Saturday, March 10, 2007

Great Moments In The History Of Protestantism

Who said this:

... set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues.

Answer here.

Oh yeah, we the Protestant Church have a lot to be proud of, huh?

That Old Piece Of Cloth

From Frank Miller (the official contemporary writer of the Batman comic books, and of the new movie "300"), via This I Believe:

That Old Piece of Cloth

I was just a boy in the 1960s. My adolescence wasn't infused with the civil rights struggle or the sexual revolution or the Vietnam War, but with their aftermath.

My high school teachers were ex-hippies and Vietnam vets. People who protested the war and people who served as soldiers. I was taught more about John Lennon than I was about Thomas Jefferson.

Both of my parents were World War II veterans. FDR-era patriots. And I was exactly the age to rebel against them.

It all fit together rather neatly. I could never stomach the flower-child twaddle of the '60s crowd and I was ready to believe that our flag was just an old piece of cloth and that patriotism was just some quaint relic, best left behind us.

It was all about the ideas. I schooled myself in the writings of Madison and Franklin and Adams and Jefferson. I came to love those noble, indestructible ideas. They were ideas, to my young mind, of rebellion and independence, not of idolatry.

But not that piece of old cloth. To me, that stood for unthinking patriotism. It meant about as much to me as that insipid peace sign that was everywhere I looked: just another symbol of a generation's sentimentality, of its narcissistic worship of its own past glories.

Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated—reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn't some sentimental, old conceit. It's self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation's survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don't all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you've got to do what you can to help your country survive. That's if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

So I've gotten rather fond of that old piece of cloth. Now, when I look at it, I see something precious. I see something perishable.

The Ethics
Of Robotics

The future is coming at us so fast, it is palpable now. We must begin to make to make the ethical decisions for our future now.

Try wrapping your head around this. If you don't, a robot will, eventually:

If the idea of robot ethics sounds like something out of science fiction, think again, writes Dylan Evans.

Scientists are already beginning to think seriously about the new ethical problems posed by current developments in robotics.

This week, experts in South Korea said they were drawing up an ethical code to prevent humans abusing robots, and vice versa. And, a group of leading roboticists called the European Robotics Network (Euron) has even started lobbying governments for legislation.

At the top of their list of concerns is safety. Robots were once confined to specialist applications in industry and the military, where users received extensive training on their use, but they are increasingly being used by ordinary people.

Robot vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers are already in many homes, and robotic toys are increasingly popular with children.

As these robots become more intelligent, it will become harder to decide who is responsible if they injure someone. Is the designer to blame, or the user, or the robot itself?


Software robots - basically, just complicated computer programmes - already make important financial decisions. Whose fault is it if they make a bad investment?

Isaac Asimov was already thinking about these problems back in the 1940s, when he developed his famous "three laws of robotics".

He argued that intelligent robots should all be programmed to obey the following three laws:

1) A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm

2) A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law

3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

These three laws might seem like a good way to keep robots from harming people. But to a roboticist they pose more problems than they solve. In fact, programming a real robot to follow the three laws would itself be very difficult.

For a start, the robot would need to be able to tell humans apart from similar-looking things such as chimpanzees, statues and humanoid robots.

This may be easy for us humans, but it is a very hard problem for robots, as anyone working in machine vision will tell you.

Robot 'rights'

Similar problems arise with rule two, as the robot would have to be capable of telling an order apart from a casual request, which would involve more research in the field of natural language processing.

Asimov's three laws only address the problem of making robots safe, so even if we could find a way to program robots to follow them, other problems could arise if robots became sentient.

If robots can feel pain, should they be granted certain rights? If robots develop emotions, as some experts think they will, should they be allowed to marry humans? Should they be allowed to own property?

And the technology is progressing so fast that it is probably wise to start addressing the issues now.

One area of robotics that raises some difficult ethical questions, and which is already developing rapidly, is the field of emotional robotics.

This is the attempt to endow robots with the ability to recognise human expressions of emotion, and to engage in behaviour that humans readily perceive as emotional. Humanoid heads with expressive features have become alarmingly lifelike.

David Hanson, an American scientist who once worked for Disney, has developed a novel form of artificial skin that bunches and wrinkles just like human skin, and the robot heads he covers in this can smile, frown, and grimace in very human-like ways.

These robots are specifically designed to encourage human beings to form emotional attachments to them. From a commercial point of view, this is a perfectly legitimate way of increasing sales. But the ethics of robot-human interaction are more murky.

