Flocking to ‘Other Christianities:’ Like Seagulls to Trash Piles

http://www.christianpost.com/news/flocking-to-other-christianities-like-seagulls-to-trash-piles-118583/

By Eric Metaxas, Christian Post Contributor
April 25, 2014|8:26 am

In October 2012, I talked about a Smithsonian Channel documentary that examined a fourth-century papyrus fragment in which Jesus purportedly refers to His “wife.”

At the time, I noted that even if it weren’t a blatant forgery, there was ample reason to be skeptical about what the fragment purported to tell us.

Well, now the fragment is back in the news, and not only is skepticism about the fragment itself still warranted, but we should also ask ourselves what lies behind the continuing interest in the fragment and similar documents.

When the discovery of the document was announced, scholars pointed to “grammatical errors,” its “resemblance to other gospels” and even “inconsistencies with traditional Egyptian Coptic script” which called the fragment’s authenticity into question.

Earlier this month, the Harvard Theological Review published a series of articles claiming that the fragment wasn’t a forgery, and instead, “probably dated from between the sixth and ninth centuries and might be even older,” the mostly likely date being around 859 A.D.

Mind you, that’s at least four centuries after what the historian Karen King first claimed. Which also puts it four to five centuries after the various ecumenical councils that defined Christian orthodoxy.

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Yet, King insists that “we can turn away from the question of forgery and talk much, much more about the historical significance of the fragment and precisely how it fit into the history of Christianity and questions about family and marriage and sexuality and Jesus.”

Leo Depuydt of Brown University disagrees. In a companion piece to Brown’s in the Review, he wrote that there is “not the slightest doubt (those are his words) that the document is a forgery, and not a very good one at that.” He reiterates early objections to the fragment and insists that none of them has been satisfactorily addressed.

To him, the text is “surreal,” and he wonders how “something so patently fake could be so blown out of proportion.”

Well, with respect to professor Depuydt, the answer is easy: The fragment is what people like King and Hal Taussig, who worked on the fragment with her, want to find-they need it to be real. Even if analysis of the ink, which is still pending, were to show that the text was written with a Sharpie, the fragment would still have its defenders.

That’s because the fragment allows them to talk about “Christianities,” plural, and “questions about family and marriage and sexuality and Jesus.” Father James Martin, who is known to many Americans from his appearances on the Colbert Report, told the Washington Post that “funnily enough, people who are quick to accept the veracity of this” are the same people who question the veracity of biblical accounts, including the resurrection.

The debate over this fragment or other extra-biblical texts isn’t really about what people in the third or fourth centuries believed-it’s about what people in the 21st century want to believe. Insisting that there were many “Christianities” prior to the Council of Nicea is a way of saying that there can be many “Christianities” today-with many beliefs about the core doctrines of the faith, from marriage to the sanctity of life, to the very resurrection of the Lord Himself.

That’s why scholars took to the “Jesus’s Wife” fragment and various so-called “gospels” like, well, seagulls to trash piles. That’s why Taussig can insist, as the Washington Post put it, that the fragment is “ostensibly as important as documents that make up the accepted New Testament.”

No matter when it was written or with what.

 

Dem Politician Appointed by Obama Defends Muslim Airline that Bans Israeli Jews

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/dem-politician-appointed-by-obama-defends-muslim-airline-that-bans-israeli-jews/

Anthony Foxx was the Democratic Mayor of Charlotte. Obama called him an “impressive leader” when he appointed him Secretary of Transportation and he certainly is leading when it comes to defending Muslim discrimination against Israeli Jews.

In late 2013, a formal complaint was filed with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) alleging illegal discrimination by Kuwait Airways (KA) on the basis of national origin, in violation of federal law proscribing such discrimination by air carriers. The complaint concerned the airline’s refusal to transport Israeli nationals on nonstop flights from New York to London.

The Secretary denied the complaint earlier this year, asserting that KA had not violated any U.S. anti-discrimination law because the airline is required to comply with Kuwaiti law, which prohibits Israeli passport holders from entering Kuwait. As the attorney now pursuing this matter correctly articulated, “In essence, the Secretary determined that Kuwait Airways did not violate U.S. law because that airline was required by Kuwaiti law to discriminate against Israeli nationals.” The Secretary’s rationale is particularly unfounded because the flight at issue goes from New York to London; the fact that Israeli passport holders cannot enter Kuwait is wholly irrelevant. Moreover, if any entity conducts business in the United States, it must comply with U.S. law.

Dissatisfied with the response, Eldad Gatt, who filed the initial complaint, commenced an action in U.S. federal court in March 2014, appealing the Secretary’s denial and requesting appropriate relief, arguing that “[t]he Secretary has officially endorsed Kuwait Airways’ policy of boycotting Israeli nationals, and has explicitly authorized Kuwait Airways to continue its blatantly discriminatory practices.”

Gatt’s petition was served to Foxx and Holder. The agency has tried to hide behind Kuwait’s passport laws, but if Kuwait wants to operate an airline serving non-Muslim countries and in transit between non-Muslim countries, it has to operate under US laws.

If Kuwait Airlines were to deny a ticket to a gay man because homosexuality is against the law in Kuwait, would Holder and Foxx and Obama be okay with that?

Yousuf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, told Al Rai that he wants to use a “gay detector test” to keep LGBT expatriates out of Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).

“We will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays,” he said in a translation provided by Gulf News.

What about denying tickets to unaccompanied women? How far will Obama, Foxx and Holder go in defending Islamic bigotry?

“If You’re Afraid, Let Your Wife Be Raped”

http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/dgreenfield/head-of-egyptian-islamic-party-if-youre-afraid-let-your-wife-be-raped/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=head-of-egyptian-islamic-party-if-youre-afraid-let-your-wife-be-raped

Sheikh Yasser Burhami is the Vice President of the Salafi Cell and the spiritual leader of the Islamist Nour Party which has become a political force in Egypt.

When last we encountered the good Sheikh, he was saying that Christians have no right to hold office in Egypt.

“We will not permit an infidel [kafir] to be appointed to a post where he assumes authority over Muslims. This is forbidden. Allah said: “Never will Allah grant to infidels a way [to triumph] over the believers [Koran 4:141].”

Furthermore, he says that “Muslims must not let Christians take part in their religious celebrations because they are polytheists.”

“The Christians [of Egypt] can be dealt with like the Jews of Al-Medina. This is possible.”

Now he has more tips for devout Muslims on when to allow one’s wife to be raped and when to kill her.

