Tuesday, January 16, 2007

He Who is Not Against Us Is For Us

Christianity has enjoyed a long period of prosperity through recent history. Any honest observation of global trends must admit that that period seems to be coming to an end. The world is baring it's teeth at any branch of Christianity that holds even a shred of resemblance to orthodox values. If you don't think its going to pounce within our lifetime, you have another thought coming to you.

From here on when I mention Christianity I am not including mainstream liberal Christianity. Those social clubs arent in any danger (and they wouldnt be concerned even if they perceived that they were in danger since they obviously dont take the religion seriously).

Christianity currently has three main enemies as I see them. The first two are the obvious ones: 1) the growing Western hatred for Christ and the rise of secular evangelicalism and 2) the liberals and "progressives" within the Catholic Church (mainly) who want to destroy it from within.

These two enemies pose serious threats. We are at war. No, I'm not talking about a physical war. As Christians, we use far more powerful weapons than guns or tanks; through peace and charity Christianity has grown from a insignificant sect in Palestine to be the dominant religion of the modern world. It is through peace and charity that we must continue to fight but also through sound doctrine and courage when doing the right thing and standing up for the right thing isn't very popular. First things first, clean up the Church. This is a task which belongs to everyone and not just bishops. In this time when vocations are at a low point, layity need to step up to defend the Church from her enemies from within (like Hans Kung and the "Keep the Faith Change the Church" liberals). These people have openly and knowingly rejected sound doctrine.

This brings us to our third enemy which we havent discussed yet. Islam. Like Bishop Maggiolini said recently, the Catholic Church's failure to confront Islam is going to have serious consequences. Meanwhile, European countries such as Germany, France and the UK are seeing enormous growth in the Muslim population not only by immigration but also by conversion.

Recently an orthodox Jewish Rabbi (Daniel Lapin) wrote an article posted on Catholic Education that was absolutely dead on. I highly suggest reading the whole thing.

Consider the long list of anti-Christian books that have been published in recent months. Here are just a few samples of more than 30 similar titles, all from mainstream publishers:

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America

The Baptizing of America: The Religious Right's Plans for the Rest of Us

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

Piety & Politics: The Right-wing Assault on Religious Freedom

Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism

Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America

Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right

He makes a lot of great points in the article. Does anyone seriously think that Christianity poses a bigger threat than Islam? These people are like the pre-WWII Britains who thought that the Churchill was a bigger threat than Hitler. He makes another great point, change any of these titles from Christian to Jewish and see if any of the cowards who wrote them would still have the audacity to write such hate filled propaganda.

There is now no social stigma against hating Christians. Social stigmas are the only driving morality that the secular world has. Those who hate Christians dont leave Jews and blacks alone because they're good people, they leave them alone because they are afraid of how they will be lynched by society if they even suggest anything negative about them. Yet they have no qualms about trashing Christianity.
Even the recent PBS documentary, "Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence," managed to do more attacking Christianity than defending Judaism.
...

For those with a slightly more tolerant outlook, he [Richard Dawkins] asks, "It's one thing to say people should be free to believe whatever they like, but should they be free to impose their beliefs on their children?" He suggests that the state should intervene to protect children from their parents' religious beliefs. Needless to say, he means Christian beliefs, of course.

...

Phase one in this war is to make Christianity, well, sort of socially unacceptable. Something only foolish, poor and ugly people could turn to.
He goes on to point out how succesful people have been lately with propaganda campaigns against smoking for example.
Fervent zealots of secularism are flinging themselves into this anti-Christian war with enormous fanaticism.

...

Without a vibrant and vital Christianity, America is doomed, and without America, the West is doomed.

Which is why I, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, devoted to Jewish survival, the Torah and Israel am so terrified of American Christianity caving in.

Many of us Jews are ready to stand with you. But you must lead. You must replace your timidity with nerve and your diffidence with daring and determination. You are under attack. Now is the time to resist it.