Jaron Lanier, an internet pioneer, has warned of the dangers such technology poses to our sense of our own humanity. If we see machines as increasingly human-like, will we come to see ourselves as more machine-like?

Lanier talks of the dangers of "widening the moral circle" too much.

If we grant rights to more and more entities besides ourselves, will we dilute our sense of our own specialness?

This kind of speculation may miss the point, however. More pressing moral questions are already being raised by the increasing use of robots in the military.

The US military plans to have a fifth of its combat units fully automated by the year 2020. Asimov's laws don't apply to machines which are designed to harm people. When an army can strike at an enemy with no risk to lives on its own side, it may be less scrupulous in using force.

If we are to provide intelligent answers to the moral and legal questions raised by the developments in robotics, lawyers and ethicists will have to work closely alongside the engineers and scientists developing the technology. And that, of course, will be a challenge in itself.

Yes, and of course, lawyers and ethicists have such a great track record on moral questions.

In the future, mankind will find himself up against the limits of his own humanity. It will be the first time, since we were still tilling the fields as our primary occupation- appealing to a pantheon of "gods" for our daily rain and our daily bread - when we will have been faced with the obliteration of our own humanity, on an almost daily basis.

It will be the first time in thousands of years when human history will be mediated by visceral concerns, rather than philosophical, governmental, and theological texts.

We will find ourselves alone, up against the reality of the limits of our humaness. We will find ourselves alone with the Force of the Universe.

I pray that we will make the correct moral decisions. I think that we have been given the directions necessary to make these decisions, but while we were made to stand upright, we have sought out many devices.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Law And Order

From Layla at the Hill Chronicles:

Damaging misinformation is being conveyed about Israel not just in news stories, but in popular culture items as well, such as Oprah and Vogue magazine, and now a popular NBC police drama. A "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" television episode that aired Tuesday, February 27, 2007, fosters negative stereotypes of Jews as disloyal Americans and Israelis as brutes who demolish Palestinian schools and kill innocent civilians. During this time of escalating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel animus, the show’s executives have shown extremely poor judgment to promote such an anti-Jewish, anti-Israel storyline.

True, it is only a fictional TV show, but because the "Law and Order" series (of which there are numerous variations) is advertised as having plots "ripped from the headlines," some viewers may not realize the program is pure fiction. TV executives obviously have the right to air an offensive episode presenting anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment. But rights are generally tempered by individuals acting responsibly and weighing the real-life consequences of their actions. It’s time for NBC to consider the impact of its dramatic characterizations that denigrate Jews and Israel.

[1] Israeli bulldozers destroy Palestinian schools.

[2] A Jewish police captain (Danny Ross) covers up for Israel at the urging of the pro-Israel pac (political action committee). The captain’s friend, the director of the pac, is portrayed as an agent of Israel and possibly involved in spy activities.

[3] Detective Logan challenges his superior, Ross: "… are you a Jew first and a cop second?"
The portrayals in [2] and [3] taken in context, are tantamount to claiming the loyalty of American Jews is first to Israel. This false dual-loyalty assertion has, of course, been a mainstay of historic anti-Jewish prejudice.

[4] The poisoning victim groups Israel, along with Hamas and Syria, as a suspect in his poisoning. The thesis posed here is absurd; if Israel were to poison journalists in order to prevent a harmful media report, it would be poisoning many journalists, since there are numerous well documented instances of anti-Israel bias in news media reports.

[5] The plot was inspired by the recent news story of the polonium poisoning murder of a former Russian KGB agent in London. However, unlike the show’s plot, that actual event had no connection whatsoever with the nation of Israel. The question might be asked of NBC execs: "What is the motive for using a prominent news event — having nothing to do with Jews or Israel — as the basis for a story that seriously disparages Jews and Israel?"

Isn't Hollywood supposed to be "controlled by the Jews"?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

More Land, Less Peace

From the American Thinker:

Caroline Glick, columnist for the Jerusalem Post, ?has written a serious paper exposing the risks inherent in Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's 'Convergence ' plan for the West Bank.??That plan calls for an Israeli withdrawal from most (90% or more) of the West Bank (all but the areas encompassed by the new security barrier), with some continued IDF presence in the Jordan Valley (at least in the short term).

Less clear is what Olmert plans to do in Jerusalem.