Burhami published his fatwas on the website Anasalafy.com, which is associated with his Salafist Call movement, the spiritual arm of the political al-Nour Party. He added that allowing one’s wife to be raped is like getting mugged for money.

“In this case he is forced [to surrender her] and not obliged [to defend her],” he said.

The other bizarre fatwa – that said a Muslim man could on religious grounds kill his wife if he caught her in the act of sexual intercourse with another man -also subjected Burhami to another wave of criticism.

So Muslim men can’t protect their wives from being raped… but can murder them. True courage.

Many took to social media to contest both of Burhami’s statements.

“If am married to Burhami, it’s haram to save him whether I live or die,” said one Twitter user, in reference to his fatwa on rape.

“May God avenge you, #Burhami you and those like you,” said another.

“They say the only animal who does not protect his females … is Yasser Burhami,” another Twitter user said.

That seems unfair to animals.

About Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.

The Environmental Apocalypse

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-environmental-apocalypse.html

Early in the morning, while most are still sleeping, groups of elderly Chinese women spread out across city streets. They tear open trash bags, pick through the litter and sort out bottles and cans that come with a deposit. And then they bring them to the local supermarket to a machine that scans and evaluates each can, accepting and rejecting them one by one, and finally printing out a receipt.
The interaction between the elderly immigrant who speaks broken English or the homeless man who is barely holding it together… and the machine is a stark contrast between what the new smart clean green economy pretends to be and what it actually is.

The machine, like so much else that we design, is impressive, but its existence depends on someone digging through the trash with their hands for much less than minimum wage to extract a generally useless item.

The entire bottle economy, which has more than a passing resemblance to the trash sorting operations in the Third World carried out by despised and persecuted minorities, like the Zabbaleen in Egypt, is artificial. The United States is not so poor that it actually needs to recycle. It recycles not under the impulse of economic imperatives, but of government mandates.

The elderly Chinese women dig through the trash because politicians decided to impose a tax on us and an incentive for them in the form of a deposit. All those useless 1980s laws created a strange underground economy of marginalized people digging through the trash.

Every time politicians celebrate a recycling target met and show off some shiny new machine, hiding behind the curtain are the dirty weary people dragging through the streets at the crack of dawn, donning rubber gloves and tearing apart trash bags. They are the unglamorous low-tech reality of environmentalism.

These are the Green Jobs that aren’t much talked about. They pay below minimum wage and have no workplace safety regulations. They are the Third World reality behind the First World ecology tripe. It’s not that the people who plan and run the system don’t know about them. But they don’t like to talk about them because they come too close to revealing the unsavory truth about where environmentalism is really going.

Environmentalism, like every liberal notion, is sold to the masses as modern and progressive. It’s the exact opposite. It’s every bit as modern and progressive as those sacks of cans being hauled by hand through the streets to the machine.

Prince Charles, that avid idiot and environmentalist, visited a Mumbai slum a few years ago and said that it had some lessons to teach the West.

“When you enter what looks from the outside like an immense mound of plastic and rubbish, you immediately come upon an intricate network of streets with miniature shops, houses and workshops, each one made out of any material that comes to hand,” Prince Charles wrote in his book, Harmony.

The Prince of Wales is quite the author. In addition to Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, he has written Shelter: Human Habitats from Around the World, The Prince’s Speech: On the Future of Food and The Illustrated Guide to Chickens: How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them.

One might be forgiven for assuming that the royal brain twitching behind those watery eyes is preparing for some sort of apocalypse. And it is. The apocalypse is environmentalism. Or from the point of view of the environmentalists, who spare some time from their public appearances and their mansions to pen tomes on the future of food and how to choose chickens, the apocalypse is prosperity.

People of that sort think that instead of getting the slum dwellers of Mumbai into apartments, we ought to be figuring out how to build shelters out of random garbage. Think of it as the recycling can solution as applied to your entire life.

“The people of Dharavi manage to separate all their waste at home and it gets recycled without any official collection facilities at all,” a marveling Charles, who probably never took out the trash once in his life, wrote. It’s easy to get people to recycle without any mandates or collection facilities at all. All it takes is grinding poverty so miserable that you either make the most of every last thing you can get your hands on or you die.

That is the sort of lifestyle that environmentalists think of as sustainable. Or as Hobbes put it, “In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth… no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society.” That is the natural state to which environmentalists would return us to.
More recently another deep thinker, Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son, took to the editorial pages of the New York Times to denounce Third World philanthropy.

“Microlending and financial literacy — what is this really about?” Buffett asks. “People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?”

To the slum dwellers, the beast isn’t capitalism, it’s that gnawing feeling in your stomach when you haven’t eaten for a day. But Peter Buffett, who lives a life almost as privileged as Prince Charles, bemoans the idea of getting people to the point where they aren’t worried about where their next meal is coming from because it just turns them into capitalists and consumers. And before you know it, they’re buying big screen televisions and writing op-eds in the New York Times on the futility of philanthropy.

“There are people working hard at showing examples of other ways to live in a functioning society that truly creates greater prosperity for all (and I don’t mean more people getting to have more stuff),” Peter Buffett wrote, probably unaware that he was sniffing down the same trail that a thousand communes had gone. But the experimental farm is old hat. The new model is the Third World.

Instead of helping the Third World live like us, the perverse children of the rich dream of making us live like the Third World.

Those working hard to make our society function like Charlie’s favorite slum aren’t moving to their own collective farms. Instead they are transforming our society into the collective farm while pretending that their calculated destruction of our prosperity is smart and modern.

The Soviet Union pretended that its plans for the country were a modern step forward. In reality, the Commissars took the farmers back to feudalism and then turned much of the country into peasants, coping with harvest labor problems by forcing urban populations to come and pick the crops. And those were the good times. In the bad times, highways and other large projects were built through mass slave labor no different than the way that ancient Egypt built the pyramids.

Communist modernism was a Potemkin village, a cheap tacky curtain and behind it, the sweating slave and the stench of Babylon. The modernism of the progressive is the same facade covered in sociology textbooks, New York Times op-eds and teleprompter speeches. Behind it lie the ruins of Detroit, tribal violence in the slums of every major city and an economy in which there is no more room for the middle class except as clerks in the government bureaucracy. And it doesn’t end there.

The elderly Chinese woman picking through the trash in search of empty beer bottles isn’t the past. She’s the future. Recycling is big business because the government and its affiliated liberal elites decided it should be. It’s just one example of an artificial economy and it’s small stuff compared to the coming carbon crackdown in which every human activity will be monetized and taxed somewhere down the road according to its carbon footprint.