And its not just Orthodox Jews who need to stand with the Catholic Church but also conservative Protestants, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox and all God's faithful because the "war on Christianity" is no longer an impending danger but a present reality.

First things first, eliminate this spirit of liberalism trying to destroy the Church. NO, what the Church needs isnt women priests. We dont need to revoke priestly celibacy. We don't need to eliminate the death penalty completely. We dont need to keep Israel from defending herself. We dont need to support Palestine. We dont need to change our teachings on homosexuality. We dont need more "praise and worship" music in the liturgy and we dont need the whole Catholic world crying over the execution of Saddam and the Iraq war. There are far worse things going on in the world than terrorists being brought to justice... Trust me.



9 comments:

Tiber Jumper said...

"There are far worse things going on in the world than terrorists being brought to justice."

The abortion counter on our blogs points up that fact on a daily basis!

I think eventually in the next several hundred years, there will be an ecumenism that the world has never seen and at the end of the day, orthodoxy will be left standing, and the "religions" of comfort, hedonism and relativism will be long gone.
The abortion fight in the US has done much to bring Christians together for a common goal. Survival always has had a way of helping us putting aside their differences.

NotMyOpinion30 said...

Hey Tiber,

The next several hundred years? Man, you're optimistic. I think the Christian world is filled with wreckless ecumenism now. Orthodoxy in the Catholic Church, the only Christian branch that will withstand the attack of secularism in the end, has even been threatened (and quite successfully I might add) by liberal, feel good, everyone is OK, and Jesus is my pal type ecumenism. Thanks be to God for Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Arinze, and all of the recently appointed orthodox bishops in the U.S.

GFF, I'm a little weary about taking any advice from an orthodox rabbi on how to handle the assault on Christianity. The Talmud is not a very charitable book when it comes to Christians. Even an olive branch needs to be thoroughly inspected from anyone other than Christ. It may be possible that he is appealing to the so-called "fundamentalists" who are willing to rise up and take a stand. Any kind of action that we know isn't sanctioned by God will only quicken the hate against Christians. You had it right the first time, Christianity was built on peace, love, and the blood of martyrs. We need to listen to the advice from our shepherds. For now, it is the draw of the Church that matters. Let's use the time we have to prepare our souls before the hate towards Christianity manifests itself physically.

NotMyOpinion30 said...

Here is an example of the sad state of some Christian religions.

This is the Episcopalians, the American Anglicans. Do you think that C.S. Lewis would have remained Anglican if he could have fortold the future and seen how relativism and not having a solid Christian foundation ruined the Anglican (openly gay bishops and women priests on top of a myriad of other compromises with the secular world) and the Episcopalian churches? I don't think that Pope Benedict XVI would ever be quoted saying something like this.

http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/2007/01/katies-big-bus-ride.html

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Well the Rabbi himself admitted theres only one reason he gives a crap about conservative Christians. The reason is bc he knows full well that if American Christianity (however impotent it may be in some areas) loses its foothold in America, Israel is done for.

The big thing to realize is that America is the ONLY thing standing in between peace / liberty and Islamo-fascism.

Secularism is doing its best to help Islam because right now the enemy of secularism is Christianity. Would Islam win out, Islam will proceed to destroy secularism as well.

We shall see, and yea like NMO said, I doubt we have hundreds of years left.

The west is literally killing itself off. The west is at war with itself. B16 (then Card. Ratzinger) wrote a book about it as many others have in recent years.

At the current rate things are going, we'll be lucky to get a few more years in before we see some strong anti-Christian legislation in America.

We must realize also from the secularism crowd (as is evident from a number of different public statements, books and other publications) there are a growing number of 'fundamentalist' secularists who are becoming the real 'radicals' now. Dont underestimate how many out there would take away your freedom to practice Christianity in a heart beat if they could.

NotMyOpinion30 said...

