics. Although I had not intended to say anything during the day, these accusations grew so vicious that it felt necessary to address some of the points made.

An attempt was made to explain that the Wall is only a tiny fraction of the Israeli security barrier, well over 90% of which is a wire fence some 430 miles in length. There is no doubt that the barrier and checkpoints make life difficult for the Palestinians, but in the workshop I pointed out that it was built in response to the huge toll in lives taken by suicide bombers and other terrorists; since its construction many hundreds of lives have been saved, as illustrated in the chart below:

Two other matters seemed relevant. When there were checkpoints during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, most people (including the present writer and his family) were grateful for their presence to prevent terrorist attacks. Then, back in the Middle East, we meet a Gazan woman, Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, who was arrested at a checkpoint on June 20, 2005, while wearing a massive bomb strapped to her thigh. She planned to go as an outpatient to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, Israel, where her life had been saved after she suffered burns in a domestic accident. Her orders, given by Fatahs al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, were to explode the bomb among the doctors and nurses, killing as many children as possible. At that time, Palestinians trying to smuggle bombs and other weapons through checkpoints were arrested almost every day.

The only response to this information was a statement that this is all nonsense or words to that effect. Given the Christian context of the workshop, one could only be at a loss to understand such a very clear indifference to the concept of saving human life. No-one present (in a packed room) voiced any objection to that callous remark.

Literature

There is no space here for a full discussion of the many leaflets, pamphlets and booklets that were made available on the dozen or more bookstalls at the event. With a couple of exceptions (such as information on some girls schools in the West Bank), none of the material contained even a brief mention of the Jewish, moderate Christian, or Israeli side of events and policies. Much seemed heavily and sometimes viciously expressive of hatred for the State of Israel; placed one hundred percent of the blame for any conflict on Israel or Jewish settlers. Much also discounted, excused, covered up or ignored decades of Arab and Palestinian violence and PLO and Hamas calls for the eradication of Israel because it is a Jewish state and therefore unacceptable in Islamic law. Some of what was there was gross, much of it was subtle. For anyone with a limited knowledge of the history and ideological underpinnings of this dispute, the glosses and mis-statements were persuasive and, unsurprisingly, designed to draw readers into the Palestinian narrative.

Visit link:
Christians Who Demonize Israel – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Fair Usage Law

August 15, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

A Gellman the Dog sighting – Plattsburgh Press Republican

Q: Hello, Rabbi Gellman, My name is N … and a friend recently gave me a copy of your column from the Raleigh News & Observer, May 7, 2017. I am a puppy walker for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and I was the starting home for a puppy named Gellman in the summer of 2014. I knew he had a sponsor, but never knew the origin of his name. In August of 2014 he went to a puppy walker at the University of Georgia named Kaitlyn. I was wondering if this is the puppy your congregants sponsored. Kaitlyn and I have a lot of pictures of this sweet boy if you are interested. A: When I retired from my synagogue in 2014, my dear congregants sponsored a guide dog puppy in my honor and gave him the name “Gellman.” Although at first I was a little confused to know that in our world there is now a Gellman the Rabbi as well as a Gellman the Dog, I was also a bit embarrassed to know that somewhere someone was shouting, “Gellman! Don’t pee on the rug!” Nevertheless, I was happy and proud to continue my support for this terrific and holy organization. I lost track of Gellman the dog and I am sure that your kind note was a message from God (and Gellman). Please send pictures. I think the odds of there being two guide dogs with the name “Gellman” is in the zero range, and the timeline matches. I hope Gellman is helping someone see. That is all I have ever tried to do in my own way. Thank you and God bless you! Q: I was raised Catholic. Everything I read in the Bible (teaches) that everyone was Jewish. How did I become Catholic? Where did (Catholicism) come from? I asked several people, including a priest and haven’t gotten an answer. I think it would make a great article. From J on Long Island, N.Y. A: Well dear J, let’s begin by correcting your misapprehension that everyone in the Bible is Jewish. In addition to the big empire guys (Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and Philistines) there were also a lot of smaller non-Jewish tribes in biblical times like the Jebusites, Hittites, Amalekites, and a variety of other and assorted “ites”). However, on the line you are concerned about, the Jewish people began around 1,800 years before zero in the time of Abraham. They left Egypt in the Exodus with Moses around 1,200 BCE and the kingdoms of Saul, David and Solomon occurred around the year 1,000 BCE. Jesus comes into the picture obviously around the year zero. It is true that Jesus and all his disciples were Jewish. In fact whenever people try to convert me to Christianity I ask them, “Was Jesus Jewish?” They answer “Yes” and so I say, “Well, if it was good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me!” The split between Judaism and Christianity occurred after Jesus’ death with the Apostle Paul in the first century. Paul found that the Jewish laws concerning circumcision and not eating pork had severely limited his work in converting gentiles to Christianity and he began to preach that keeping such ritual provisions of Jewish law were no longer necessary for new Christians. This violation of Jewish law plus of course the claim that Jesus was the Messiah caused a final split between Paul and the Jerusalem Church led by James, and with it a final split between Judaism and Christianity. This is the period of what is called the Apostolic Church and it lasted until 325 when the Emperor Constantine under the influence of his mother Helena declared Christianity to be the religion of the Roman Empire. The whole Roman Empire was transformed from an empire that fed Christians to lions to an empire that worshiped Jesus as God. This gigantic empire caused Christianity to split into five sees or districts by the mid-6th century called the Pentarchy: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. With the rise of the Islamic Empire in the 7th century the Eastern sees that were within the Islamic empire were cut off from Rome, which became the center of the Roman Catholic church. In the 16th century the Christian world split into Catholicism and Protestantism and that is how the Christian world looks today. In the meantime the Jewish world slowly grew on its own and eventually became the target of anti-Semitism, which was condemned by Pope John XXIII in the 1960s as a sin that was rejected from all Catholic teachings. All of this made possible the God Squad and my friendship with Father Tom Hartman, and all this enabled us to write a column where I could explain to you where all the Christians came from and where all the Jews went to. Send all questions and comments to the God Squad via email at godsquadquestion@aol.com.

