Manchester, Multicultural Madness and Why We All Should Care About Politics

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight~ Isaiah 5:20-21 NIV

I was preparing dinner when I heard the sad and all-too familiar news that there was yet another terrorist attack in Europe. This time the attack was a bombing at an arena in Manchester, England. The suicide bomber killed 22 and wounded 116 (mostly school girls and their parents) as they were leaving a concert Monday night. 

 This type of tragedy inevitably highlights the bigger issues of life. It gets thoughtful people focused (at least temporally) on both the innate goodness and incomprehensible evil of mankind, the preciousness and brevity of life, and the importance of vigilance when it comes to our safety and the safety of our children.

 As central as these issues are, it’s not where we ought to get stuck at this moment in history. Rather, the attack in Manchester ought to place our focus squarely on the importance of politics; or more precisely on political ideas and why we ought to care about them.

 It has become almost a badge of honor in Christian circles not to care about politics or political ideas. I get it. Following the epic disappointments (and outright failures) of the “Religious Right” and “Moral Majority” political movements in the eighties and nineties many Christians concluded that politics are a distraction to the real mission of Christianity and there is little value to Christian political involvement.

 For the record, I do not believe politics are the be-all-end-all solution to every problem we have. To my knowledge, no law or political idea has ever changed a human heart or healed a sin-sick society. Only Jesus can do that. That said, politics matter because politics are the soil in which a society grows.

 If the politics of a society are bad, the society will eventually go bad.

 Nazi Germany is the classic example. In less than twelve years Nazi political ideas annihilated twelve centuries of cultural Christian witness, obliterated the flourishing Jewish culture in most of Europe and ended the lives of six million men, women and children.

 Conversely, good politics produce good cultures.

 We possess the blessings of individual liberty, economic freedom and the ability to speak our minds and worship in any way we see fit because of the political ideas and leanings of our Founding Fathers.

 America never would have become America and Nazi Germany never would have become Nazi Germany if it had not been for political ideas.

 For at least two decades Western political leaders have embraced the notion of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is the belief that all cultures and all aspects of all cultures are all equal. Because all cultures (and all traditions within cultures) are equal, no one has a right to judge the deeds or beliefs of another culture.

 It’s all very tolerant, broadminded and progressive.

 However,

In order to fully embrace multiculturalism you must also embrace the notion that a culture that protects, educates and nurtures young girls is no better (just different from) a culture that ritualistically mutilates the sexual organs of young girls and sells girls into sexual slavery. One must also embrace the notion that a culture where most folks respect the beliefs (religious and otherwise) of others is no better (just different from) a religion where some followers think terror and violence are a legitimate means to a political, religious, or social end. You must also accept that those followers will cultivate those beliefs in their places of worship and in the hearts and minds of their children.

 Let’s be real here.

 Not every person who comes from a culture that observes bad traditions is a bad person. However, some cultural traditions and beliefs are quite clearly bad (burning widows alive, slavery, racism, sexism, terrorism, genital mutilation, eating people). Those traditions have no place in any society.

 Yes. I am judging. Get over it.

 Multiculturalism is a stupid political idea directly related to the proliferation of terror attacks in Europe, including the one in Manchester. Sadly, it’s just one of a hundred stupid political ideas destroying Western culture that Christians are not praying about or confronting. Sadly, many Christians don’t even recognize multiculturalism when they see it in their children’s textbooks or hear it preached from the pulpit.

 The real mission of the church is to act as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) and make disciples in whatever culture God places us (Matthew 28:19). We have to understand the times we live in (1st Chronicles 12:32) to do the things the church has been called to. Understanding our times demands political awareness and involvement.

 It’s that simple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester, Multicultural Madness and Why We Should All Care About Politics

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight~ Isaiah 5:20-21 NIV

I was preparing dinner when I heard the sad and all-too familiar news that there was yet another terrorist attack in Europe. This time the attack was a bombing at an arena in Manchester, England. The suicide bomber killed 22 and wounded 116 (mostly school girls and their parents) as they were leaving a concert Monday night. 

 This type of tragedy inevitably highlights the bigger issues of life. It gets thoughtful people focused (at least temporally) on both the innate goodness and incomprehensible evil of mankind, the preciousness and brevity of life, and the importance of vigilance when it comes to our safety and the safety of our children.

 As central as these issues are, it’s not where we ought to get stuck at this moment in history. Rather, the attack in Manchester ought to place our focus squarely on the importance of politics; or more precisely on political ideas and why we ought to care about them.

 It has become almost a badge of honor in Christian circles not to care about politics or political ideas. I get it. Following the epic disappointments (and outright failures) of the “Religious Right” and “Moral Majority” political movements in the eighties and nineties many Christians concluded that politics are a distraction to the real mission of Christianity and there is little value to Christian political involvement.

 For the record, I do not believe politics are the be-all-end-all solution to every problem we have. To my knowledge, no law or political idea has ever changed a human heart or healed a sin-sick society. Only Jesus can do that. That said, politics matter because politics are the soil in which a society grows.