So, when are you going to discern whether or not to throw in your additional help to Christ and His Church by looking into seminary, Tim? ;)

Right now you fit the minimum qualifications to apply, don't you? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Just kidding. I know it's not your will, but it is God's. Just wondering if you've felt a call.

Dudley Sharp said...

Pope John Paul II made significant errors within his Evangelium Vitae, with regard to the death penalty and, as a result, those teachings should not have been enterred into the Catechism. Please review.

Pope John Paul II: a pro-death penalty essay
by Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
(contact info, below)
October 1997, with subsequent updates thru 8/06
 
SEE ADDITIONAL REFERENCES AT THE END OF THIS DOCUMENT
 
In 1997, the Roman Catholic Church decided to amend the 1992 Universal Catechism to reflect Pope John Paul II's comments within his 1995 encyclical, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae). Therein, the Pope finds that the only time executions can be justified is when they are required "to defend society" and that "as a result of steady improvements . . . in the penal system that such cases are very rare if not practically non existent."
 
This is, simply, not true.  Murderers, tragically, harm and murder, again, way too often.
 
Three issues, inexplicably, escaped the Pope's consideration.
 
First, in the Pope's context, "to defend society" means that the execution of the murderer must save future lives or, otherwise, prevent future harm.  
 
When looking at the history of  criminal justice practices in probations, paroles and incarcerations, we observe countless examples of when judgements and procedures failed and, because of that, murderers harmed and/or murdered, again. History details that murderers murder and otherwise harm again, time and time again -- in prison, after escape, after improper release, and, of course, after we fail to capture or incarcerate them. 
 
Reason dictates that living murderers are infinitely more likely to harm and/or murder again than are executed murderers. 
 
Therefore,  the Pope could err, by calling for a reduction or end to execution, and thus sacrifice more innocents, or he could "err" on the side of protecting more innocents by calling for an expansion of executions.
 
History, reason and the facts support an increase in executions based upon a defending society foundation. 
 
Secondly, if social science concludes that executions provide enhanced deterrence for murders, then the Pope's position should call for increased executions. 
 
If  we decide that the deterrent effect of executions does not exist and we, therefore, choose not to execute, and we are wrong, this will sacrifice innocent lives and also give those murderers the opportunity to harm and murder again. 
 
If we choose to execute, believing in the deterrent effect, and we are wrong, we are executing our worst human rights violators and preventing such murderers from ever harming or murdering again - again, saving more innocent lives.
 
No responsible social scientist has or will say that the death penalty deters no one.  Quite a few studies, including 8 recent ones,  find that executions do deter. 
 
As all prospects for negative consequence deter some,  it is a mystery why the Pope chose the option which spares murderers and sacrifices more innocent lives. 
 
If the Pope's defending society position has merit, then the Church must actively support executions, as it offers an enhanced defense of society and greater protection for innocent life.
 
Thirdly, we know that some criminals don't murder because of their fear of execution.  This is known as the individual deterrent effect.  Unquestionably, the incapacitation effect (execution) and the individual deterrent effect both exist and they both defend society by protecting innocent life and offer enhanced protections over imprisonment. Furthermore, individual deterrence assures us that general deterrence must exist, because individual deterrence could not exist without it.  Executions save lives. 
 
Therefore, the Pope's defending society standard should be a call for increasing executions. Instead, the Pope and other Church leadership has chosen a position that spares the lives of known murderers, resulting in more innocents put at risk and more innocents harmed and murdered --  a position which, quite clearly, contradicts the Pope's, and other's, emphasis on defending society.
 
Contrary to the Church's belief, that the Pope's opinion represents a tougher stance against the death penalty, the opposite is true. When properly evaluated, the defending society position supports more executions.
 
Had these issues been properly assessed, the Catechism would never have been amended  --  unless the Church endorses a position knowing that it would spare the lives of guilty murderers, at the cost of sacrificing more innocent victims. 
 
