Thursday, July 23, 2009

Radical Islam threatening Religious Liberties

I am not pleased today. In fact I am so upset that I have decided to break the trend of thought in my blog to discuss and give outlet to an issue that has been troubling me for months.

Whereas I have no problem with a growing Islam, I am very concerned at how Islam has been destroying freedoms and rights everywhere. In every nation where this religion grows and extends its tentacles, the rights and freedoms of people are being restricted. In Europe, Dutch freedom of press has been threatened and criticisms of Islam are labelled as hate speech.

In Israel, Muslims can live in any community, but yet when Jews seek to live in Muslim territory there is global out cry. Consider Jacoby's excellent observation:

LATE LAST WEEK, the Obama administration demanded that the Israeli government pull the plug on a planned housing development near the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. The project, a 20-unit apartment complex, is indisputably legal. The property to be developed - a defunct hotel - was purchased in 1985, and the developer has obtained all the necessary municipal permits.

Why, then, does the administration want the development killed? Because Sheikh Jarrah is in a largely Arab section of Jerusalem, and the developers of the planned apartments are Jews. Think about that for a moment. Six months after Barack Obama became the first black man to move into the previously all-white residential facility at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, he is fighting to prevent integration in Jerusalem.

It is impossible to imagine the opposite scenario: The administration would never demand that Israel prevent Arabs from moving into a Jewish neighborhood. And the Obama Justice Department would unleash seven kinds of hell on anyone who tried to impose racial, ethnic, or religious redlining in an American city. In the 21st century, segregation is unthinkable - except, it seems, when it comes to housing Jews in Jerusalem.

I am a man that believes in religious freedom and liberty. No one should be discriminated against because of their religion. Even though I disagree with Islamic views, if they were to move into my neighbourhood, I would not protest and want them to be removed.

However, what is even more hurtful to me is that the bastion of intellectual freedom and the fighters of censorship, the American Library Association, has bowed to Islamic censorship. Just look at the press release of the Council of American Islamic Relations:

"Good News: Islam-Basher Will Not Speak At Library Association Conference
CAIR to work with the ALA to schedule a future event on the same topic as the canceled panel discussion" CAIR Press Office July 12, 2009.

See this link also:

In the name of religious freedom, this is a threat to all our other rights. Once free speech is endangered because of religion, then soon all other rights will come under attack. Muzzling free speech because of religion is just the beginning of woes.

I really do not understand why a religious sect is so given to rage and intolerance that they will not allow their faith to be questioned intellectually. Especially since my Muslim friends have told me that Islam is the most intellectual of the religions. Muslims need to prove that their religion is intellectual by allowing free speech and countering contending views with elaborate arguments.

Why is Modern Islam is behaving like the Catholic Church of the Dark Ages?

I have read other blog articles that reveal the great disappointment and shock that Islam has been able to bring down the ALA. See also:

Due to this hurt that I feel, I have decided to share a video link that shows how much Islam and Catholicism has in common. I do not fully agree with the video's views, however, I agree that both Islam and Catholic share a common origin with common religious symbols.

I must however mention that I respect good Catholics. However, like every religious body, there are good Catholics and there are bad Catholics. I have nothing against the Catholic church, but against the bad and evil Catholics that want to rule the Church and lead it back to age where it oppressed men's liberties in the name of religion. Currently, the good Catholics are upholding the Church in a place where I can esteem the religion as being not a current threat to my religious liberty and ability to disagree with its views.

With that said, if you have an hour to spare, see The Islamic Connection by Walter Veith:

Works Cited:

Jacoby, Jeff. "Jerusalem - one city, undivided" Boston Globe 22 July 2009. 23 July 2009.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The things that make G-d hear prayer Part 1

This morning, I awoke and went to study from the book of Amos.
After reading through the punishments being issued to Israel, I went across Exodus 22. Eventually I turned on the computer and read from Shabbat Shalom weekly.

From all these readings, G-d spoke to my heaart and soul, emotions that I want to share, especially with my Jewish friends, who I love very much.

I was made to understand that "July 29th, Wednesday evening through Thursday night, is Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the Jewish month of Av" (Packouz par. 4). This is a fast day and a day for Jews to mourn all that have befell them as people throughout history.

While moruning on this day, Packouz indicate that this is the time for the people of Jewish identity not only to lament the things that has befallen their people, but also to repent of wrong. Pacouz states:

Like all fast days, the object is introspection, making a spiritual accounting and correcting our ways - what in Hebrew is called, Teshuva, returning, to the path of good and righteousness - to the ways of the Torah.

I therefore propose that for this mourning season that my Jewish friends consider the accusations against them. Specifically, the accusation of the unlawful and unjust death of Jesus at the hands of some of their leaders.

The specific sect of Jews that delivered Jesus unto to the Romans for death violated several commandments of G-d. For this, I believe that the Jews have suffered as a people, and will continue to suffer until they recognise and acknowledge that Jesus is whom he said he is as well as acknowledge the wrongs that their fathers (or some of their fathers) have done unto him. Until these sins are confessed, how then can G-d hear their prayers. As Isaiah 1:15 states:

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Denial of the unjust death of Jesus is almost like the denial of the Holocaust. Jesus' unlawful death has been prophesied in the scriptures long before Jesus died. The scriptures say in Psalm 22:16:

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

The dogs here referred to could be seen to symbolised the uncircumcised or persons outside of the Jewish or Israelite identity - the Romans. I infer this from Jesus statement to a woman of Canaan in Matthew 15:26

But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

This statement came after an exchange between the woman and Jesus, when Jesus told her that he was sent to help the lost people of Israel.