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

American Cyrus: How Desperate Christians Anointed Trump – HuffPost

As best anyone can tell, the nonsense began with Lance Wallnau, an evangelical Christian and self-styled leadership coach who boasts a doctorate in theology from an institution that awards academic credit for life experience such as hobbies, extensive reading, and television courses. As Wallnau tells it, the Lord spoke to him in early 2016, revealing that Donald Trump, then a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, was a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness. A bit later, God followed up with another message for Wallnau: a vision of Trump as the 45th president and a command to read Isaiah 45. Forty-fifth president, 45th chapter. Get it? The section in the Hebrew bibles Book of Isaiah to which Wallnau was summoned lauds the Persian king Cyrus the Greats release of the Jews from their so-called Babylonian Captivity. The Jewish kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 587 BC. Jerusalem was razed and its king and people hauled off to Babylon. Fifty years later, after the Babylonians were in turn conquered by Cyrus, he allowed the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem. Isaiah (or, more accurately, the unknown author of chapter 45; there are most likely 3 different authors writing during different time periods) was ecstatic at this outcome, going so far as to praise Cyrus as mashiah, the anointed one. Believing that God had stirred up the pagan Cyrus to justice, Isaiah rapturously proclaimed that God could use even an ungodly man like the Persian king for good. And there it was: the birth of the nonsense. Wallnau immediately concluded that God had revealed to him that Trump was the new Cyrus who would lead American exiles back to the promised land. Morally corrupt though he was, Trump was clearly Gods anointed instrument in a cosmic battle against the demonic agenda imperiling America. Wallnau was so excited by the revelation that he furiously churned out and hurriedly published his own prophetic book, God’s Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and the American Unraveling. Wallnaus screechy, exclamation point-laden tome appeared just a month before the November 2016 election. His announcement that Trump was Gods instrument was an instant hit with Trump-leaning Christians (and a handful of orthodox Jews) who were nonetheless uncomfortable with the candidates sordid history of sexual groping, mockery of the disabled, fetish for deception, shameless self-promotion, shady business dealings, willingness to throw his own people under the bus, pettiness and petulance in speeches and tweets, disrespect for imprisoned and slain GIs, character assassination of the press, penchant for bullying, and obvious indifference to Christianity. God used Cyrus, they shouted with relief, and God can use Trump, too! So they swallowed their reservations, overlooked everything repugnant in Trumps character, and put him in the White House to redeem America and stand up for Christian values. Thats when the anointing of Trump as the American Cyrus transitioned from nonsense to tragedy. The character flaws that sat uneasily with his evangelical supporters have been on full display during the 7 months of his administration, and have ripped the nation apart. If God really is using Trump to restore America, Gods taking his own sweet time going about it. But in truth, Trump is no Cyrus, and Christians who voted for him out of either genuine hope or cynical pretense that he is made a bargain with the devil. Regardless of their intentions, they embraced one of the most dangerously expedient principles going, and one that in other circumstances the vast majority of them wouldve surely condemned: the end justifies the means. Opposition to abortion and same-gender marriage was the deciding issue for many conservative Christians when they stepped into the voting booth to cast their ballots for Trump: that was the end. They were willing to hold their noses and even pretend enthusiasm for a candidate whose moral flaws comprise a catalog of virtually everything Christianity is not: the means. I get that this couldnt have been a pleasant position for them to be in, and that the Cyrus nonsense propagated by Wallnau made the bitter pill go down just a bit easier. But overlookingnot to mention whitewashingthe presidents egregious moral failings by insisting that God can write straight with Trumps crooked lines is more of a desperate Hail Mary pass than an act of faith, as bitter months of his broken leadership have demonstrated. The takeaway is what we all know in our heart of hearts, even if we dont always live by it: No end ever justifies corrupt or evil means. That a large percentage of the nations Christians ignore this truth by defending Trump is a scandal that will haunt American Christianity for decades to come. The Morning Email Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Jews, Christians, and the Law – Commentary Magazine