The ultimate dream of the sort of people who can’t sleep at night because they worry that children in India might be able to grow up making more than two dollars a day, is to take away our prosperity for our own good through the total regulation of every area of our lives under the pretext of an imminent environmental crisis.

The Global Warming hysteria is about absolute power over every man, woman and child on earth.

“I strongly believe that the West has much to learn from societies and places which, while sometimes poorer in material terms are infinitely richer in the ways in which they live and organize themselves as communities,” Prince Charles said.

It goes without saying that the Prince of Wales is not about to take personal advantage of these infinite spiritual riches of living in a house made of garbage, drinking contaminated water and dying before thirty. What he is saying is that while he personally is a little too attached to his lifestyle, he thinks that we as a society would be better off giving up on the materialism of living on more than two dollars a day and embracing the infinite social and spiritual riches that rich people imagine are accessible only to impoverished Third Worlders.

Environmentalism is wealth redistribution on a global scale. The goal isn’t even to lift all boats, but to stop the tide of materialism from making too many people too comfortable.

The liberal billionaire who clamors about sustainability likes progress. What he dislikes is the middle class with its mass produced cars and homes, cheap restaurants full of fatty foods and television sets and daily deliveries of cardboard boxes full of stuff and shopping malls. He thinks, in all sincerity, that they would be happier and more spiritually fulfilled as peasants. It’s not an original idea.

The Industrial Revolution had hardly begun revolving when the ‘Back to Nature’ crowd began insisting that it was time to learn a more harmonious way of life by going back to the farm. Centuries later the only new idea that they have come up with is threatening an environmental apocalypse if the middle class doesn’t change its mass producing ways. Even its adoration of the Noble Savage is older than the American Revolution.

The modern environmentalism jettisons the idea of moving to a dilapidated farmhouse to spend time being bored while trying to make artisanal rocking chairs to sell to someone, It’s done its time searching for the noble savage within through drugs and degradation decades ago. Now it’s our turn to tap into the infinity of spiritual riches that comes from just barely getting by.
The sustainable logic of the slum that makes us better people by making us more miserable.

The Soviet idea of progress was feudalism dressed up in Socialist red. Environmentalism dresses up feudalism in Green. It seeks to reverse all the progress that we have made in the name of progress. Environmentalism is as sophisticated as a Soviet collective farm, as modern as the homeless people dragging bags of cans along on sticks to feed the machine and as smart as a slum made of trash.

Beneath all the empty chatter about social riches and sustainability is that need to impose progressive misery.

Beneath the glossy surface of environmentalism is a vision of the American middle class learning to dig through bags of garbage, the detritus of their consumerism for which they must be punished, to become better people.

Al-Qaida militants killed in second Yemen airstrike in two days

Airstrikes in southern Yemen killed about 25 suspected al-Qaida members on Sunday, local tribal sources said, in the second operation of its kind within two days.

On Saturday an air strike killed 10 al-Qaida militants and three civilians in central Yemen.

The defence ministry said Sunday’s strikes targeted a remote mountainous region of the south. Its website quoted an official source on the high security committee as saying that they were based on information that “terrorist elements were planning to target vital civilian and military installations”.

Similar wording was used to justify Saturday’s strike, in which three nearby civilians were also killed.

The defence ministry did not specify the nature of the strikes, but in both cases local sources said unmanned drone aircraft had been circulating the target areas beforehand.

The US acknowledges using drone strikes to target AQAP in Yemen, but it does not comment on the practice.

Local tribal sources said about 25 bodies had been transferred from the sites of Sunday’s attacks to nearby towns. They said at least three separate strikes had taken place after dawn prayers, all targeting al-Qaida camps.

One official said the militants targeted were among the “leading and dangerous” elements of al-Qaida and were of different nationalities. Eyewitnesses said they had seen al-Qaida militants dragging dead bodies and some wounded people out of the area.

An online video has been circulating with AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhaishi addressing a large gathering of fighters in an undisclosed mountainous region of Yemen and vowing to attack the US.

Yemen has been fighting AQAP but the group, which has attacked military targets, tourists and diplomats in the country and taken over territory for long periods, is proving hard to beat so far

http://nationalyemen.com/2014/04/20/al-qaida-militants-killed-in-second-yemen-airstrike-in-two-days/

Obama brother partners with polygamist cult

http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/obama-brother-wants-jewish-3rd-temple-built/

NEW YORK – In his partnership with the self-styled prophet of a polygamist cult in Texas, a half-brother of President Obama has expressed his support for the cult’s proposal to build the Third Temple in Jerusalem in fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

As WND reported Wednesday, Malik Obama’s nonprofit, Barack H. Obama Foundation, has a partnership with the House of Yahweh, a cult headed by Yisrayl Hawkins. Malik plans to be in Abilene, Texas, Friday to attend a conference hosted by Hawkins.

Malik Obama, a professing Muslim, embraced Yisrayl Hawkins’ proposal to build the Third Temple next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, or Dome of the Rock, in a Nov. 16, 2010, address to the First Annual Global Council of Peace in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the House of Yahweh.

The Dome of the Rock, on what Jews identify as the Temple Mount, is one of the holiest and most revered Islamic sites in the world.

The Temple Mount is the site of the First and Second Temples.

“I’m at that stage now where I’m trying to do something and make a contribution to mankind,” Malik Obama said, referring to Yisrayl Hawkins’ Third Temple proposal. “I feel a lot better with myself today, and I welcome and embrace the principles and the concept I am hearing today.”

In the speech, Malik addressed the apparent contradiction between his Muslim faith and the goal of rebuilding the Third Temple adjacent to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.

“It’s easy for me to get with the program because I’m a Muslim, you know, a practicing Muslim, and all the principles that are within the program [of building the Third Temple] are within my beliefs,” Malik said. “So, it’s easy for me to step right in and be part of the program.”

Arabic-speaking Islam researcher Walid Shoebat has noted on his blog that Malik Obama’s advocacy for building the Third Temple is “blasphemous to his own religion.”

Shoebat also points out that Hawkins meets the standard definition of “false prophet” in Islam.

Rebuilt ‘in our time

Hawkins’ plan for the Third Temple was reported in a April 10, 1997, article published by the Boston Jewish Times. The article quoted Hawkins as saying the group was inspired to build the Third Temple by what Hawkins believes is a biblical prophecy by the Prophet Ezekiel, whom the group calls “Yechetzqyah,” that the Third Temple will be rebuilt “in our time.”