In Zechariah 12:10, it states:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Thus the Jews, or more specifically the inhabitants of Jerusalem, will one day morun for someone whom they recognise to have been pierced. One of their own.


Packouz, Kalman (2009, July 21 / 29 Tammuz 5769)"Devarim 5769." Shabbat Shalom Weekly Retrieved July 21, 2009 from

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Children Bible Story Books Part 2

I have always felt called into a publishing ministry. My spiritual vocation is to be a literature evangelist.

I am so glad that G-d has intersected this spiritual calling with my temporal calling. I am a Librarian and Information Specialist by training, and through this profession, I have learnt so much about publishing and the reading interests of people.

When I became a parent in 2008, a new world was open to me. Now I had to be responsible for my child's spiritual and cognitive development. Reading materials were crucial, but these materials would have to be accurate. I found all the available material both Christian and non-Christian inadequate. For non-Christian mateirals, references are made to fairies or witches. For Christian materials, pagan festivals or unscriptural practices or beliefs were present.

However, what has impressed me more than anything else is my experiences in a variety of Fellowships. None cater for my daughter's age range. The closest Fellowship that meet the needs of infants and toddlers is the Andrews Memorial Seventh-Day Adventist Church. So as much as I am more doctrinally diverse and liberal than the denomination, it is the one that has the best structured children programme for infants and toddlers. The details of its programme I will not go into.

However, the important issue here is their quarterly and the GraceLink Curriculum. The Beginner's quarterly for me is riddled with cultural issues of irrelevance to my child. Things that she does not see in her daily life experiences, as well as images that are not culturally relevant. Further, there are some issues of human viewpoints coming out. For instance, in the Beginner's 3rd Quarter for 2009, the celebration of birthdays is raised. Clearly the Bible has only one two indication of the celebration of birthdays - Herod and Jesus. With the Jewish calendar, I am not even sure that it was flexible to celebrate birthdays (See my blog post: Reasoning on JESUS's birthday).

This experience is now inspiring me to contemplate the writing of Christian reading material for toddlers and infants that will communicate the stories of the Bible in a form that is culturally relevant, that when chidlren interact with animals on a daily basis, they can remember G-d's word.

Pray for this ministry and initiative.

Works Cited:
Beginner Bible Study Guide: Third Quarter Vol. 33 No. 3 ,2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Children Bible Story Books Part 1

Being a parent has made me even more appreciative of the reading needs of toddlers. However, I am most concerned about Christian toddlers (I am not sure about the Jewish situation). Many of the Bible story books that exist for toddlers contain the errors of modern day Christianity.

To make matters worse, the children Bible story books contain images that do not culturally represent my West Indian culture. In the West Indies, acceptance of Christianity has been made difficult by the historical legacy of slavery, colonisation and exploitation. This has lead to the development of Rastafarianism which repaints the Messiah as a black man. Also it has lead to the development Revival or Poco Church, where African retention and spiritualism is retained and intermixed with Christian elements. (In a future post, I will discuss the Rastafarianism and Revival Cults with the relevant citations. Today, I just want to focus on the Children Bible Story concept.)

I hate to see Bible story books that paint cultural images - like a white Jesus or the incorporation of Easter and Christmas concepts. We know that Jesus was a Semite and would look like a modern day Palestinian. Further, Easter and Christmas are originally pagan concepts not even spoken about in the Bible. They were not festivals given to Jews and were not commanded by Scripture. They came after, based on theological interpretation and acculturation.

Based on these issues, I feel spiritually desirous of creating my own Bible story books that will avoid these errors. Instead, I want children to see images of animals that are a part of the stories in the Bible. This is culturally neutral as all children from all cultures can relate to animals.

It is hoped that children through reading these stories can learn about the animals and the sounds they make, as well as learn Biblical facts for future analysis and interpretation.

Thus when a child is of age, they may ask questions for further information about the story behind the animal, and the adult can explain or lead them to the Bible passage.

Also, I believe that G-d used the same strategy. He first cause Adam to name the animals, before he introduced Eve to him. That way Adam had to relate to animals first, before he could relate to Eve.

That way Adam by seeing the animals in pairs learnt about his own social needs and need for companionship, and that animals could not fill the void. He learnt so much from watching the animals, that when Eve came, he was so excited and said "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh" -Translation - Alas, someone that I can relate to.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Faith and pleasing the Father

As I have received the opportunity to be a parent and father to a girl of seventeen months, each week, G-d instructs me through her. Last week and this week G-d impressed upon me how eager my daughter is to please me. She trusts me a lot and, when I encourage her to do new things, she is eager to do it, fighting against her own fears of failure and the unknown.

For instance, I remember when I took her to the park and allowed her to climb on the slide. When she was seated at the top, I went to the bottom of the slide and encouraged her to push off. She was fearful. Even though she saw other children sliding, she had fear. However, my daughter closed her eyes and pushed off after my encouragement and came sliding down to me. This was her first time, and she did enjoy it.

Thus I learnt more about the statement in Hebrews that state that without faith it is impossible to please G-d (Heb 11:6). My daughter could only do what I expect her to do if she trusted me. So it is with G-d. He knows exactly what our capacity is. He knows for what purpose he created us, what he has designed us to do and what we can bear. We fail to live up to his expectations because we doubt his word and what we can do despite what G-d tells us.

My daughter does new things because she trusts her daddy. She believes in my expectations for her. She believes that if Daddy says she can do it, then she can.

Oh that we would have such a trusting faith in our Heavenly Father. No wonder Jesus said "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3 King James Version).