And yet realism is currently in crisis. Realism was once a sophisticated intellectual tradition that represented the best in American statecraft. Eminent Cold War realists were broadly supportive of Americas postwar internationalism and its stabilizing role in global affairs, even as they stressed the need for prudence and restraint in employing U.S. power. Above all, Cold Warera realism was based on a hard-earned understanding that Americans must deal with the geopolitical realities as they are, rather than retreat to the false comfort provided by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. More recently, however, those who call themselves realists have lost touch with this tradition. Within academia, realism has become synonymous with a preference for radical retrenchment and the deliberate destruction of arrangements that have fostered international stability and prosperity for decades. Within government, the Trump administration appears to be embracing an equally misguided version of realisman approach that masquerades as shrewd realpolitik but is likely to prove profoundly damaging to American power and influence. Neither of these approaches is truly realist, as neither promotes core American interests or deals with the world as it really is. The United States surely needs the insights that an authentically realist approach to global affairs can provide. But first, American realism will have to undergo a reformation. Realism has taken many forms over the years, but it has always been focused on the imperatives of power, order, and survival in an anarchic global arena. The classical realistsThucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbesconsidered how states and leaders should behave in a dangerous world in which there was no overarching morality or governing authority strong enough to regulate state behavior. The great modern realiststhinkers and statesmen such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Morgenthau, George Kennan, and Henry Kissingergrappled with the same issues during and after the catastrophic upheaval that characterized the first half of the 20th century. They argued that it was impossible to transcend the tragic nature of international politics through good intentions or moralistic maxims, and that seeking to do so would merely empower the most ruthless members of the international system. They contended, on the basis of bitter experience, that aggression and violence were always a possibility in international affairs, and that states that desired peace would thus have to prepare for war and show themselves ready to wield coercive power. Most important, realist thinkers tended to place a high value on policies and arrangements that restrained potential aggressors and created a basis for stability within an inherently competitive global environment. For this very reason, leading Cold Warera realists advocated a robust American internationalism as the best way of restraining malevolent actors and preventing another disastrous global crack-upone that would inevitably reach out and touch the United States, just as the world wars had. Realist thinkers understood that America was uniquely capable of stabilizing the international order and containing Soviet power after World War II, even as they disagreedsometimes sharplyover the precise nature and extent of American commitments. Moreover, although Cold War realists recognized the paramount role of power in international affairs, most also recognized that U.S. power would be most effective if harnessed to a compelling concept of American moral purpose and exercised primarily through enduring partnerships with nations that shared core American values. An idealistic policy undisciplined by political realism is bound to be unstable and ineffective, the political scientist Robert Osgood wrote. Political realism unguided by moral purpose will be self-defeating and futile. Most realists were thus sympathetic to the major initiatives of postwar foreign policy, such as the creation of U.S.-led military alliances and the cultivation of a thriving Western community composed primarily of liberal democracies. At the same time, Cold War realists spoke of the need for American restraint. They worried that Americas liberal idealism, absent a sense of limits, would carry the country into quixotic crusades. They thought that excessive commitments at the periphery of the global system could weaken the international order against its radical challengers. They believed that a policy of outright confrontation toward the Kremlin could be quite dangerous. Absolute security for one power means absolute insecurity for all others, Kissinger wrote. Realists therefore advocated policies meant to temper American ambition and the most perilous aspects of superpower competition. They supportedand, in Kissingers case, ledarms-control agreements and political negotiations with Moscow. They often objected to Americas costliest interventions in the Third World. Kennan and Morgenthau were among the first mainstream figures to go public with opposition to American involvement in Vietnam (Morgenthau did so in the pages of Commentary in May 1962). During the Cold War, then, realism was a supple, nuanced doctrine. It emphasized the need for balance in American statecraftfor energetic action blended with moderation, for hard-headed power politics linked to a regard for partnerships and values. It recognized that the United States could best mitigate the tragic nature of international relations by engaging with, rather than withdrawing from, an imperfect world. This nuance has now been lost. Academics have applied the label of realism to dangerous and unrealistic policy proposals. More disturbing and consequential still, the distortion of realism seems to be finding a sympathetic hearing in the Trump White House. Consider the state of academic realism. Todays most prominent self-identified realistsStephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Christopher Layneadvocate a thoroughgoing U.S. retrenchment from global affairs. Whereas Cold War realists were willing to see the world as it wasa world that required unequal burden-sharing and an unprecedented, sustained American commitment to preserve international stabilityacademic realists now engage in precisely the wishful thinking that earlier realists deplored. They assume that the international order can essentially regulate itself and that America will not be threatened byand can even profit froma more unsettled world. They thus favor discarding the policies that have proven so successful over the decades in providing a congenial international climate. Why has academic realism gone astray? If the Cold War brokered the marriage between realists and American global engagement, the end of the Cold War precipitated a divorce. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, U.S. policymakers continued to pursue an ambitious global agenda based on preserving and deepening both Americas geopolitical advantage and the liberal international order. For many realists, however, the end of the Cold War removed the extraordinary threatan expansionist USSRthat had led them to support such an agenda in the first place. Academic realists argued that the humanitarian interventions of the 1990s (primarily in the former Yugoslavia) reflected capriciousness rather than a prudent effort to deal with sources of instability. Similarly, they saw key policy initiativesespecially NATO enlargement and the Iraq war of 2003as evidence that Washington was no longer behaving with moderation and was itself becoming a destabilizing force in global affairs. These critiques were overstated, but not wholly without merit. The invasion and occupation of Iraq did prove far costlier than expected, as the academic realists had indeed warned. NATO expansioneven as it successfully promoted stability and liberal reform in Eastern Europedid take a toll on U.S.Russia relations. Having lost policy arguments that they thought they should have won, academic realists decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater, calling for a radical reformulation of Americas broader grand strategy. The realists preferred strategy has various namesoffshore balancing, restraint, etc.but the key components and expectations are consistent. Most academic realists argue that the United States should pare back or eliminate its military alliances and overseas troop deployments, going back onshore only if a hostile power is poised to dominate a key overseas region. They call on Washington to forgo costly nation-building and counterinsurgency missions overseas and to downgrade if not abandon the promotion of democracy and human rights. Academic realists argue that this approach will force local actors in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia to assume greater responsibility for their own security, and that the United States can manipulatethrough diplomacy, arms sales, and covert actionthe resulting rivalries and conflicts to prevent any single power from dominating a key region and thereby threatening the United States. Should these calculations prove faulty and a hostile power be poised to dominate, Washington can easily swoop in to set things aright, as it did during the world wars. Finally, if even this calculation were to prove faulty, realists argue that America can ride out the danger posed by a regional hegemon because the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and Americas nuclear deterrent provide geopolitical immunity against existential threats. Todays academic realists portray this approach as hard-headed, economical strategy. But in reality, it represents a stark departure from classical American realism. During the Cold War, leading realists placed importance on preserving international stability and heeded the fundamental lesson of World Wars I and IIthat the United States, by dint of its power and geography, was the only actor that could anchor international arrangements. Todays academic realists essentially argue that the United States should dismantle the global architecture that has undergirded the international orderand that Washington can survive and even thrive amid the ensuing disorder. Cold War realists helped erect the pillars of a peaceful and prosperous world. Contemporary academic realists advocate tearing down those pillars and seeing what happens. The answer is nothing good. Contemporary academic realists sit atop a pyramid of faulty assumptions. They assume that one can remove the buttresses of the international system without that system collapsing, and that geopolitical burdens laid down by America will be picked up effectively by others. They assume that the United States does not need the enduring relationships that its alliances have fostered, and that it can obtain any cooperation it needs via purely transactional interactions. They assume that a world in which the United States ceases to promote liberal values will not be a world less congenial to Americas geopolitical interests. They assume that revisionist states will be mollified rather than emboldened by an American withdrawal, and that the transition from U.S. leadership to another global system will not unleash widespread conflict. Finally, they assume that if such upheaval does erupt, the United States can deftly manage and even profit from it, and that America can quickly move to restore stability at a reasonable cost should it become necessary to do so. The founding generation of American realists had learned not to indulge in wishfully thinking that the international order would create or sustain itself, or that the costs of responding to rampant international disorder would be trivial. Todays academic realists, by contrast, would stake everything on a leap into the unknown. For many years, neither Democratic nor Republican policymakers were willing to make such a leap. Now, however, the Trump administration appears inclined to embrace its own version of foreign-policy realism, one that bears many similarities toand contains many of the same liabilities asthe academic variant. One of the least academic presidents in American history may, ironically, be buying into some of the most misguided doctrines of the ivory tower. Any assessment of the Trump administration must remain somewhat provisional, given that Donald Trumps approach to foreign policy is still a work in progress. Yet Trump and his administration have so far taken multiple steps to outline a three-legged-stool vision of foreign policy that they explicitly describe as realist in orientation. Like modern-day academic realism, however, this vision diverges drastically from the earlier tradition of American realism and leads to deeply problematic policy. The first leg is President Trumps oft-stated view of the international environment as an inherently zero-sum arena in which the gains of other countries are Americas losses. The postWorld War II realists, by contrast, believed that the United States could enjoy positive-sum relations with like-minded nations. Indeed, they believed that America could not enjoy economic prosperity and national security unless its major trading partners in Europe and Asia were themselves prosperous and stable. The celebrated Marshall Plan was high-mindedly generous in the sense of addressing urgent humanitarian needs in Europe, yet policymakers very much conceived of it as serving Americas parochial economic and security interests at the same time. President Trump, however, sees a winner and loser in every transaction, and believeswith respect to allies and adversaries alikethat it is the United States who generally gets snookered. The reality at the core of Trumps realism is his stated belief that America is exploited by every nation in the world virtually. This belief aligns closely with the second leg of the Trump worldview: the idea that all foreign policy is explicitly competitive in nature. Whereas the Cold War realists saw a Western community of states, President Trump apparently sees a dog-eat-dog world where America should view every transactioneven with allieson a one-off basis. The world is not a global community but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage, wrote National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn in an op-ed. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it. To be sure, Cold War realists were deeply skeptical about one worldism and appeals to a global community. But still they saw the United States and its allies as representing the free world, a community of common purpose forged in the battle against totalitarian enemies. The Trump administration seems to view U.S. partnerships primarily on an ad hoc basis, and it has articulated something akin to a what have you done for me lately approach to allies. The Cold War realistswho understood how hard it was to assemble effective alliances in the first placewould have found this approach odd in the extreme. Finally, there is the third leg of Trumps realism: an embrace of amorality. President Trump has repeatedly argued that issues such as the promotion of human rights and democracy are merely distractions from winning in the international arena and a recipe for squandering scarce resources. On the presidents first overseas trip to the Middle East in May, for instance, he promised not to lecture authoritarian countries on their internal behavior, and he made clear his intent to embrace leaders who back short-term U.S. foreign-policy goals no matter how egregious their violations of basic human rights and political freedoms. Weeks later, on a visit to Poland, the president did speak explicitly about the role that shared values played in the Wests struggle against Communism during the Cold War, and he invoked the hope of every soul to live in freedom. Yet his speech contained only the most cursory reference to Russiathe authoritarian power now undermining democratic governance and security throughout Europe and beyond. Just as significant, Trump failed to mention that Poland itselfuntil a few years ago, a stirring exemplar of successful transition from totalitarianism to democracyis today sliding backwards toward illiberalism (as are other countries within Europe and the broader free world). At first glance, this approach might seem like a modern-day echo of Cold War debates about whether to back authoritarian dictators in the struggle against global Communism. But, as Jeane Kirkpatrick explained in her famous 1979 Commentary essay Dictatorships and Double Standards, and as Kissinger himself frequently argued, Cold War realists saw such tactical alliances of convenience as being in the service of a deeper values-based goal: the preservation of an international environment favoring liberty and democracy against the predations of totalitarianism. Moreover, they understood that Americans would sustain the burdens of global leadership over a prolonged period only if motivated by appeals to their cherished ideals as well as their concrete interests. Trump, for his part, has given only faint and sporadic indications of any appreciation of the traditional role of values in American foreign policy. Put together, these three elements have profound, sometimes radical, implications for Americas approach to a broad range of global issues. Guided by this form of realism, the Trump administration has persistently chastised and alienated long-standing democratic allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific and moved closer to authoritarians in Saudi Arabia, China, and the Philippines. The presidents body language alone has been striking: Trumps summits have repeatedly showcased conviviality with dictators and quasi-authoritarians and painfully awkward interactions with democratic leaders such as Germanys Angela Merkel. Similarly, Trump has disdained international agreements and institutions that do not deliver immediate, concrete benefits for the United States, even if they are critical to forging international cooperation on key issues or advancing longer-term goods. As Trump has put it, he means to promote the interests of Pittsburgh, not Paris, and he believes that those interests are inherently at odds with each other. To be fair, President Trump and his proxies do view the war on terror as a matter of defending both American security interests and Western civilizations values against the jihadist onslaught. This was a key theme of Trumps major address in Warsaw. Yet the administration has not explained how this civilizational mindset would inform any other aspect of its foreign policywith the possible exception of immigration policyand resorts far more often to the parochial lens of nationalism. The Trump administration seems to be articulating a vision in which America has no lasting friends, little enduring concern with values, and even less interest in cultivating a community of like-minded nations that exists for more than purely deal-making purposes. The administration has often portrayed this as clear-eyed realism, even invoking the founding father of realism, Thucydides, as its intellectual lodestar. This approach does bear some resemblance to classical realism: an unsentimental approach to the world with an emphasis on the competitive aspects of the international environment. And insofar as Trump dresses down American allies, rejects the importance of values, and focuses on transactional partnerships, his version of realism has quite a lot in common with the contemporary academic version. Daniel Drezner of Tufts University has noted the overlap, declaring in a Washington Post column, This is [academic] realisms moment in the foreign policy sun. Randall Schweller of Ohio State University, an avowed academic realist and Trump supporter, has been even more explicit, noting approvingly that Trumps foreign-policy approach essentially falls under the rubric of off-shore balancing as promoted by ivory-tower realists in recent decades. Yet one suspects that the American realists who helped create the postWorld War II order would not feel comfortable with either the academic or Trumpian versions of realism as they exist today. For although both of these approaches purport to be about power and concrete results, both neglect the very things that have allowed the United States to use its power so effectively in the past. Both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that U.S. power is most potent when it is wielded in concert with a deeply institutionalized community of like-minded nations. Alliances are less about addition and subtractionthe math of the burden-sharing emphasized by Trump and the academic realistsand more about multiplication, leveraging U.S. power to influence world events at a fraction of the cost of unilateral approaches. The United States would be vastly less powerful and influential in Europe and Central Asia without NATO; it would encounter far greater difficulties in rounding up partners to wage the ongoing war in Afghanistan or defeat the Islamic State; it would find itself fighting alonerather than with some of the worlds most powerful partnersfar more often. Likewise, without its longstanding treaty allies in Asia, the United States would be at an almost insurmountable disadvantage vis–vis revisionist powers in that region, namely China. Both versions of realism also ignore the fact that America has been able to exercise its enormous power with remarkably little global resistance precisely because American leaders, by and large, have paid sufficient regard to the opinions of potential partners. Of course, every administration has sought to put America first, but the pursuit of American self-interest has proved most successful when it enjoys the acquiescence of other states. Likewise, the academic and Trump versions of realism too frequently forget that America draws power by supporting values with universal appeal. This is why every American president from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama has recognized that a more democratic world is likely to be one that is both ideologically and geopolitically more congenial to the United States. Most important, both the academic and Trump versions of realism ignore the fact that the classical postWorld War II realists deliberately sought to overcome the dog-eat-dog world that modern variants take as a given. They did so by facilitating cooperation within the free world, suppressing the security competitions that had previously led to cataclysmic wars, creating the basis for a thriving international economy, and thereby making life a little less nasty, brutish, and short for Americans as well as for vast swaths of the worlds population. If realism is about maximizing power, effectiveness, and security in a competitive global arena, then neither the academic nor the Trump versions of realism merits the name. And if realism is meant to reflect the world as it is, both of these versions are deeply deficient. This is a tragedy. For if ever there were a moment for an informed realism, it would be now, as the strategic horizon darkens and a more competitive international environment reemerges. There is still time for Trump and his team to adapt, and realism can still make a constructive contribution to American policy. But first it must rediscover its rootsand absorb the lessons of the past 70 years. A reformed realism should be built upon seven bedrock insights, which President Trump would do well to embrace. First, American leadership remains essential to restraining global disorder. Todays realists channel the longstanding American hope that there would come a time when the United States could slough off the responsibilities it assumed after World War II and again become a country that relies on its advantageous geography to keep the world at arms length. Yet realism compels an awareness that America is exceptionally suited to the part it has played for nearly four generations. The combination of its power, geographic location, and values has rendered America uniquely capable of providing a degree of global order in a way that is more reassuring than threatening to most of the key actors in the international system. Moreover, given that today the most ambitious and energetic international actors besides the United States are not liberal democracies but aggressive authoritarian powers, an American withdrawal is unlikely to produce multipolar peace. Instead, it is likely to precipitate the upheaval that U.S. engagement and activism have long been meant to avert. As a corollary, realists must also recognize that the United States is unlikely to thrive amid such upheaval; it will probably find that the disorder spreads and ultimately implicates vital American interests, as was twice the case in the first half of the 20th century. Second, true realism recognizes the interdependence of hard and soft power. In a competitive world, there is no substitute for American hard power, and particularly for military muscle. Without guns, there will notover the long termbe butter. But military power, by itself, is an insufficient foundation for American strategy. A crude reliance on coercion will damage American prestige and credibility in the end; hard power works best when deployed in the service of ideas and goals that command widespread international approval. Similarly, military might is most effective when combined with the softer tools of development assistance, foreign aid, and knowledge of foreign societies and cultures. The Trump administration has sought to eviscerate these nonmilitary capabilities and bragged about its hard-power budget; it would do better to understand that a balance between hard and soft power is essential. Third, values are an essential part of American realism. Of course, the United States must not undertake indiscriminate interventions in the name of democracy and human rights. But, fortunately, no serious policymakernot Woodrow Wilson, not Jimmy Carter, not George W. Bushhas ever embraced such a doctrine. What most American leaders have traditionally recognized is that, on balance, U.S. interests will be served and U.S. power will be magnified in a world in which democracy and human rights are respected. Ronald Reagan, now revered for his achievements in improving Americas global position, understood this point and made the selective promotion of democracyprimarily through nonmilitary meansa key part of his foreign policy. While paying due heed to the requirements of prudence and the limits of American power, then, American realists should work to foster a climate in which those values can flourish. Fourth, a reformed realism requires aligning relations with the major powers appropriatelyespecially today, as great-power tensions rise. That means appreciating the value of institutions that have bound the United States to some of the most powerful actors in the international system for decades and thereby given Washington leadership of the worlds dominant geopolitical coalition. It means not taking trustworthy allies for granted or picking fights with them gratuitously. It also means not treating actual adversaries, such as Vladimir Putins Russia, as if they were trustworthy partners (as Trump has often talked of doing) or as if their aggressive behavior were simply a defensive response to American provocations (as many academic realists have done). A realistic approach to American foreign policy begins by seeing great-power relations through clear eyes. Fifth, limits are essential. Academic realists are wrong to suggest that values should be excised from U.S. policy; they are wrong to argue that the United States should pull back dramatically from the world. Yet they are right that good statecraft requires an understanding of limitsparticularly for a country as powerful as the United States, and particularly at a time when the international environment is becoming more contested. The United States cannot right every wrong, fix every problem, or defend every global interest. America can and should, however, shoulder more of the burden than modern academic and Trumpian realists believe. The United States will be effective only if it chooses its battles carefully; it will need to preserve its power for dealing with the most pressing threat to its national interests and the international orderthe resurgence of authoritarian challengeseven if that means taking an economy-of-force approach to other issues. Sixth, realists must recognize that the United States has not created and sustained a global network of alliances, international institutions, and other embedded relationships out of a sense of charity. It has done so because those relationships provide forums through which the United States can exercise power at a bargain-basement price. Embedded relationships have allowed the United States to rally other nations to support American causes from the Korean War to the counter-ISIS campaign, and have reduced the transaction costs of collective action to meet common threats from international terrorism to p.iracy. They have provided institutional megaphones through which the United States can amplify its diplomatic voice and project its influence into key issues and regions around the globe. If these arrangements did not exist, the United States would find itself having to create them, or acting unilaterally at far greater cost. If realism is really about maximizing American power, true realists ought to be enthusiastic about relationships and institutions that serve that purpose. Realists should adopt the approach that every postCold War president has embraced: that the United States will act unilaterally in defense of its interests when it must, but multilaterally with partners whenever it can. Finally, realism requires not throwing away what has worked in the past. One of the most astounding aspects of both contemporary academic realism and the Trumpian variant of that tradition is the cavalier attitude they display toward arrangements and partnerships that have helped produce a veritable golden age of international peace, stability, and liberalism since World War II, and that have made the United States the most influential and effective actor in the globe in the process. Of course, there have been serious and costly conflicts over the past decades, and U.S. policy has always been thoroughly imperfect. But the last 70 years have been remarkably good ones for U.S. interests and the global orderwhether one compares them with the 70 years before the United States adopted its global leadership role, or compares them with the violent disorder that would have emerged if America followed the nostrums peddled today under the realist label. A doctrine that stresses that importance of prudence and discretion, and that was originally conservative in its preoccupation with stability and order, ought not to pursue radical changes in American statecraft or embrace a come what may approach to the world. Rather, such a doctrine ought to recognize that true achievements are enormously difficult to come byand that the most realistic approach to American strategy would thus be to focus on keeping a good thing going.