Glick argues in her paper published by the Center for Security Policy in Washington D.C., that the Gaza withdrawal has?been a security disaster for Israel, and for its ostensibly pro—American neighbors (Egypt and Jordan, in particular).?A terrorist final four of Al Qaeda, Hizbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are now all operating freely in Gaza, and more advanced weaponry is pouring across the Egyptian/Gaza border crossing in Rafah.? The same scenario would almost certainly play out after an Israeli withdrawal from most of the West Bank, putting major Israeli population centers and its international airport within range of enhanced Palestinian rocket capability.

Glick argues that this second Israeli disengagement, from an area almost 20 times the size of Gaza, would be viewed and broadcast by the jihadist forces as a huge victory over both Israel and the United States. It would also serve as a major recruiting tool for their efforts to destroy Israel, overthrow Arab governments in the Middle East,? drive the US from Iraq, and undermine Western nations in Europe, and other continents.

The Gaza withdrawal was carried out in August 2005 by Prime Minister Sharon when the Palestinian Authority was led by Mahmoud Abbas, the hoped for Palestinian moderate who was hailed as? the Israeli peace partner that Yassar Arafat never was. Abbas, while still around, is more of a figurehead today in the Hamas—run Palestinian Authority regime, who can be trotted out to Western nation donors as evidence that the PA is still functional, and deserves new money. Sharon is in an irreversible coma, with Ehud Olmert having replaced him, and now heading a coalition government largely dependent on other parties, (Kadimah won fewer than a quarter of the seats in the recent Knesset election).

Unlike the removal of 8,000 settlers from Gaza, Olmert's plan for a West Bank disengagement would require the destruction of dozens of settlements and the transfer of as many as 65,000 settlers to the area within the Israeli security barrier. The Israeli population had little stomach for the trauma of the Gaza withdrawal, which?it was forced to witness up—close, under what would have to be? considered more benign conditions in the conflict than exist today.? A forced withdrawal of a much larger Israeli population, and a large handover of territory to a Hamas run government, would seem to be a recipe for a major and unnecessary internal Israeli conflict at a time when external security threats to the state (e.g., the Iranian nuclear threat, and Hizbollah's military capability on the northern border) are growing.

While Israel won a small (and short) public relations victory from the Gaza withdrawal, an incomplete disengagement from the West Bank with continued IDF presence in some of the evacuated areas would not receive a similar international seal of approval.

Olmert will be coming to America in the next month, to try to sell his plan to the Bush administration, whose approval matters more than what Kofi Annan thinks of the plan, in any case.

And here is where it gets very tricky. It is difficult, if not impossible, for an American President to stand to the right of the Israeli Prime Minister and tell him not to withdraw from territories that most of the world (including our State Department) views as illegally occupied. American Presidents, prior to Bush, all gratefully acceded to any request for support from an Israeli prime minister (usually, though not always, from the left or center left), who was willing to negotiate with Arab countries, or the Palestinians, or offered to? withdraw from? territory captured in the Six Day War.

In essence, Glick is hoping that Bush will protect Israel from its own leader's misguided plan.?? Since Olmert is coming to seek significant US financial support, as well as political support from the President, the issue is not as straightforward as the Gaza withdrawal last summer. The Olmert mission also comes at a time when the? issue of the power of the pro—Israel lobby to influence US policy has been very publicly raised by a noxious and dishonest paper prepared by two prominent academics from Harvard and the University of Chicago.

Glick argues forcefully, that it is also in America's national interest to have the Olmert plan shelved. For one thing, the withdrawal will threaten both Egypt and Jordan, two countries in which the US has invested substantial political support and foreign aid. And behind the scenes, both Egypt and Jordan are trying to kill the Olmert plan. Neither of them wants a more powerful Hamas—run government operating freely in the West Bank, motivating and facilitating the efforts by Islamic radicals and Palestinian terrorists in both countries to step up the pressure on their regimes.

Olmert will try to sell Washington that the Muslim world's ill will directed at America can be reduced by a further separation of the Israeli and Palestinian populations.?This seems naﶥ.
There can be no moderation of Hamas, just as there can be no moderation of al Qaeda.? And Glick argues?that another disengagement will be viewed by the enemies of Israel and America as further evidence of the West in retreat, which will inspire the jihadist movement to take on America and the West more broadly. So it will likely encourage more terrorism in more places, rather than serve to placate the jihadists. Hamas and its terror allies, running freely in the West Bank, will certainly not help the American effort to stem the tide of foreign jihadists entering Iraq.

For more than? a decade, the only game in town for solving the Israeli Palestinian conflict has been land for peace.? With Hamas in power and Islamic fundamentalism seemingly on the march in countries around the world, it may be time for some fresh thinking.