In an undated newsletter titled “A Peaceful Solution to Building the Next Temple Yerusalem” published on the House of Yahweh website, Hawkins explained goals for the Third Temple.

“In my many years of study – of which you will only see a part in this article – we have discovered that the Prophet Yechetzqyah wrote about a temple and a time period – for the day in which we now live!

“Even though Yechetzqyah was inspired to write this prophecy over 600 ears before the Temple was destroyed in 70 c.e. [“Common Era”] – He (sic) was inspired to write for us who live in these days; these troublous days; these same troublous times that the other inspired also proclaimed.

“In these same prophecies we are also shown a peaceful solution to building the Temple; the Temple of Yahweh!”

In the publication, Hawkins further claimed that the building of the Third Temple – according to precise specifications of location, design and measurement he claims to have discerned from his reading of Ezekiel in the Bible – are essential to bringing peace to Jerusalem and to the world.

A composite image produced by the House of Yahweh to illustrate Hawkins’ proposed Third Temple make clear the cult intends to construct the edifice on the Temple Mount adjacent to the Dome of the Rock, so as to dominate the Dome of the Rock by its close location and larger size.
Composite image of House of Yahweh’s planned Third Temple, adjacent to the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The House of Yahweh claims Hawkins has been traveling to Israel since the 1980s to advance with various Jewish leaders the House of Yahweh plans to build the proposed Third Temple.

A House of Yahweh press release dated Feb. 21 reacts to a story published in the Times of Israel Jan. 3, 2013, in which Jordan’s Islamic Endowments Minister Abdul Salam Abadi accused Israel of planning to partition the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and the surrounding Temple Mount plaza to erect the Third Temple.

“I’ve been to Jerusalem. My team and I have measured the area, and we’ve lined everything up with prophecy correctly,” Hawkins said in the press release.

“Our work has been studied and found valid by many biblical scholars. Rebuilding the third Temple next to the Dome of the Rock is the right solution, add a dividing wall between the two and you’ve got what the Bible says will work,” he said.

“To remove the Dome of the Rock would cause all out war. It’s unnecessary, and it’s not the peaceful solution.”

WND was unable to find any credible Jewish religious or political leader in Israel that endorses Hawkins’ proposal to construct his version of the Third Temple.

Malik supports Hamas

In an apparent contradiction of his goal to build the Third Temple according to the plans of Yisrayl Hawkins and the House of Yahweh, Malik Obama has embraced Hamas, the radical Palestinian terrorist organization which has a state aim of eliminating Israel.

WND reported in January Malik Obama posted on the Barack H. Obama Foundation website a photograph showing him at a conference in Yemen in 2010 wearing a Hamas scarf that bore the well-known Palestinian slogan “Jerusalem is ours – We are coming!”

On the Hamas logo is a map with the phrase “From the river to the sea,” a reference to the elimination of Israel which lies between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.
Malik Obama, second from right, expressing support for Hamas at 2010 conference in Yemen

WND reported that Malik Obama is the executive secretary of the Islamic Dawa Organization, IDO, and has operated bank accounts in the Middle East with known ties to al-Qaida that are being widely utilized to raise money for terrorist activities conducted by Hamas in Gaza.

Though small, the Al Shamal Islamic Bank enabled bin Laden to move money quickly from one country to another through its correspondent relationships with some of the world’s major banks, said University of California, Berkeley, professor Peter Dale Scott, writing for GlobalResearch.org in 2013.

The Al Shamal bank was identified as one of bin Laden’s principal financial entities during the trial last year of four al-Qaida operatives convicted in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Malik’s IDO is part of the Coalition of Islamic Organizations, CIO, that also includes the Islamic Society in Gaza, a Hamas front organization founded by Hamas terror leader Sheikh Yassin.

The U.S. Counterterrorism Center has characterized Hamas as a radical Islamic organization with roots in the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that calls for the creation of an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel and rejects all agreements made between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel.

Highly irregular

WND reported in 2011 that Lois Lerner, who directed the IRS tax-exempt division currently under congressional investigation for discriminating against tea-party and other conservative groups, signed the letter approving tax-exempt status for Malik’s foundation.

The foundation received the highly irregular IRS retroactive tax-exempt approval only after the group came under fire for operating as a 501(c)3 foundation since 2008 without ever having applied to the IRS for a tax determination.

In September 2011, the IRS confirmed to WND that the Barack H. Obama Foundation had received a determination letter in June 2011, awarding the group tax-exempt 501(c)3 status, retroactively to 2008.

On April 9, the House Ways and Means Committee voted along party lines to refer Lerner to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution. The next day, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to recommend to the House that Lerner should be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions.

WND reported last year that the vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt gave a speech and participated in an interview on Egyptian television identifying Malik Obama as “a major architect” managing investments for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

In September 2013, WND reported a criminal complaint cited Malik for managing funds for both the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Islamic Dawa Organization in Sudan, a country designated by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist state.

WND reported Egyptian lawyers filed criminal terrorism charges in the International Criminal Court against President Obama, in addition to the criminal terrorism charges previously filed in Egyptian courts against Malik.

Christian Publisher Plans Pro-’Gay’ Book, Employees ‘Under Threat’

Is the Christian world about to suffer through another World Vision moment?

The book’s author, Matthew Vines, is a homosexual activist and Bible revisionist known for manipulating Christian terminology to advance the counter-Christian homosexualist agenda.

Despite his frequent use of a Christian-like lexicon, Vines surprisingly admits to running an apostate enterprise that he calls The Reformation Project. An unabashed denier of Biblical teaching on sexual morality, Vines has publicly acknowledged that his goal is to “reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.” The book is scheduled to be published on April 22, 2014.

In an email sent to BarbWire, a source with unspecified ties to Multnomah wrote the following:

With a little help… I recently followed a few breadcrumbs – connected some dots – and the picture turned out to be pretty disturbing. I know for a fact that there are certain individuals (whistleblowers, if you will) who believe this information should become public, but there is immense pressure from within Multnomah Publishers to keep this under wraps, and not allow entities in the NRB Association/Evangelical orbit to learn about it.

Multnomah is a long-trusted name in the world of Christian publishing. It is now called WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. Over the years the company has published scores of Biblically orthodox works by authentic Christ-followers like Randy Alcorn, Kay Arthur and Dr. David Jeremiah. The company has also published manuscripts by Mother Teresa.