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Inherently American to be pro-Israel – The Jerusalem Post

Washington Crossing the Delaware, December 25, 1776, by Emanuel Leutze, 1851.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons) The presidents of the USA, by far, have always taken a pro-Israel stance. From Unitarian president John Adams expressing his desire to see the Jews return to their land and establish a state, to Baptist president Harry S. Truman, who was the leader of the free world when he recognized the State of Israel in 1948, and all the way until Presbyterian President Donald J. Trump. Even through President Trump has disappointed on the embassy issue, he has nonetheless proven to be a true friend of the Jewish state, US-Israel relations have almost always been on the amicable side. While each leader may have had his own personal beliefs, the courage to implement them came from the Father of His Country. George Washington set a standard for his successors, and it was clearly made known in a letter he wrote to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, following a visit there on August 17, 1790. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid, he said. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy. Washingtons response was meant to further strengthen the ideology of separation of church and state and to strengthen the right of each individual to practice his or her religion. However, Washingtons treatment of the Jewish people was something that had a much larger affect than just on his country. Washington, baptized as a child into the Church of England, was a practicing Christian his whole life, but what exactly he practiced is still debated by scholars. He did live in a society influenced by the Puritans, who believed themselves to be like the Israelites fleeing Egypt, wandering into the vast and unknown wilderness and reaching the promised land of the New World. They used the Bible as their guide, adopted biblical customs, established biblical codes, such as observance of the Sabbath, and gave their children Hebrew names. As Washington wished for the freedom of the Jews in Newport and in the United States in general, he made it clear that this was his wish for all the Jewish people, and all nations. Since Washington asserted the principle of asylum [in general orders from April 18 1783] and wished that the Jewish people would find in America their ‘vine and fig tree’ [in his letter to the Newport congregation] it is safe to assert that he would have favored the existence of a justly established homeland for Jews in Israel, wrote Peter Lillback, president of Westminster Theological Seminary, in his book George Washington & Israel. Washingtons views about Israel helped set the direction that American presidents have taken toward Israel until now, he wrote during the tenure of president Barack Obama. To learn more about the role of the Bible in history and the roots of Christian Zionism, check us out at @christian_jpost, on Facebook.com/jpostchristianworld/ and see the best of the Holy Land in The Jerusalem Post – Christian Edition monthly magazine. Share on facebook

Fair Usage Law

August 17, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

A Message to all the Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists – HuffPost

I am tired of being Mr. Nice Guy! I immigrated from Syria in 1984 and became an American citizen in 1989. I bask in what this country offers from freedom to democracy to opportunity to dreams of a better life. And like you, I get to vote. My voice counts. As a matter of fact, I just voted for my governor in Alabama this week and then called my three children and screamed: I JUST VOTED. They know the ritual. They know their father gets extremely excited when he votes. For 18 years of my life, I have witnessed enough corruption in Syria to last a lifetime. Last night, I attended the Stand Against Hate march in downtown Birmingham, and I didnt see you racists there. I wanted to stick a small yellow flower in the front of your shotgun. Karim Shamsi-Basha I do have a message for you No matter what you do, we will not go away the people who see no skin color. No matter how much terror you inflict, we will not be scared the people who care about he poor. No matter how many people you injure, we will stay the course of reconciliation, tolerance, and love the people who help those who have not. And no matter how many people kill and scare and push and yell at, we will keep marching, we will keep protesting, and we will keep raising our voices until we are heard the people who want to live and let live. Heres a fact you may find delightful: Despite my being born in Damascus, I am more American than you are. You were raising Confederate flags in Charlottesville, a flag that stood for slavery and drove this country into its most gruesome war. You were also raising swastikas, a symbol that stands for the most horrific event where six million Jews perished. Neither of these symbols is a gathering symbol. They stand for death, inequality and horror. You are not a patriot. You use the ugly past to forge an uglier future. Tonight, I saw signs preaching love and compassion. I saw homemade posters colored by little ones hoping we leave them a decent planet to inhabit. I saw white hands holding black and brown hands. I saw blue smiles, hopeful eyes, and reverent bows. Karim Shamsi-Basha What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend would probably repeat. After all, we have one of you in the White House. The point is not whats taking place or whos insulting whom. The point is whats on the inside of our hearts and souls. Until that heart is sparkling with only love as the driver, we will again hear the echo of Charlottesville. We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart gets rid of racism. We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart squelches intolerance. We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart crushes prejudice. We will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart tramples xenophobia. And we will hear the echo of Charlottesville unless our heart silences bigotry. The human heart does not know racism when young, it learns racism later in life. Lets keep our heart young and innocent. My message to the neo-Nazis and white supremacists? Love is more powerful than you will ever be. Love will destroy you like it has destroyed your ancestors millions of times over the last few centuries. Even if it looks promising for a while, love will ultimately crush you. Love is mighty, effective and potent. I dare you to mess with it. For more, visit arabinalabama.com.

Fair Usage Law

August 16, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Among my Jewish ancestors, a Confederate major – Houston Chronicle