Daniel Pipes has spoken of winning a victory that forces a change in the rejectionist mindset among the Palestinians. Glick has written of an enhanced role for Jordan in Palestinian governance. The land for peace bromide assumed that at some point, the Palestinians would receive an offer of enough land for them to drop their claims and end their hostility to Israel. But the reality is that an offer of all of the West Bank, and Gaza and East Jerusalem would? not have been enough for Arafat, just as half of Palestine was not good enough in 1947.

The existence of Israel and the?corresponding desire to destroy it have always been the focus of Palestinian politics and terror efforts.? Since 1967, the occupation and the settlements have been a sideshow that has masked the underlying and steadfast opposition by Arabs to Israel's existence. The occupation that Palestinians have sought to end has always included Haifa and Tel Aviv.

We are now almost 60 years since the founding of the modern state of Israel, and the Palestinians and their allies are no more reconciled to its existence today than they were at the beginning of the state. Those who speak of needing another generation to come of age before resolution to the conflict is possible, badly misread the younger generation of Palestinians, steeped in the constant incitement to destroy Israel, and kill the Jews, and defeat America? and the fervent attachment to martyrdom.?

The current younger generation of Palestinians, regrettably, is more irreconcilable with Israel than their elders. And unlike Camp David in 2000, the stars are not aligned for substantive progress. The Olmert plan in essence is that after the second disengagement, 'we' (the Israelis) will be here, and 'they' (the Palestinians) will be there, and so the conflict becomes less heated. Glick's paper deconstructs the logic of this optimistic reading and the potential danger of Olmert's plan to both Israel and the US.

The reality is that the Palestinians are not going away, even if they are on the other side of a fence. Their grievance, which is pretty much all they have chosen to hang onto, will remain and intensify, if they think they are being ignored.? Their economy will be more of a basket case after disengagement than before, which is what happened already after the Gaza withdrawal.? I do not believe the conflict is resolvable at the moment (and maybe never), but it does need to be managed. It is hard, however,? to see how the Olmert plan makes managing it any easier.

Bad, Christian Zionist, Bad

I am a Christian Zionist. That means, I am a Christian who supports the idea that the Jews ought to have a homeland. Ooh, that's a scary idea, huh?

We Gentiles have done nothing but persecute the Jews throughout history. We have proven that, no matter what, whether the Jews are rich, poor, powerful, or weak, we will hunt them down and kill them.

If you look at history honestly, you have to admit that this is the case. We are not to be trusted.

Because of this, the Jews must have a homeland of their own, so that they can take care of themselves.

Here's an interesting consideration of Christian Zionism by Thomas Ice:

And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse,
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
- God to Abraham (Genesis 12:3)

The last couple of years the secular community and some in the religious community have woken up to the fact that most of the American Evangelical community is pro Israel. Guess what? They do not like it one bit. There have been a number of articles in the media about the alleged dangers of the Christian support for Israel. A widely noted article appeared in the May 23, 2002 issue of the Wall Street Journal entitled, " How Israel Became a Favorite Cause of Christian Right." For some, this is horrifying.

Current Christian Zionism

At the beginning of this article I have quoted Genesis 12:3, which is God' s promise to bless those who bless Abraham and his descendants (i.e., Israel). Does this promise still stand or has it been changed? If the Bible is to be taken literally and still applies to Israel and not the church, it should not be surprising to anyone that such a view leads one, such as myself, to Christian Zionism. Zionism is simply the desire for the Jewish people to occupy the land of Israel. Christian Zionists are Christians who advocate this belief.

Back in the spring of 1992, Christianity Today did a cover story on Christian Zionism. The article " For the Love of Zion" (March 9, 1992; pp. 46-50) reflected a generally negative tone toward Christian Zionists, which is normal for Christianity Today. They made the case that evangelical support for Israel is still strong but it has peaked and is declining. Yet, today, over a decade later the consensus appears to be that Christian Zionism is getting stronger, but so are those Christians who oppose it.

In February 2003, the Zionist Organization of America released extensive polling results from the polling firm of John McLaughlin and Associates indicating rising support by Americans of the modern state of Israel as against the Arab Palestinian state. 71% of Americans were opposed to creating a Palestinian state and by almost the same margin Americans oppose any support to the Palestinian Arabs. Much of this current support is surely generated by those who are classified as Christian Zionists.