Continued the email:

A little over a year ago, WaterBrook [Multnomah] announced the formation of a new imprint, called Convergent. From this article [in Publishers Weekly] you can see where it’s going: “Stated [WaterBrook Multnomah president Stephen W. Cobb], ‘The audience for Convergent Books represents a growing movement of consumers. These readers typically don’t see themselves as either liberal or conservative, evangelical or mainline. Yet they frame their spiritual journey in Christian terms, and they’re absolutely passionate about what theologian Brian McLaren has called, “the sacred endeavor of loving God and neighbor, stranger, alien, outsider, outcast and enemy.”

Publishers Weekly further explained the connection:

The imprint will be based in Colorado Springs, Colo., and headed by Stephen W. Cobb, who has been president and publisher of the WaterBrook imprint since 2001. With the acquisition of Multnomah Books in 2006, a Multnomah imprint was added to Cobb’s portfolio. …

The email to BarbWire provides more context:

An “imprint” in the publishing world is like a mask – the name and logo of the entity may be unique, but the same staff, editors, executives, promoters, are behind the book as are behind those put out by other “imprints” (i.e., directly from Multnomah, and wearing that brand/mask). So Multnomah is now consciously trying to hide from NRB [National Religious Broadcasters] and its members the fact that it is putting out this new project. Insiders are reporting threats should they release any such information outside the company, but I believe Multnomah authors have a right to see the full picture of the company with whom they’re partnering. (Though we should try and protect those who are under threat.)

It is reasonable to speculate that Multnomah is trying to cover up its fast-growing connection to sexual sin activism, and furtively avoid the kind of widespread scandal and Christian backlash that took place after World Vision abandoned clear Biblical teaching on sexual immorality. World Vision had recently embraced the sodomy-centered and counter-Biblical notion of so-called “same-sex marriage,” only to quickly reverse course and publicly ask the global Christian community for forgiveness.

Multnomah appears poised to make the same mistake.

Swedish city introduces payment by hand scanning

An international traveler scans in their hand on a US Customs and Border Protection fingerprint scanner at Dulles Airport on February 20, 2013
Hand scanning has become an alternative payment method for people in a city in southern Sweden, researchers at Lund University said Monday.

Vein scanning terminals have been installed in 15 shops and restaurants in Lund thanks to an engineering student who came up with the idea two years ago while waiting in line to pay.

Some 1,600 people have signed up already for the system, which its creator says is not only faster but also safer than traditional payment methods.

“Every individual’s vein pattern is completely unique, so there really is no way of committing fraud with this system,” researcher Fredrik Leifland said in a statement.

“You always need your hand scanned for a payment to go through.”

While vein scanning technology existed previously, it has not been used as a form of payment before.

“We had to connect all the players ourselves, which was quite complex: the vein scanning terminals, the banks, the stores and the customers,” Leifland added.

The creators have plans to further expand the business and other companies around the world are already starting to implement the new payment method.

To sign up users have to visit a shop or restaurant with a terminal, where they scan their palm three times and enter their social security and telephone numbers.

A text message is then sent to their mobile phone with an activation link to a website, with payments taken directly from customers bank accounts twice a month.

© 2014 AFP

“Swedish city introduces payment by hand scanning.” April 14th, 2014. http://phys.org/news/2014-04-swedish-city-payment-scanning.html

3 ways to be a better Christian hypocrite

A few days ago, a friend texted me. Apparently a Christian band had been publicly ripping on him and he needed some advice.

Now at the bare minimum, that’s not the best use of time for a Christian band, what with all the spreading the joy of Christ they’ve got on their plate.

But the time management problem wasn’t the biggest issue. For me, the real challenge was the band’s twitter profile. You’d think, that given their penchant for not liking people, they’d at least have a twitter bio that reflected that. Alas, that wasn’t the case at all, as each line spoke to their hope to love people and share grace with them. Bigger than even that though, was that the band reminded me of me and my ability to be a hypocrite online. What they had actually said about my friend didn’t really seem that harmful. (I’ve said far worse.) But I think the whole thing stirred up something I’ve been wrestling with in my own life during the six years of this blog, online hypocrisy.

That might surprise you a little bit, that the way a Christian acts online doesn’t line up with how they describe themselves online, but it shouldn’t.

We now have one of the greatest opportunities to be hypocrites in the history of mankind. Think about the scale of our hypocrisy these days. Thirty years ago, your dad interacted with maybe 200 people in a given month. He knew people at work, in his family, his town and in his church. If he wanted to be a jerk to large groups of complete strangers, it was pretty difficult. I guess he could have printed up a newsletter or called a radio show but even then, that would take a lot of effort.

Now though, in the time you and I occupy, it’s so much easier.

We can proclaim Christ with our (digital) lips and then deny him with our (digital) lifestyle faster than any other previous generation and to more people than our parents would have ever dreamed! (Head nod to Brennan Manning and DC Talk’s What if I stumble.)

If this concerns you at all, it should. The damage we Christians can do with the Internet is unbelievable.

I’d love to think this blog post will radically change the world, but I am making my own images these days and they are just horrible. (A sunset has nothing to do with this post. Just ridiculous.)

Not everyone who reads this will give up their hypocritical ways.

So, if you want to be a hypocrite online, at least do these three things:
1. Strip your Christianity from your profiles.
My friend had an Ichthus magnet on his car. Eventually, he felt bad about his driving habits, as he was prone to speeding and cutting people off. So he took the Jesus fish off his car because it was a bad witness. Could he have instead, driven better? Might that have been the better long-term solution? Definitely. But maybe you’re not ready for that. Just promise me you’ll fire Jesus from your twitter bio and facebook page. Get rid of the following words: “Love, Jesus, God, faith, grace, brokenness, forgiveness, etc.”

2. At least admit you don’t know the person.
A Christian recently emailed me to tell me he was unfollowing me on Facebook because he no longer liked me. His short, rude message caught me off guard, which finally prompted me to respond and ask, “Have we met before? It seems like you really don’t like me and most times if someone is mad at me I’ve done something stupid to them. As a Christian, it’s on me to apologize if I did something that personally attacked you as an individual.” Just so we’re clear, it was certainly possible that I had met him and was a jerk. I am an idiot, often. (It will not be difficult for you to find some way that I have been a hypocrite.) But as it turned out, I hadn’t, which he confirmed when he responded and continued to tell me how lame I am. We hadn’t met. We hadn’t talked on the phone. We hadn’t texted. We hadn’t skyped. But the dirty thrill of the Internet is that it gives you the opportunity to be mean to people you’ve never met. Why? Well, Jimmy Kimmel summed it up nicely. “In person people are nice, because you can punch them in person. Online they’re not nice because you can’t.” If you’re going to write something mean about someone online, at least preface it with, “I have never met this person, talked with them or had any personal engagement with them despite the personal attack I am about to launch.”