Photo: Patricia Bernstein This great-great-grandfather of mine was described in his 1912 obituary in the Trenton, Tennessee, Herald Democrat as “an excellent Christian character.” I want to know if this excellent Christian character owned slaves. This great-great-grandfather of mine was described in his 1912… For the last 10 or 15 years, I have been writing books about Texas history that have entailed a lot of research into the bitter experience of black Americans during the Jim Crow era. My first book on this topic was about the 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco; my new book is about the 1920s Ku Klux Klan. During all this research, I was vaguely grateful, without thinking about it much, that my ancestors never owned slaves or fought to defend slavery. My ancestors, I thought, played no part in the long, ugly history of racism in our country. They arrived in this country decades after the Civil War. As Jews, they weren’t even eligible to belong to the despised KKK. In fact, as members of a long-abused minority, they understood persecution firsthand. For centuries in Europe, Jews were forced to travel from country to country seeking a permanent resting place, suffering frequent pogroms in which hundreds or thousands were murdered and their communities destroyed. During the Crusades, Jews were burned in their synagogues by fanatics traveling to the Holy Land. The Spanish Inquisition tortured and executed Jews and those merely suspected of practicing Judaism in secret. At least six million Jews died during the Holocaust. Because of our own long history of suffering, Jews have traditionally been more likely to feel empathy for others who are unfairly mistreated. But while I was congratulating myself that my ancestors had not been part of the problem, I somehow managed to push to the back of my mind the ancestor who was not Jewish and whose family was already living in the United States long before the Civil War. IMPROBABLY ENOUGH, on April 8, 1913, in Shreveport, Louisiana, of all places, my petite, auburn-haired Jewish grandmother, Estelle Braunig, eloped with my Gentile grandfather, Roy Penn Bennett, at a time when it was something of a scandal if a Presbyterian married a Methodist! In our family, we know a great deal about our Jewish ancestors. We have lots of stories and photographs. My father’s mother lived well into her 90s and was happy to spin tales about her childhood in Belarus. But Bennett died long before any of his grandchildren were born, and we have never known much about him. We did know that he came originally from Humboldt, Tennessee. As it happens, this fall I will travel to Memphis to promote my new book. Humboldt is only about 100 miles east of Memphis. This will be an opportunity for me to visit the town and find out more about the Bennetts of Humboldt. But I’ve already begun the investigation on the internet. To read this article in one of Houston’s most-spoken languages, click on the button below. Get Gray Matters sent to your inbox. Sign up now! There are a few a very few stories that have come down to me from my mother in connection with the Bennett family. One elusive bit of lore was that the Bennett family had once owned a plantation called Fruitlands. I quickly discovered that it was not a plantation, just a village near Humboldt, which has since been absorbed into what you might call Greater Humboldt. It appears so far, from most of the documentation I have uncovered, that the Bennetts were farmers, plain, old, ordinary farmers. GRAY MATTERS: What Russia can teach us about Confederate statues And then I got an unexpected shock. I came upon a photograph of the gravestone of a Bennett ancestor in the Center Baptist Church Cemetery of Gibson County, Tennessee, that read, “Maj. G.W. Bennett, 1837-1912.” It turns out that, in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, my very own great-great-grandfather, George Washington Bennett, 26, organized a company of men in Western Tennessee called “Bennett’s Battalion.” Bennett’s Battalion joined up with the Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry and eventually fought under Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was famous as the Confederacy’s most brilliant military strategist and infamous for the massacre under his command of black Union troops at Fort Pillow. After the war, Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the original Ku Klux Klan. WHEN I was growing up in Dallas, many Dallasites would have been delighted to discover that they had an ancestor who had served as a major in the Confederate Army though I seriously doubt that the Dallas branch of the Daughters of the Confederacy of that period would have been thrilled to take on a Jewish member. But we live in a time when some Confederate monuments are being torn down and the names of streets and buildings changed to reflect less devotion to the romanticized “Lost Cause” of the Confederacy and greater sensitivity to the history of all Americans. I was particularly pleased that the statue of the monstrous, rabble-rousing bigot Tom Watson who helped to incite the lynching of Leo Frank a statue contaminating the grounds of the Georgia state capital for more than 80 years was finally removed in 2013. GRAY MATTERS: Where do Confederate statues belong? So it was with mixed feelings that I emailed my three daughters to tell them that their great-great-great-grandfather was a major in the Confederate Army. I expected some sort of excited response, for better or worse. Their reactions were, in this order: 1) eye-roll emoji, 2) “Precisely my response,” and 3) distressed emoji. This discovery just doesn’t carry a lot of emotional weight for them, one way or another. But for me this is somehow important. I’m on the hunt. This great-great-grandfather of mine was described in his 1912 obituary in the Trenton, Tennessee, Herald Democrat as “an excellent Christian character.” I want to know if this excellent Christian character owned slaves. If so, I want to know what happened to those slaves. I want to know if there are any letters or other documents in which he expresses his own feelings about the war and the times. Thank goodness, from what I’ve seen so far, it looks as though Bennett’s Battalion was not present at the massacre at Fort Pillow. At this distance, I certainly can’t judge the young man George Washington Bennett was, and I can’t take his sins, such as they might have been, on myself. But I’d like to know more about who this man, so radically unlike all of my other ancestors, might have been. Patricia Bernstein is a Houston writer who has published three books, two of them about Texas history, The First Waco Horror: The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP, and, most recently, Ten Dollars to Hate: The Texas Man Who Fought the Klan. She also heads her own Houston public relations firm. Bookmark Gray Matters. It’s on the hunt.

Fair Usage Law

August 16, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Rex Tillerson’s religious freedom report stresses anti-Christian violence in Europe – Washington Examiner

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a new religious freedom report on Tuesday that said the Islamic State committed genocide against Christians and stressed a rise in anti-Christian bigotry in Europe. “Application of the law to the facts at hand leads to the conclusion ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controls or has controlled,” Tillerson said. That declaration contrasted with former Secretary of State John Kerry’s hesitation to make a similar declaration until 2016 and was apparently meant to reassure Christians who were worried that the genocide designation might be revered. But the increased emphasis on anti-Christian discrimination extended beyond the Middle Eastern theocracies, as the State Department demonstrated a heightened concern for Christian rights in western Europe. “There were continued reports of attacks against Christians, Jews, and Muslims,” the State Department’s 2016 report on France declared. It also noted that attacks on Christians were on the rise, while attacks on people of other faiths had fallen. “The government, as well as Muslim and Jewish groups, reported the number of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents decreased by 59 percent and 58 percent respectively from the previous year to 335 anti-Semitic acts and 189 anti-Muslim acts,” it said. “Anti-Christian incidents increased by 17 percent compared to the previous year.” That summary puts greater emphasis on anti-Christian discrimination than the 2015 report on France, which stressed attacks on Muslims around the country, and related hate speech against Muslims. The summary first mentioned Christians by noting, “Jehovah’s Witnesses also cited incidents of violence against their members, and they and other Christian groups reported societal abuses or discrimination.” The 2016 report on France stressed “attacks against Muslims included violence against women wearing veils or headscarves,” but singled out the fact that “two ISIS militants” murdered a priest during a Christian mass. President Trump cited that attack, during the presidential campaign, as an argument for stricter immigration policies. But the 2016 report emphasized that “after the killing of the Catholic priest, Muslims attended masses and hundreds of people of different faiths marched in solidarity with Catholics.” The new report released by Tillerson implied that discrimination against Christians can emanate from modern European popular opinion, as well. The report on the United Kingdom sympathized with a proponent of a socially-conservative view of marriage, as alongside beleaguered Muslim and Jewish minorities. “Governmental organizations reported an increase in religious hate crimes and incidents in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland,” the State Department observed. “A university expelled a Christian graduate student after he expressed his opposition to gay marriage on social media because of his Christian beliefs. There were anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim protests, and vandalism of Jewish graves, mosques, and other religious sites.” Tillerson said that the State Department would continue to oppose such restrictions on religious liberty around the world. “No one should have to live in fear, worship in secret, or face discrimination because of his or her beliefs,” he said. “As President Trump has said, we look forward to a day when, quote, people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience,’ end quote. “The State Department will continue its efforts to make that a reality.”