Christian Anti-Zionists

Probably for the first time ever, an organized effort appears to be on the rise of Christians (many who are Evangelical) who are outspoken Anti-Zionists. Knox Theological Seminary, founded and headed by D. James Kennedy (interestingly Dr. Kennedy did not sign the document) has posted a document on their web site denouncing those who are supportive of the modern state of Israel as engaged in " a serious misreading of Holy Scripture." Oh really!
Stephen Sizer is writing a major new book against Christian Zionism. I guess we have gotten so bad that they believe one is necessary. It will be called Christian Zionism: Fueling the Arab-Israeli Conflict, due out in December 2003 from Intervarsity Press. Colin Chapman has written what amounts to an anti-Zionist book in Whose Promised Land? The Continuing Crisis Over Israel and Palestine, Baker, 2002. He attempts throughout his work to refute the biblical teaching about ethnic Israel' s right to the land of Israel.

Gary DeMar has for many years exhibited his anti-Zionism in the many incarnations of Last Days Madness (American Vision, 1999). pp. 407-23. In an appendix entitled " ' Anti-Semitism' and Eschatology," DeMar quotes from Assembly of God premillennialist, Dwight Wilson' s Armageddon Now!, (Baker, 1977) saying that premillennialism fostered anti-Semitism during the Holocaust. Both Wilson and DeMar have made a statement that is ridiculous and cannot be supported from the facts of history. DeMar says, " Wilson maintains that it was the premillennial view of a predicted Jewish persecution prior to the Second Coming that led to a ' hands off' policy when it came to speaking out against virulent ' anti-Semitism.' " [1]

Wilson and subsequently DeMar' s interpretation of the premillennial record on this matter is simply wrong. Instead, historian David Rausch is correct when he declared:

This theory of " Fundamentalist anti-Semitism" is not only biased- it is totally inaccurate. Fundamentalist Protestants are not historically anti-Semitic, nor are they anti-Semitic at the present time. In fact, Fundamentalism is itself a religious movement which grew out of a millennialism which was Zionist. Fundamentalists are ardent supporters of Israel and the Jewish heritage.[2]

Convoluted Calvinism

Calvinist DeMar must be desperate in his attempt to label dispensational premillennialists as anti-Semitic, that he would adopt and advocate Wilson' s Arminian logic in relationship to the sovereign decrees of God. Wilson' s interpretation that the premillennial belief in the certainty of the fulfillment of prophetic decrees from the Bible leads to fatalistic inactivity by its adherents is not only factually wrong, but would be rejected by DeMar as theologically wrong if he had applied his Calvinism to all issues involving the sovereignty of God and human responsibility.

DeMar does not believe, nor do I, that because God has decreed who will be saved and who will remain lost that the believer' s response should be fatalistic inactivity in regards to evangelism or any decreed fact of history. History shows that Calvinists have led the way in evangelistic concern and activity.

History also shows that premillennialists have led the way in their support for the Jewish people and Israel, and have led Christian opposition to anti-Semitism, just as they are doing at the present time. If this were not the case then there would not be all the press about our love and support for Israel.

Hands Off

Wilson,[3] and therefore DeMar[4], made a number of mistakes in their characterization of premillennialists in regards to anti-Semitism. Wilson quotes a poem written by a premillennialist entitled " Hands Off" relating to anti-Semitism. The poem is saying that those who have persecuted the Jews would be better off keeping their hands off of God' s people because God will judge them for their sin. Wilson characterizes the poem as if the author was advocating a hands-off policy of Christians toward helping the downtrodden Jew. The actual viewpoint of the poem was telling people like Hitler to keep their hands off the Jews, not for Christians to be apathetic towards persecution in Europe.

Hands On

Contrary to the Wilson/DeMar viewpoint, Rausch argues that premillennialists were involved in fighting anti-Semitism and did not sit back and do nothing. Rausch cites example after example of American and European premillennialists warning against anti-Semitism in Europe (especially in Germany and Russia) during the many Prophetic Conferences convened between 1878 and 1918.[5] Rausch notes that American dispensationalist, Arno Gaebelein, a German immigrant, " castigated Gentile Christendom in his lectures and writings for its attacks on the Jew." [6] In 1895, Gaebelein, upon returning to the US from a trip to Germany, sadly stated,
It is only too true that Protestant Germany is Jew-hating, and we fear, from what we have seen and heard, that sooner or later there will come another disgraceful outbreak.[7]

The fact of the matter is that there were not too many premillennialists in Hitler' s Germany since most of Christianity in Germany at that time was of a liberal variety. In my entire life thus far I have never met or heard of a liberal who was premillennial. Much of the Christian resistance to Hitler came from those who also hid Jews and they were often premillennial. Joop Westerville, a leader in the underground was a Plymouth Brethren and has a prominent place in the Israeli memorial to the " Righteous of the Nations." Corrie Ten Boom' s family were premillennial and are synonymous in the minds of American evangelicals with activism on behalf of the Jews in WW II.