3. Just be consistent.
In the first year of writing Stuff Christians Like, I didn’t really understand the difference between mockery and satire. Here’s what I’ve come to 6 years later. The goal of satire is to share humor with a purpose, the goal of mockery is to cause a wound. Mockery always has a victim and sometimes not a point other than pain. Granted, mockery is a fast way to get a laugh. Read some of the old posts on this site, I was definitely writing more from a place of mockery. But what I learned was that mockery is a great shortcut to a laugh now, but it removes your ability to speak in love later. And the love later mattered more to me. (Also, God is pretty clear about his feelings about mockery in the book of Proverbs.) That’s why I try to write about issues, not individuals. When I write about issues, folks show up and have a rich discussion from a lot of different angles. When I write about individuals, sharks show up at the smell of blood in the water. Are you going to make mistakes at this? Sure. But know this, you’ve got a choice. You can attack people or you can love people. Just be consistent.

I hope these tips help if you decide to go deeper into the wondrous world of hypocrisy. Or you can do the opposite and just be kind online. Hopefully, you’ve never even bumped into someone mean online. I know people like that.

I’ll have conversations with friends that go like this:

Me: This guy said something really horrible to me online.
Friend: Just do what I do, ignore it!
Me: You’ve had some haters at some point? On Twitter?
Friend: No, I have about 800 followers and most of them know me personally.
Me: Oh, you have a job that people publically criticize you for? Like being an author, musician, blogger, pastor, etc.?
Friend: No, I’m an accountant.
Me: So then, you’re kind of telling me to do what you do when responding to haters except you don’t have any and haven’t had to ignore a bully since 8th grade?
Friend: Uh, yeah.

The majority of people who try to Frozen me and say, “let it go” with haters never really seem to have any. If you grew up in the desert you wouldn’t tell someone who grew up by the ocean to quit thinking about sharks.

The waters are full these days, I just wish less of them kept telling people they were Jesus fish.

http://stuffchristianslike.net/2014/04/14/3-ways-better-christian-hypocrite/

Middle East Geopolitical Alignments Shifting Towards Ezekiel 38 Scenario

Al Arabiya.net has recently described the current standoff between the West and Moscow concerning Ukraine as potentially the gravest instance of tension in the post-Cold War era. The tensions between Russia and the West seem to be causing some significant geopolitical re-alignments following Russia’s recent political aggressions in relation to Ukraine and Crimea.

Against the backdrop of this increasing tension between the West and Russia, Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Russia, France, China, Britain and Germany) started their diplomatic negotiations to make headway on the nuclear dispute, which would ideally be a lasting accord permanently resolving the decade-long nuclear standoff and averting the threat of another war in the Middle East.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh in an article for Al Arabiya.net, opines that should the Russian-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis continue, Moscow is more likely to play the “Iran card” by changing its stance on Iran’s nuclear talks, in a retaliatory high-stakes gamble to counter sanctions by the United States and the European Union.

The Russian position, and its demands on Iran’s nuclear program, is likely to become less firm. Generally, China has followed the Russian position in the nuclear negotiations. The Ukraine crisis and the Russia-West standoff might not interfere with reaching a final nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1, but the terms of the agreement are likely to be much less strict on Tehran as Russia and the Islamic Republic strengthen ties and feel less pressured to cooperate with or make concessions to the West.

Russia and China (who reluctantly supported the four rounds of U.N. sanctions against Iran and later condemned the unilateral sanctions), can now focus more on their own terms and agenda, including building nuclear reactors for Iran. In mid March, Iran’s state-run Press TV reportedly announced that Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rowhani agreed that Moscow would build two additional nuclear power plants for Tehran and construct new facilities next to Iran’s power plant in the city of Bushehr.

Dr. Rafizadeh points out several factors that contribute to these converging geopolitical security interests, pivoted around the emerging Russia/Iran axis:

1. Putin and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei resisting Western hegemony in the Middle East.

2. Russia and Iran are attempting to establish themselves as key and influential geopolitical and strategic players in the region.

3. Putin and Iranian leaders are attempting to restore their regionally and internationally wounded prestige and pride. From their perspective, the international community lacks respect towards Moscow and Tehran’s influence and power. Dr. Rafizadeh gives Syria as an example where the two nations are working together by ratcheting up the amount of political and economic capital they spend to secure Assad’s stay in power.

An additional factor highlighted in osnetdaily.com is that both Moscow and Tehran see the opportunity to cushion each other economically from the sanctions they face from the west. Part of the mutual benefits include a broad bilateral economic package that may be in place by August 2014. This political marriage seems to be much more about the Rouhani government seeking to consolidate Iran’s newfound nuclear status in the face of deep Western reservations than it is a reflection of an abiding commitment to Russia as a principal commercial and trading partner.

In addition, for China, its current interests are to strengthen strategic ties with Moscow and Tehran for security. The Ukraine crisis has moved Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing closer to one another to counterbalance the West and resist Western hegemony, providing a platform for them to create the strategic geopolitical axis in the region.

According to frontpage.com, in the South and East China seas, China is aggressively seeking to expand its maritime borders. It has made significant headway in both these areas with a muscular military approach designed to intimidate American regional allies like Japan and the Philippines. America’s feeble response to Putin’s aggression in Crimea will only serve to embolden a resurgent and aggressive China, making the likelihood of a regional war in that neglected theatre a real possibility. China will certainly feel better having powerful like minded partners in Russia and Iran, to counter U.S/NATO concerns and potential reprisals.

According to Americanthinker.com, if Russia does move into Iran’s camp (as it is now doing) then Israel has the perfect excuse to move ahead with a military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations and will likely have the support of the entire Western world (in addition to America’s Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia). Israel has already signaled its seriousness by setting aside US $2.89 billion to finance the attack.

Such a development may very well act as the trigger for Russia to lead an Israeli invasion, under the pretext of defending its allies, while actually targeting control of Israel’s enormous gas (and possibly oil) reserves. This could be the “hook in Russia’s jaws” spoken of in Ezekiel 38.

A weakened US/NATO alliance may not be able or willing to do much militarily, if the U.S led response on Ukraine is any indication. A weakened United States enables the perfect setting for the prophecies of Ezekiel 38, when God will miraculously defeat Israel’s enemies (Gog and her allies) and glorify His Name among the nations.

http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/April15/155.html

A 7-Step Guide for Rebooting Civilization After the Apocalypse

The world as we know it has ended. A particularly virulent strain of avian flu finally breached the species barrier and hopped successfully to human hosts. Or tensions between India and Pakistan reached the breaking point, culminating in the use of nuclear weapons. Or a rocky asteroid, only around a mile across, slammed into the Earth and fatally changed atmospheric conditions.