When the choice is 1) sparing murderers, resulting in more harmed and murdered innocents, who suffer through endless moments of incredible horror, with no additional time to prepare for their salvation, or 2) executing murderers, who have on average, an additional 10 years on death row to prepare for their salvation, and saving more innocents from being murdered,  the Pope and the Catholic Church have an obligation to spare the innocent, as Church tradition, the Doctors of the Church and many Saints have concluded. (see reference, below)
 
Pope John Paul II's death penalty stance is his own, personal prudential judgement and does not bind any other Catholic to share his position. Any Catholic can choose to support more executions, based upon their own prudential judgement, and remain a Catholic in good standing.
 
Furthermore, prudential judgement requires a foundation of reasoned and thorough review. The Pope either improperly evaluated the risk to innocents or he did not evaluate it at all.
 
A defending society position supports more executions, not less. Therefore, his prudential judgement was in error on this important point of fact.
 
Furthermore, defending society is an outcome of the death penalty, but is secondary to the foundation of justice and biblical instruction.
 
Even though Romans and additional writings do reveal a "defending society" consideration, such references pale in comparison to the mandate that execution is the proper punishment for murder, regardless of any consideration "to defend society."  Both the Noahic covenant, in Genesis 9:6 ("Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed."), and the Mosaic covenant, throughout the Pentateuch (Ex.: "He that smiteth a man so that he may die, shall be surely put to death."  Exodus 21:12), provide execution as the punishment for unjustifiable/intentional homicide, otherwise known as murder.
 
These texts, and others, offer specific rebuttal to the Pope's position that if "bloodless means" for punishment are available then such should be used, to the exclusion of execution. The Pope's prudential judgement does not trump biblical instruction.
 
Most telling is the fact that Roman Catholic tradition instructs four elements to be considered  with criminal sanction.
1.  Defense of society against the criminal.
2.  Rehabilitation of the criminal (including spiritual rehabilitation).
3.  Retribution, which is the reparation of the disorder caused by the criminal's transgression.
4.   Deterrence
 
It is a mystery why and how the Pope could have excluded three of these important elements. In doing so, though, we can confirm that his review was very incomplete and, thus, improper. 
 
At least two Saints, Paul and Dismas, faced execution and stated that it was appropriate. They were both executed.
 
The Holy Ghost decided that execution was the proper punishment for two devoted, early Christians,  Ananias and his wife, Saphira,  for the crime/sin of lying. Neither was given a moment to consider their earthly punishment or to ask for forgiveness. The Holy Ghost struck them dead.
 
For those who erroneously contend that Jesus abandoned the Law of the Hebrew Testament, He states that He has come not "to abolish the law and the prophets . . . but to fulfill them."  Matthew 5:17-22.  While there is honest debate regarding the interpretation of Mosaic Law within a Christian context, there seems little dispute that the Noahic Covenant is still in effect and that Genesis 9:6 deals directly with the sanctity of life issue in its support of execution. (read "A Seamless Garment In a Sinful World" by John R. Connery, S. J., America, 7/14/84, p 5-8).
 
"In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die (Mt 15:4; Mk 7:10, referring to Ex 21:17; cf. Lev 20:9). (Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, 10/7/2000)
 
Saint Pius V reaffirms this mandate, in the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566), stating that executions are acts of "paramount obedience to this [Fifth] Commandment."  ("Thou shalt not murder," sometimes improperly translated as "kill" instead of "murder").  And, not only do the teachings of Saints Thomas Aquinas and Augustine concur, but both saints also find that such punishment actually reflects charity and mercy by preventing the wrongdoer from sinning further.  The Saints position is that execution offers undeniable defense of society as well as defense of the wrongdoer.
 
Such prevention also expresses the fact that execution is an enhanced defense of society, over and above all other punishments.
 
The relevant question is "What biblical and theological teachings, developed from 1566 through 1997, provide that the standard for executions should evolve from 'paramount obedience' to God's eternal law to a civil standard reflecting 'steady improvements' . . . in the penal system?".  Such teachings hadn't changed.  The Pope's position is social, not biblical nor theological. 
 