 If the politics of a society are bad, the society will eventually go bad.

 Nazi Germany is the classic example. In less than twelve years Nazi political ideas annihilated twelve centuries of cultural Christian witness, obliterated the flourishing Jewish culture in most of Europe and ended the lives of six million men, women and children.

 Conversely, good politics produce good cultures.

 We possess the blessings of individual liberty, economic freedom and the ability to speak our minds and worship in any way we see fit because of the political ideas and leanings of our Founding Fathers.

 America never would have become America and Nazi Germany never would have become Nazi Germany if it had not been for political ideas.

 For at least two decades Western political leaders have embraced the notion of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is the belief that all cultures and all aspects of all cultures are all equal. Because all cultures (and all traditions within cultures) are equal, no one has a right to judge the deeds or beliefs of another culture.

 It’s all very tolerant, broadminded and progressive.

 However,

In order to fully embrace multiculturalism you must also embrace the notion that a culture that protects, educates and nurtures young girls is no better (just different from) a culture that ritualistically mutilates the sexual organs of young girls and sells girls into sexual slavery. One must also embrace the notion that a culture where most folks respect the beliefs (religious and otherwise) of others is no better (just different from) a religion where some followers think terror and violence are a legitimate means to a political, religious, or social end. You must also accept that those followers will cultivate those beliefs in their places of worship and in the hearts and minds of their children.

 Let’s be real here.

 Not every person who comes from a culture that observes bad traditions is a bad person. However, some cultural traditions and beliefs are quite clearly bad (burning widows alive, slavery, racism, sexism, terrorism, genital mutilation, eating people). Those traditions have no place in any society.

 Yes. I am judging. Get over it.

 Multiculturalism is a stupid political idea directly related to the proliferation of terror attacks in Europe, including the one in Manchester. Sadly, it’s just one of a hundred stupid political ideas destroying Western culture that Christians are not praying about or confronting. Sadly, many Christians don’t even recognize multiculturalism when they see it in their children’s textbooks or hear it preached from the pulpit.

 The real mission of the church is to act as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) and make disciples in whatever culture God places us (Matthew 28:19). We have to understand the times we live in (1st Chronicles 12:32) to do the things the church has been called to. Understanding our times demands political awareness and involvement.

It’s that simple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What We Have to do to Solve the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you~ Proverbs 3:21-22a NIV

 The terrorist attacks that began last week in Paris did more than simply prove once and for all that the Middle East is not at all like Vegas. What happens there does not stay there. Their problems eventually become our problems.

 The Syrian refugee crisis is not a new issue, nor is it confined to Syria. Christians, Jews, Yazidis and some Muslims began fleeing Afghanistan and Iraq when ISIS gained a foothold in those countries after the United States military pulled out of Iraq in 2009. The Syrian conflict that began in 2011 enlarged ISIS territory and drastically increased the number of refugees seeking asylum. To date, at least twelve million men, women and children have sought protection from the carnage and genocide in the Middle East.

 The recent terrorist attacks have complicated the situation. Prior to the Paris attacks President Obama agreed to admit ten thousand refugees into the United States. When it was discovered that at least one of terrorists involved in the Paris attack entered France by posing as a Syrian refugee, the U.S. and other countries began rescinding offers of asylum. And now the fate of every Syrian refugee hangs in the balance.

 There are two positions regarding the refugees: some are compassionate, some are cautious. The cautious folks (many of them Christians) feel that allowing anyone from the Middle East into our country for any reason increases the risk of a terrorist attack on American soil. The cautious make the case that the economy is far from recovered, and refugees would put additional pressure on an already stressed system.

 They also point out that our government has an established record of incompetence when it comes to virtually every task imaginable. Most do not believe that the Obama administration should be trusted to adequately examine the backgrounds of thousands of people fleeing a war-torn country with little or no identification. Many coming from this perspective are willing to allow refugees into the country eventually. They just want some guarantees that the emigrants allowed in will be self-supporting and will not be entering under false pretenses to wreak havoc on American citizens.

 The compassionate folks (many of them Christians) believe that America is a big, generous country with many of resources. Therefore America ought to help whoever needs it. They believe that because the process to enter the U.S. takes eighteen to twenty-four months the risk of terrorists entering the country is relatively small.

 These folks point out that many, if not most of the refugees are Christians who face certain death if returned to their country of origin. The compassionate recognize the hard truth that any one of us could find ourselves in the same position as the refugees and ask what we would want done for us if we found ourselves in such a horrific place.

 Both the cautious and the compassionate have valid points. The refugees do need help, the United States should be a part of the solution, and at least some of the refugees likely pose a genuine threat to U.S. citizens. However, both the cautious and the compassionate entirely miss the larger issue.