Fair Usage Law

August 15, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

From The Courthouse To The Big Screen, The Story Of The Ten Commandments In America – Jewish Week

Historically, religiously and socially, our relationship to the Ten Commandments is complicated. We know from the Talmud that in Second Temple times, the recitation of the Ten Commandments was part of the daily prayer service. But the Talmud reports that the Decalogue was removed from the service because, to the early Christians, the normative covenant (the 613 mitzvot) between God and the Jews had been abrogated by the new True Israel Christianity; the image of Moses clutching the two tablets suggested that Jews themselves believed that the standard core was reduced to 10 laws. To the early Christians this was proof itself of the new faith, and was enough for the rabbinic leadership to toss the Decalogue out of the prayer service. (Indeed, the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, for this very reason mounted a quixotic campaign to remove depictions of the two tablets from synagogues worldwide.) Fast forward a couple of millennia, to America. How did the Decalogue become iconic as it did in a pluralistic American society? Jenna Weissman Joselit chronicles how the Decalogue became iconic in a pluralistic American society. Oxford University Press To help answer that question comes historian Jenna Weissman Joselit, the author of the highly regarded New Yorks Jewish Jews about the inter-war Orthodox community, with her lively and entertaining Set in Stone: Americas Embrace of the Ten Commandments (Oxford University Press). This 232-page volume engagingly explores how the Ten Commandments became part of the fiber of American society, deeply embedded in its consciousness so deeply embedded as to inspire not one but two Cecil B. DeMille epics (was there a Jew in America who did not kvell with Charlton Hestons Moses and frown at Edward G. Robinsons Dathan?), and to generate church-state battles over public-sector displays of the two tablets. American Christians embraced the Decalogue even more than did Americas Jews, even though the Commandments appear in the Hebrew Old Testament not once but twice and not in the New, which to many Christians supersedes the Old. The Ten Commandments were set in stone, literally in synagogue stained-glass windows and arks and figuratively, in attempts to embed the biblical edicts into legislation. Set in Stone lays out, in a series of chapters, stories of bogus tablets unearthed in rural America; battles over the constitutionality of the Ten Commandments in public spaces; and how the two epic Ten Commandments movies came to be. Joselit deftly tells the story of how the centrality of the Ten Commandments led to the seemingly innocuous recitation of the Commandments in public schools (Hmm we say under God, dont we?) and placement of the two-tablets image in courthouses. (Joselits best story involves the 5,200-pound rendition of the tablets in the Alabama State Courthouse, placed there by Alabama Judge Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments judge.) The Decalogue became a constitutional cause clbre, with the pioneering American Jewish Congress spearheading the Jewish response. The best chapter and the most fun to read is Good Neighbors, about representations of the tablets in synagogues. Joselit shows how, in the 1950s the era of Will Herbergs Judeo-Christian manifesto Catholic-Protestant-Jew the Ten Commandments were simultaneously Jewish and Christian [and] fit right in. The book discusses how some rabbis, perhaps unconsciously harking back to the Talmuds proscription of the Asseret Ha-dibrot (The Ten Statements) in the daily prayer service, did not cotton to the idea of giving undue reverence to the figure of Moses with the tablets in effect, equating Moses with Jesus and the Decalogue with Christian norms. But to most Jews and to Christians the Ten Commandments worked. In the post-war 1950s, Jews and Christians used the Ten Commandments to highlight what they had in common Herbergs Judeo-Christian tradition and thereby come closer together. To Jews especially, coming out of decades of widespread attitudinal anti-Semitism in the United States (to say nothing of the Destruction of European Jewry), depictions of the two tablets on the exterior of the synagogue linked Jewish identity to the American agenda; the tablets were a giant exclamation point we belong! Joselit is particularly good on the internal struggles within the Jewish community surrounding the Ten Commandments. But more basic is the question of why the Decalogue has the resonance it does among American Christians. The Christians, after all, were the most eager to mount displays of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms and other public places. The reader awaits some theological orientation alas, not forthcoming to the question of how a document embedded in superseded scripture (the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament) has such reverberation among so many American Christians. This is a puzzler; unfortunately, historian Joselit is not theologian Joselit. Even a lively book of social and cultural history, as Set in Stone is, can bear the weight of a touch of theological context. At bottom, Set in Stone is an eminently readable series of stories, with an ironic thrust on every page. Joselit answers the what? of Americas encounter with the Ten Commandments, and its great stuff. Students and scholars, and general readers, both Jew and Christian, will savor the book. But the why? of the encounter yet awaits a serious discussion. Jerome Chanes, a regular contributor, is the author of four books on Jewish history and public policy. He is a senior fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Jenna Weissman Joselit chronicles how the Decalogue became iconic in a pluralistic American society. Oxford University Press