If Saint Pius V was correct, that executions represent "paramount obedience to the [Fifth] Commandments, then is it not disobedient to reduce or stop executions?
 
The Church's position on the use of the death penalty has been consistent from 300 AD through 1995 AD.  The Church has always supported the use of executions, based upon biblical and theological principles.
 
Until 1995, says John Grabowski, associate professor of Moral Theology at Catholic University, " . . .  Church teachings were supportive of the death penalty.  You can find example after example of Pope's, of theologians and others, who have supported the right of the state to inflict capital punishment for certain crimes and certain cases." Grabowski continues: "What he (the Pope now) says, in fact, in his encyclical, is that given the fact that we now have the ability, you know, technology and facilities to lock up someone up for the rest of their lives so they pose no future threat to society -- given that question has been answered or removed, there is no longer justification for the death penalty."  (All Things Considered, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, 9/9/97.)
 
The Pope's position is now based upon the state of the corrections system -- a position neither biblical nor theological in nature.  Furthermore, it is a position which conflicts with the history of prisons.  Long term incarceration of lawbreakers in Europe began in the 1500s.  Of course, long term incarceration of slaves had begun thousands of years before --  meaning that all were aware that criminal wrongdoers  could also be subject to bondage, if necessary - something that all historians and biblical scholars -- now and then and in between --  were and are well aware of. 
 
Since it's inception, the Church has issued numerous pronouncements, encyclicals and previous Universal Catechisms.  Had any biblical or theological principle called for a replacement of the death penalty by life imprisonment, it could have been revealed long before 1995. 
 
There is, finally, a disturbing reality regarding the Pope's new standard.  The Pope's defending society standard requires that the moral concept of justice becomes irrelevant.  The Pope's standard finds that capital punishment can be used only as a vehicle to prevent future crimes. Therefore, using the Pope's standard, the moral/biblical rational -- that capital punishment is the just or required punishment for murder -- is no longer relevant to the sin/crime of murder. 
 
If defending society is the new standard, the Pope has decided that the biblical standards of atonement, expiation, justice and required punishments have all, necessarily, been discarded, with regard to execution.
 
The Pope's new position establishes that capital punishment no longer has any connection to the harm done or to the imbalance to be addressed.  Yet, such connection had always been, until now, the Church's historical, biblically based perspective on this sanction.  Under a defending society standard, the injury suffered by the murder victim is no longer relevant to their punishment.  Executions can be justified solely upon that punishments ability to prevent future harm by the murderer.
 
Therefore, when considering executions in regard to capital murder cases, a defending society standard renders justice irrelevant.  Yet, execution defends society to a degree unapproachable by any other punishment and, therefore, should have been fully supported by the Pope.
 
"Some enlightened people would like to banish all conception of retribution or desert from our theory of punishment and place its value wholly in the deterrence of others or the reform of the criminal himself.  They do not see that by doing so they render all punishment unjust. What can be more immoral than to inflict suffering on me for the sake of deterring others if I do not deserve it?" (quote attributed to the distinguished Christian writer C. S. Lewis)
 
Again, with regard to the Pope's prudential judgement, his neglect of justice was most imprudent.
 
Some Catholic scholars, properly, have questioned the appropriateness of including prudential judgement within a Catechism. Personal opinion does not belong within a Catechism and, likely, will never be allowed, again. I do not believe it had ever been allowed before.
 
In fact, neither the Church nor the Pope would accept a defending society standard for use of the death penalty, unless the Church and the Pope believed that such punishment was just and deserved, as well.  The Church has never questioned the authority of the government to execute in "cases of extreme gravity," nor does it do so with these recent changes. 
 
Certainly, the Church and the Pope John Paul II believe that the prevention of any and all violent crimes fulfills a defending society position.  And there is no doubt that executions defend society at a level higher than incarceration. Why has the Pope and many within Church leadership chosen a path that spares murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives, when they could have chosen a stronger defense of society which spares more innocents?
 