Now what?

As recently as the last century, people made the things they used every day. Yet in the span of just a couple generations, we have become a society of consumers rather than makers. Thanks to today’s modern conveniences, we have become disconnected from the basic skills and knowledge on which our lives and our world depend.

Here, then, are a few of the skills you’ll need to survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Survive the immediate aftermath

Aside from dodging raiding bandits, the single most important thing you can do to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world without antibiotics is to stop yourself picking up infections in the first place. Ensure your drinking water is not contaminated — boil it if necessary, or even disinfect using diluted bleach scavenged from any abandoned household. Soap is enormously effective at protecting against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, and can be made by treating animal fat or plant oil with quicklime (roasted chalk or limestone) and soda (see below).

Scavenge what you need

For a certain grace period you’ll be able to dine-out on the left-overs of our fallen civilization — stockpiles of canned food in the supermarkets — before you need to redevelop agriculture to stop yourself starving to death. You’ll need viable, preserved seeds, and the Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Svalbard will be well-worth a post-apocalyptic recovery expedition. This is a doomsday-proof facility dug deep into the arctic permafrost and represents an ideal agricultural SAVE file.

Reconstruct the calendar

The bane of our working lives today, the calendar is in fact critical to reliable agriculture and survival as it allows you to track your passage through the cycle of the seasons and so predict the best time for planting and harvesting.

In the northern hemisphere, summer solstice is the day the sun rises from its northern most point on the horizon (which you can in turn determine with a magnetized needle) — this falls around 21st June and so you can use this observation to peg the rest of the calendar. As your agriculture becomes increasingly efficient it’ll demand a lower and lower fraction of your population, freeing people to specialize in other skills and for your society to grow in complexity and capability.

Restart a chemical industry

Advancing civilization is not just about ensuring food surplus or exploiting windmills or steam engines to ease human labor, but also about providing vital substances. One of the most crucial classes of chemicals throughout history has been alkalis like potash (potassium carbonate) and soda (sodium carbonate), as these are needed in making glass, paper and soap. Potash can be simply extracted from the ashes of a wood fire by soaking water through them. Discard the insoluble minerals that settle on the bottom, and then recover the dissolved potash by evaporating away the water. Soda is made in the same way, from burning seaweed.

Tree-powered cars

Once all the remaining gasoline and diesel is gone you’ll struggle to drill for your own oil: the easily-accessible reserves have already been pumped dry. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to abandon automobiles and mechanization — astonishingly, the internal combustion engine can be run on flammable gases released by the thermal-breakdown of lumber. Wood gasifier cars were common during WWII, with a tall combustion chamber strapped on the back and a pipe delivering the flammable gases into the engine cylinders.

Reestablish contact with remote communities of other survivors

If there are no functioning radios left, you can create your own receiver with surprising simplicity from scavenged materials, as was demonstrated by POW ingenuity during WWII. The key component is the rectifier that strips the sound away from the carrier wave: the contact between a pencil and rusty razor blade functions for this. A crude transmitter can be built for Morse code broadcasts using a spark generator.

How to relearn all else

By far the most important thing to try and protect and preserve through the apocalypse is the technique you need to apply to relearn everything else for yourself, to rediscover how the world works and then exploit that knowledge for developing novel technology and improving your life. This tool is the scientific method. The core principle is that you can only reliably understand the world by observing it first-hand and by quizzing it with carefully constructed questions (“experiments”) to test which of your explanations works best.

Lewis Dartnell is a UK Space Agency research fellow at University of Leicester and author of The Knowledge: How to Rebuild the World from Scratch (The Penguin Press). Read more at the- http://the-knowledge.org/

The Zombie National ID

http://www.cato.org/blog/zombie-national-id-walking-around

Like some sort of zombie from a 1950s B-movie, the REAL ID Act shambles forward, awaiting the day when some national emergency can bring it back to life.

In the District of Columbia, the city government has announced that they will begin to issue REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses from May 1, 2014 onwards. The city’s “REAL ID Credential” page sings every note in the pro-national-ID song book. It says that REAL ID is “not a national identification card,” a claim debunked on this blog long ago. It also says that REAL ID will help “inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification.” That’s true, as far as it goes. But inconveniencing wrongdoers this way provides a tiny sliver of security compared to the costs in dollars and privacy, not to mention the inconvenience about to be visited on D.C. residents.

The D.C. government says that the change is being made “to ensure our residents will have access to federal facilities and the ability to board airplanes.” Never mind that the federal government has caved over and over again after threatening to disrupt air travel. D.C. plans to put all 540,000 or so licensed drivers into the national ID system over the next few years, including many federal policymakers.

In Louisiana, meanwhile, state legislators have advanced a bill to repeal the state’s 2008 ban on participation in the REAL ID program. The bill’s proponents also say that they must put Louisianans into the national ID system or they won’t be able to fly. Again, the federal government will never cut off Americans’ right to travel because they live in states that don’t comply with REAL ID. It’s been threatened over and over again, and the federal government always backs down.

But there may yet be a stake that goes through the heart of the national ID program. A bill to repeal REAL ID has been introduced in both the House and Senate. H.R. 4073, introduced by Rep. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, and S.2121, introduced by Daines’ rival in the current Montana Senate race, Sen. John Walsh (D), both would repeal the REAL ID Act.

It is refreshing to see some pushback against REAL ID during the current Congress. But is it enough to kill the zombie national ID?

Biometric Surveillance Means Someone Is Always Watching

http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/04/25/biometric-surveillance-means-someone-always-watching.html

Incrimination by selfie can happen.

From 2008 to 2010, as Edward Snowden has revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with the British Government Communications Headquarters to intercept the webcam footage of over 1.8 million Yahoo users.

The agencies were analyzing images they downloaded from webcams and scanning them for known terrorists who might be using the service to communicate, matching faces from the footage to suspects with the help of a new technology called face recognition.

The outcome was pure Kafka, with innocent people being caught in the surveillance dragnet. In fact, in attempting to find faces, the Pentagon’s Optic Nerve program recorded webcam sex by its unknowing targets—up to 11 percent of the material the program collected was “undesirable nudity” that employees were warned not to access, according to documents. And that’s just the beginning of what face recognition technology might mean for us in the digital era.