 They forget that these refugees did not appear out of thin air. Cold-blooded adherents to a bloodthirsty death cult drove these people from their homes because they want to create a country of their own, a country where they make the rules. The religious whack-nuts responsible for the refugee crisis have enslaved countless innocents, beheaded Christians and Jews, thrown homosexuals from buildings, disfigured the faces of women and routinely rape boys and girls as young as eight. These animals cannot be reasoned with because they are, by their very nature, unreasonable beings.

 Finding a solution to the Syrian refugee crisis is going to require more than compassion or caution. It will require action on the part of Western nations, including the United States. The refugees need to be placed in safe zones (preferably in Europe) overseen by the United Nations while Western nations band together to accomplish the only truly humane option for these folks.

 We must annihilate ISIS and give the refugees their countries back. Sending refugees to Europe or bringing them to the U.S. appears to be a compassionate course of action but in actuality it only delays unraveling the real problem, which is the existence of ISIS.

 No one in his or her right mind WANTS our country to fight another war in the Middle East. Wars are expensive and there have been far too many fought on that real estate in recent years. That said, this is not a pointless war; it is a just war and it’s worth the cost. It’s time to act like grown-ups and deal with the reality we have, not the one we wish we had. ISIS and their ilk will not stop unless they are stopped. It is up to Western Nations to put an end to the madness before the poison spreads. What happens in the Middle East does not stay in the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

Some Truths the Christian Community Can Learn From ISIS

Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you~ Amos 5:14

 In the span of a single year the ISIS terrorist group has gone from being a practically unknown group of upstarts to the most infamous and troubling terrorist group on Earth. The stories simultaneously nauseate and captivate as they invent new and perverse ways to do evil (Romans 1:29-31).

 Decapitations, a man burned alive, little boys executed for watching soccer games, a young American woman murdered for assisting strangers. Coptic Christians brutally slain for refusing to convert to Islam. Gay men thrown off buildings, churches burned to the ground, homes ransacked. Christians, young and old, male and female, kidnapped and held prisoner, threatened with death for refusing to convert.

 We ignore this phenomenon at our own peril. We will never defeat something we don’t understand, and these people are successfully reaching folks with their message—especially the young, and not just the young and ignorant: Many ISIS converts are surprisingly well-educated men and women.

 The success of ISIS’ brazen recruitment programs demand the sober consideration of every God-fearing human being on Earth. According to CNN, CIA spokespersons report that thousands of American, French, Canadian and English men have linked with ISIS and are now fighting in Syria. Young women from England, France and America have left comfortable homes and forsaken Western freedoms to become brides and baby makers for Muslim extremists seeking to construct a society built on their brutal and archaic way of viewing the world.

 These realities beg some very important questions: How is a brutal group of thugs intent upon stripping the human race of every imaginable freedom making disciples out of young Westerners who ought to be repulsed by these people? Why would anyone choose to become a part of this community? What are they doing right? How do we stop them?

 These questions must be answered quickly. These groups are spreading like a pernicious form of cancer. Like it or not these terrorist groups understand some truths regarding the human condition that we have foolishly overlooked. It pains me to say this, but I believe there are some things Christians can learn from ISIS.

 Terrorists groups like ISIS understand that humans need a cause greater than themselves to live for. Human existence becomes bleak and meaningless when life becomes all about making money, acquiring stuff and personal gratification.

 Terrorist groups exploit the universal human longing for purpose and significance in life with their own twisted vision of purpose. Terrorists target young men and women who have just enough spiritual awareness to be open to a cause, any cause. They give the men and women who searching for significance and purpose something tangible to live for, sacrifice for, and fight for.

 Furthermore, terrorists exploit the human longing for fixed standards of right and wrong. In an effort to reach those yearning for moral guidance and leadership, they bombard their followers with instruction concerning morality, social interaction between the sexes, modesty, parenting, family relationships and business dealings. They have recently released a guide instructing Islamic women on how to become “the ultimate wives of Jihad.”

 Terrorists also understand the human longing for community. They entice young people with the message that they can become part of a group of like-minded individuals who will care for one another when life gets tough. Islamic communities tend to be tight-knit and very close; this is a big draw for young people raised in fractured nuclear families and with non-existent extended families.

 Sadly, terrorists are selling the lost and searching a flim-flam job. The naïve are being lured with a message of death cleverly disguised as life and sacrifice. Their spiritual longings will be wasted. They will face an eternity of judgment for their foolish gullibility.

 Christians have the real deal to offer the world, but we have packaged it all wrong. The fear of coming off as judgmental has overruled truth and we have failed to present a complete picture of saving faith. We have done so to our everlasting shame and to the peril of millions who are longing for a narrow path and a cause worth living and dying for.

 We have a cause that is worth living and dying for: Jesus. Jesus calls his people to a narrow path of holiness, righteousness and sacrificial love (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus calls His people to create caring communities where we admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and are patient with everyone (1st Thessalonians 5:14). Jesus calls His people to the greatest cause of all: life and sacrifice for Him.