Properly, the Pope did not challenge the Catholic biblical and theological support for capital punishment.  The Pope has voiced his own, personal belief as to the appropriate application of that penalty. 
 
So why has the Pope come out against executions, when his own position -- a defense of society -- which, both rationally and factually, has a foundation supportive of more executions?
 
It is unfortunate that the Pope, along with some other leaders in the Church, have decided to, improperly, use a defending society position to speak against the death penalty.
 
The Pope's position against the death penalty condemns more innocents and neglects justice.
 
-------------------------------------------
 Please also refer to:


(1)  "Catholic and other Christian References: Support for the Death Penalty", at
homicidesurvivors(DOT)com/2006/10/12/catholic-and-other-christian-references-support-for-the-death-penalty.aspx
 
(2)  "Capital Punishment: A Catholic Perspective" at
www(DOT)sspx.org/against_the_sound_bites/capital_punishment.htm
 
(3) "The Purpose of Punishment (in the Catholic tradition)", by R. Michael Dunningan, J.D., J.C.L., CHRISTIFIDELIS, Vol.21,No.4, sept 14, 2003
www(dot)st-joseph-foundation.org/newsletter/lead.php?document=2003/21-4
 
(4) "MOST CATHOLICS OPPOSE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT?", KARL KEATING'S E-LETTER, Catholic Answers, March 2, 2004
www(dot)catholic.com/newsletters/kke_040302.asp
 
(5) "THOUGHTS ON THE BISHOPS' MEETING: NOWADAYS, VOTERS IGNORE BISHOPS" , KARL KEATING'S E-LETTER, Catholic Answers,, Nov. 22, 2005
www(dot)catholic.com/newsletters/kke_051122.asp
 
copyright 1997-2007 Dudley Sharp
 
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail sharp(at)aol.com, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)dpinfo.com
joshmarquis(dot)blogspot.com/
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.org/
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_contents.htm  (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

NotMyOpinion30 said...

Dudley,

First, I'm glad that, through your insightful research, you have officially declared that the Holy Spirit did not speak through Pope John Paul II and does not speak through the ordinary Magisterim. Your position is clear. Your opinion and the opinion of others that share it are better and more insightful than the ordinary Magisterium and the Church.

Second, you have effectively pointed out to yourself and others, who believe that capital punishment is a neccessary evil (arguably good in your account) that the Church is wrong on their stance by supposedly "updating" the Catechism and allegedly changing their previous position on the death penalty. I would say it was more of a clarification.

It seems you are making the declaration that you are right and the Catholic Church is wrong. You aren't the only one to come to this conclusion. Much insight into secular studies that have nothing to do with the state of the human soul has brought you to this conclusion. Let's kill everyone who poses a threat to our personal safety.

Your assessment also seems to imply that all other dictators in the future will stop what they are doing because they will be deterred by the hanging of Saddam Hussein... riiiggghhht.

Human beings are a little more unpredictable than numbers and computer calculations. Grace can turn the most evil people into the most pious, something that no calculation or statistic can predict.

That's all I have to say on this topic, so you can have the last word. This is not up for debate IMHO.

NotMyOpinion30 said...

"Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will save it." Luke 17:33

Killing individuals who are already incarcerated and removed from society isn't justified. Especially when the motive is simply to allegedly prevent them from possibly hurting you in the future (though their incarceration should be enough, especially if you stay away from those scummy criminals in prison that have no chance of repentance based on your statistics).

We must be merciful as God is merciful. We should see God in even the worst of sinners and want them all in heaven with the Lord. I'm sorry, but your suggestions are completely devoid of any trace of mercy and love.

dudleysharp said...

Death Penalty Support: Modern Catholic Scholars
http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/


"The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"
http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/05/the-death-penalty-more-protection-for-innocents.aspx