Over the past decade, face recognition has become a fast-growing commercial industry, moving from its governmental origins—programs like Optic Nerve—into everyday life. The technology is being pitched as an effective tool for securely confirming identities, with the financial backing of a new Washington lobbying firm, the Secure Identity & Biometrics Association (SIBA).

To some, face recognition sounds benign, even convenient. Walk up to the international checkpoint in a German airport, gaze up at a camera, and walk into the country without ever needing to pull out a passport—your image is on file, the camera knows who you are. Wander into a retail store and be greeted with personalized product suggestions—the store’s network has a record of what you bought last time. Facebook already uses face recognition to recommend which friends to tag in your photos.

But the technology has a dark side. The U.S. government is in the process of building the world’s largest cache of face recognition data, with the goal of identifying every person in the country. The creation of such a database would mean that anyone could be tracked wherever his or her face appears, whether it’s on a city street or in a mall. Today’s laws don’t protect Americans from having their webcams scanned for facial data.

Criticize ‘gays,’ get sued for ‘crime against humanity’

http://www.wnd.com/2014/04/criticize-gays-get-sued-for-crime-against-humanity/

What could be more boring to Americans than the latest news about a lawsuit brought by a group of political activists in Uganda? Especially since the case is currently in the mind-numbingly boring stage of endless interrogatories and depositions?

But this is no ordinary case.

The defendant, Pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries, says Americans need to be paying very close attention, because the outcome could well set a new precedent – that an international agenda based on anti-biblical standards could trump the U.S. Constitution’s freedom of speech and religion.

While the case’s current back-and-forth questions and answers will last another year, during which time an appellate court could intervene, Lively told WND the dispute is over whether a pastor can publicly criticize behavior that the Bible also criticizes.

U.S. District Judge Michael Posner has allowed to proceed a case brought against Lively by an African group called Sexual Minorities Uganda, or SMUG.

SMUG demands Lively be punished for criticizing homosexuality, calling his speech a “crime against humanity” in violation of “international law.” The plaintiffs allege the Alien Tort Statute in the United States allows them to make the charge in a U.S. court.

But Lively’s attorney, Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel, says his client’s preaching is protected by the Constitution.

“We believe SMUG’s claims are firmly foreclosed, not only by the First Amendment right to free speech, but also by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kiobel, which eliminated Alien Tort Statute claims for events that allegedly occurred in foreign nations,” he said.

Yet, Posner took nearly 80 pages to say that he thought SMUG’s allegations were substantive and needed to be adjudicated.

Appearing to side with the gay-rights plaintiffs, the judge writes that while SMUG is made up of groups “that advocate for the fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people,” Lively is an “American citizen residing in Springfield, Mass., who, according to the complaint, holds himself out to be an expert on what he terms the ‘gay movement.’”

Posner goes on to cite “many authorities” who “implicitly support the principle that widespread, systematic persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity constitutes a crime against humanity.”

Arguing that concluding Lively’s statements are protected under the First Amendment was “premature,” the judge further wrote: “Indeed, defendant, according to the amended complaint, is alleged to have maintained what amounts to a kind of ‘Homophobia Central” in Springfield. He has allegedly supported and actively participated in worldwide initiatives, with a substantial focus on Uganda, aimed at repressing free expression by LGBTI groups, destroying the organizations that support them, intimidating LGBTI individuals, and even criminalizing the very status of being lesbian or gay.”

Lively sought to have the complaint dismissed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, that the Alien Tort Statute doesn’t apply to foreign territory and that the law cannot be used to challenge foreign conduct in courts in the United States.

Mihet sums up the heart of the case against Lively as being the belief that First Amendment free speech protections should play second fiddle to an international consensus that criticism of homosexuality is criminal.

Mihet told WND he has argued all along that the lawsuit was precluded by the First Amendment, which puts the U.S. Constitution higher than international law.

The case against Lively claims that by speaking his opinion in opposition to homosexuality, he was conspiring to deprive the plaintiffs of their fundamental rights. Mihet explained that although SMUG would allow people to express an opinion against homosexuality, if expressing that opinion causes anyone else to take any action, a crime might be committed.

Under that precedent, he said, someone petitioning in opposition to special designations for homosexuals would become an international human rights criminal. Likewise, those who worked to support Proposition 8 in California, the proposed state constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, would be subject to prosecution, he said.

It also would target those who are working to defeat the ENDA plan in Congress, which creates certain special protections for homosexuals in the workplace.

“All of those become criminals overnight under this theory of liability,” Mihat said.

Bottom line, SMUG’s attack on Lively goes directly to the supremacy and portability of the U.S. Constitution, say Lively’s attorneys.

“SMUG asks this United States court to punish one of its citizens, Mr. Lively, for ‘crimes against humanity’ under an international treaty that the United States has expressly rejected,” a court filing opposing SMUG’s case explained.

“Moreover, what SMUG cavalierly and conclusorily labels as ‘crimes against humanity’ – the most heinous of crimes – is actually nothing more than civil, non-violent political discourse in the public square on a subject of great public concern, which occupies the highest rung of First Amendment protection,” the brief said.

The extreme legal action was prompted by Lively “sharing his biblical views on homosexuality during a 2009 visit to Uganda.”

While there may have been some actions in Uganda against homosexuals, Liberty Counsel said, “SMUG alleges no plausible connection between Mr. Lively and the actual perpetrators of those alleged violent acts, and, indeed, Mr. Lively’s name is not mentioned one single time within the many pages of the complaint that describe those six events.”

SMUG is represented by the George Soros-funded Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, which the New York Times described as left-leaning.

“[The Alien Tort Statute] is not a blanket delegation of lawmaking to the democratically unaccountable international community,” said Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel founder. “Like all American citizens, Rev. Lively enjoys a fundamental First Amendment right to engage in nonviolent political discourses anywhere in the world.”

In addition, Liberty Counsel contends the case against Lively has some glaring holes.

“SMUG also does not tell the court that David Kato – the murdered Ugandan activist whom SMUG makes the centerpiece of this lawsuit – was killed not by an enraged homophobe incited by Mr. Lively’s protected speech, but by a homosexual prostitute upset over a failed business transaction,” the organization said.

“Neither does SMUG tell the court that the confessed perpetrator of this horrible crime was tried and convicted in Ugandan courts, and is now serving a 30-year prison sentence.”

Finally, said Liberty Counsel SMUG “does not tell the court that, far from inciting violence, Mr. Lively has consistently condemned acts of violence and calls to violence in the strongest possible terms, and has praised the Ugandan courts for imparting justice.”