Fair Usage Law

August 15, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Christians Who Demonize Israel – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Photo Credit: {Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website} (See also Part I: Christians Who Demonize Israel: Kairos and Christians Who Demonize Israel Part II) The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center is an arguably anti-Semitic and supersessionist organization that has recently been criticized by several Anglican clergy. Sabeel was founded in 1989 by an Anglican priest, Naim Ateek, former Canon of St. Georges Cathedral in Jerusalem. Still based in Jerusalem, it has eleven chapters in Western countries. In Ateeks theology, Jesus is no longer a Jew living under Roman rule, but a Palestinian living under an occupation. Ateek has spoken without irony while preaching that it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull. Here, he is drawing on the familiar canard of Jews as Christ-killers, a trope rejected by most mainstream Christian churches. The concept has, as we know, been the basis for all earlier Christian persecution and murder of Jews. Sabeels theology distorts the Old Testament by denying Jews any ongoing connection with the land of their origin, and treating them as a people abandoned by God. There is also repeated disparagement of Judaism as tribal, primitive, and exclusionary. Judaism has also been unjustly described as a theology of contempt.[1] Where most modern churches have left the anti-Semitism of the past behind and recognize that the Romans, not the Jews, crucified Jesus, the exponents of this cult of what has been called Christian Palestinianism deny any historical or theological connection between the biblical Israel, the Jewish people, and the modern State of Israel. In doing this in a period that has seen a massive upsurge in anti-Semitism throughout Europe, North America, and the Islamic world, Sabeel openly states that historys most persecuted community, the Jews, has no right whatsoever to a land in which it can defend itself from assaults and the current open threat, this time from Iran, of another genocide. Sabeel seems to have turned its back on all the work done by organizations such as the Council of Christians and Jews, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, or the World Congress of Faiths. (For a list of other statements by Ateek, see here.) Sabeel has been widely criticized by both Christians and Jews. Anglican Friends of Israel has listed several Christian critics. Dexter Van Zile from the United Church of Christ is convinced that Ateek is dangerous: Hes able to wrap up Palestinian nationalism in the language of Christian Witness and essentially that agenda then gets legitimized by Churches in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia. He gives legitimacy to a dishonest historical narrative. Sister Ruth Laut, a lawyer and Dominican nun, of Churches United for Just Peace in the Middle East and Rev. William Harter of Presbyterians Concerned for Jewish Relations and the National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, have spoken against the Sabeels agenda. Charles McVety, the president of Canada Christian College and an evangelical Christian leader, has said that These groups do not speak on behalf of Christians in any way. They are a radical fringe indulging their anti-Semitic, anti-Israel bias under the guise of neutrality. Nor are these individuals alone. Anglican Friends of Israel reported in 2005: Deeply concerned about the programs and message that Sabeel is bringing to North America, a body called The Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East has been formed. It includes the United Church of Christ. The Coalition has stated that They (Sabeel) undermine hopes for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, for greater understanding about the conflict and for the spread of religious tolerance. The journalist Jeff Jacoby has stated that Sabeel and Ateeks denunciations of Israel have included imagery explicitly linking the modern Jewish state to the terrible charge that for centuries fueled so much anti-Jewish hatred and bloodshed, and that In Ateeks metaphorical telling, in other words, Israel is guilty of trying to murder Jesus as an infant, of killing Jesus on the cross, and of seeking to prevent his resurrection. Jacoby quotes Adam Gregerman, Assistant Director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Relations at Saint Josephs University (a Jesuit institution in Philadelphia). Writing in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies in 2004, Gregerman observed that liberation theologians such as Ateek perpetuate some of the most unsavory and vicious images of the Jews as malevolent, antisocial, hostile to non-Jews. As such, liberation theology impedes rather than fosters any serious attempt at understanding or ending the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. In the UK, the leading representative of Sabeel is the notorious Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, the incumbent of the Anglican parish of Christchurch, Virginia Water, in Surrey. I say notorious because of the trouble he has brought on himself within the church. On January 20, 2015, Sizer posted a link on his Facebook page to a lengthy 9/11 conspiracy theory article entitled 9/11 Israel did it. The article included claims which, among others, seek to connect wealthy American Jews to the attacks, through their ownership of buildings, political affiliations or links to Israel. Sizer asked: Is this anti-Semitic? If so no doubt Ill be asked to remove it. It raises so many questions. Later, he removed the post, not necessarily because he no longer thought it was true, but because Britains leading Jewish organization, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, had asked for it to be taken down. In correspondence with Jewish News Online, he asked that evidence be provided to refute the conspiracy theory. On January 29, 2015, the Church of England stated that the comments made by Sizer were unacceptable and that the Diocese of Guildford would launch an investigation. The following day, Sizer issued a statement of apology and announced that the diocese had suspended him from all social media and blogs. The Board of Deputies of British Jews also published a statement condemning Sizers behavior. On February 9, it emerged that he had been banned from social media by the new Bishop of Guildford, the Rt. Revd. Andrew Watson, for at least six months, for his allegation of Israeli responsibility for the 9/11 atrocities. Sizer has also been banned from commenting on issues relating to the Middle East and will not attend further conferences on this subject. In his letter to the bishop, Sizer accepted that if he were to break the undertaking he has made not to use social media for that period, he would have to resign his ministry. The Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, who chairs the Council of Christians and Jews, has said that The content and the delay in removing the link from Mr Sizers Facebook page was disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman of the Church of England to promote. Members of the CCJ have described the website as obscenely antisemitic.’ Simon McIlwaine, known as a man of integrity, is the founder of Anglican Friends of Israel. He has called for Sizer to be defrocked. We have to ask why, in the light of what we know of Sabeel, Naim Ateek and Stephen Sizer, an Anglican church in Newcastle chose to display and distribute literature from this organization, containing quotations from Ateek. This is not a light matter. It raises profound questions. Perhaps the gravest error made by Kairos, Sabeel, and other Christian groups who pursue a one-sided campaign is that they take away from the Palestinians any form of agency or self-reliance. If the Israelis are to blame for all that is wrong and the Palestinians are only victims, then Palestinians must be treated as children, without the will and power to act on their own behalf. Or who can act only through violence and hate. This infantilization of a people who have taken thousands of innocent lives, committed grave sins, and openly rejected offers of peace makes them, instead, passive recipients of suffering rather than the actors that, in fact, they are. By disengaging Palestinians from responsibility for their own hatred and actions, anti-Israel churchmen and lay members trap the very people for whom they evince the greatest love inside thoughts and policies, many of them inspired by Islamic teachings, that call for the oppression of Jews and Christians as dhimmi peoples (tolerated, second-class citizens) that render them more powerless. They permit the Palestinians to persist within an atmosphere of hatred, rather than calling them to love. There is no place, in our opinion, for the support of hatred within a Christian church, just as no hatred is ever expressed within a synagogue. Or, as many people increasingly suspect, are these campaigns, replete with fraudulent charges, as in the Inquisition, really not about Palestinians at all, but just the latest incarnation of the old racist and religious hatred of Jews, and a clear expression of the New Anti-Semitism? In conclusion, let us present the Shalom Declaration, a statement that has been presented to Christians of many denominations and signed by them as a token of their trust of Israel and the Jewish people. It speaks for itself. The Shalom Declaration: We deeply appreciate that Israel is the only country in the Middle East which extends freedom of worship to all its citizens and where the Christian community is growing. We grieve and stand with families in Israel and the wider Middle East, who have lost loved ones and with all who are persecuted by the rise of violent extremism and intolerance in the region. We pray that those inciting trouble and disharmony in the Middle East and who threaten the existence of Israel will be thwarted. We further pray that the peacemakers will see their patience and vision rewarded so that Isaiahs prophecy of swords beaten into pruning forks and the declaration of Jesus that Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God, will soon become a reality. We draw succour from the vibrancy of the State of Israel, from its democratic political system, its academic and cultural creativity and its remarkable contribution to humanity in terms of science and technology. And we call upon the spiritual leaders and elected representatives of our nation to work tirelessly to combat anti-Semitism and violent extremism across the world and to strengthen understanding and co-operation between the peoples of our nation and of Israel. We call upon the Anglican Church to consider this report and to examine the Wall Will Fall event and the false claims of Kairos, Sabeel and like organizations in the light of Christs message of love and forgiveness. It must be the Churchs judgement whether there is need for a call to repentance. But if there is no coming alive to the injustice and deceit of Christian anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, then this ungodly bigotry and confusion within the churches will continue to fester. Unfortunately, the structure of the workshops at the Walls Will Fall event, held in St Thomas The Martyr Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, meant that one could only attend two out of the four available workshops and not the film. The first workshop was on Palestinian-Israeli collaboration, and focused on the Villages Group, an NGO involving some Israelis with rural Palestinians in two villages near Nablus. This project seems in many ways commendable, and I can understand why some Christians support it. But the groups own website and Facebook page are avowedly anti-Israeli, taking on causes for the Palestinian side only. This became clear during the workshop, which condemned Israeli security checkpoints, the Israeli security barrier, and related topics. Although I had not intended to say anything during the day, these accusations grew so vicious that it felt necessary to address some of the points made. An attempt was made to explain that the Wall is only a tiny fraction of the Israeli security barrier, well over 90% of which is a wire fence some 430 miles in length. There is no doubt that the barrier and checkpoints make life difficult for the Palestinians, but in the workshop I pointed out that it was built in response to the huge toll in lives taken by suicide bombers and other terrorists; since its construction many hundreds of lives have been saved, as illustrated in the chart below: Two other matters seemed relevant. When there were checkpoints during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, most people (including the present writer and his family) were grateful for their presence to prevent terrorist attacks. Then, back in the Middle East, we meet a Gazan woman, Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, who was arrested at a checkpoint on June 20, 2005, while wearing a massive bomb strapped to her thigh. She planned to go as an outpatient to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, Israel, where her life had been saved after she suffered burns in a domestic accident. Her orders, given by Fatahs al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, were to explode the bomb among the doctors and nurses, killing as many children as possible. At that time, Palestinians trying to smuggle bombs and other weapons through checkpoints were arrested almost every day. The only response to this information was a statement that this is all nonsense or words to that effect. Given the Christian context of the workshop, one could only be at a loss to understand such a very clear indifference to the concept of saving human life. No-one present (in a packed room) voiced any objection to that callous remark. Literature There is no space here for a full discussion of the many leaflets, pamphlets and booklets that were made available on the dozen or more bookstalls at the event. With a couple of exceptions (such as information on some girls schools in the West Bank), none of the material contained even a brief mention of the Jewish, moderate Christian, or Israeli side of events and policies. Much seemed heavily and sometimes viciously expressive of hatred for the State of Israel; placed one hundred percent of the blame for any conflict on Israel or Jewish settlers. Much also discounted, excused, covered up or ignored decades of Arab and Palestinian violence and PLO and Hamas calls for the eradication of Israel because it is a Jewish state and therefore unacceptable in Islamic law. Some of what was there was gross, much of it was subtle. For anyone with a limited knowledge of the history and ideological underpinnings of this dispute, the glosses and mis-statements were persuasive and, unsurprisingly, designed to draw readers into the Palestinian narrative.

Fair Usage Law

August 15, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed


Fair Use Disclaimer

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

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."