Rausch has noted, " Contrary to popular opinion, this prophetic viewpoint (premillennialism) combated anti-Semitism and sought to reinstate the biblical promises that God had made to the Jewish people through Abraham- biblical promises that postmillennial Christendom had determined were null and void." [8]

Further Wilson Confusion

Wilson says that premillennialists like Gaebelein " seemed to provide legitimacy for the Nazi attitude" [9] because, on a few points, they were critical of some Jewish activities and because they did not believe that the anti-Semitic document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a forgery. Wilson portrays premillennialists as if belief that the Protocols were not forged was belief that they were true. Premillennialists like Gaebelein thoroughly disagreed with the anti-Semitic agenda of the Protocols, but Wilson does not bring this out. Premillennial criticism could not in any way be interpreted as anti-Semitic attitudes. Rausch, contra Wilson, has observed: " It was premillennial eschatology that led the early Fundamentalist to have a high view of Jewish history and Jewish heritage. Even in negative remarks, there is no malevolence toward the Jewish people because the Proto-Fundamentalist believed that all men were unworthy of God' s grace and that even the Proto-Fundamentalist was a sinner." [10]

Dispensationalist Love for Zion

I believe that it is safe to say that there has not been a group of Christians who have cared more for the Jewish people and their destiny than dispensationalists in the 2,000-year history of the church. Previous to the rise of dispensationalism, Christians did not seem to be able to acknowledge that God had a future plan of glory for national Israel, without at the same time making the church subordinate to Judaism.

J. N. Darby, the father of modern dispensationalism, developed his theology in the 1820s and 1830s by saying that God' s plan for history included two peoples, Israel and the church. Darby took the Old Testament literally and at face value so that he recognized Israel' s future destiny.

At the same time, he took the New Testament and the church literally and at face value. Darby did not have to spiritualize either Israel or the church recognizing from the Bible two peoples of God. "

J. N. Darby has testified that it was his coming to understand that ' there was still an economy to come, of His ordering; a state of things in no way established as yet' which compelled him to formulate his distinction between Israel and the church." [11] Because of the rise of the dispensational viewpoint " premillennialists were able to stress the evangelization of the Jews while at the same time they supported Jewish nationalistic aspirations." [12]

In fact, the heightened interest in dispensational evangelization of the Jews has been recently documented in a new study of the history of Jewish evangelism. Yaakov Ariel says,
The rise of the movement to evangelize the Jews in America also coincided with the rise of Zionism, the Jewish national movement that aimed at rebuilding Palestine as a Jewish center. The missionary community, like American dispensationalists in general, took a great deal of interest in the developments among the Jewish people. . . .

Perhaps not surprisingly, missionaries to the Jews were among the major propagators of the dispensationalist premillennialist belief. . . .

They condemned anti-Semitism and discrimination against Jews worldwide.[13]

William E. Blackstone

Dispensational theology explains why this form of premillennialism has been the most effective in evangelizing Jews, while at the same time standing with Jews in causes like Zionism. In fact, dispensationalists were the earliest advocates of Zionism, even before it began within the Jewish community. " Zionism humanly speaking owes its origin not primarily in the Jewish fold, but in the efforts of a Christian, one whom we all respect, and who has been a great friend of Jewish Missions, William E. Blackstone." [14] Benjamin Netanyahu also recognizes the early rise of Christian Zionism when he declared that it " antedates the modern Zionist movement by at least half a century." [15]

Blackstone' s contribution was acknowledged by the Jewish community in 1918 by Elisha M. Friedman, secretary of the University Zionist Society of New York, who said, " A well-known Christian layman, William E. Blackstone, antedated Theodor Herzl by five years in his advocacy of the re-establishment of a Jewish state." [16] Contrary to the image presented by DeMar and Wilson, Blackstone provides another example of premillennial " hands on" involvement in combating anti-Semitism. " After traveling to Europe, Egypt, and Palestine in 1888, Blackstone organized in Chicago in 1890 one of the first conferences between Christians and Jews. The Jews of Russia were being persecuted and William Blackstone felt that mere resolutions of sympathy were inadequate." [17]


In spite of our critics, who unjustly attempt to cast us in a bad light, dispensational premillennialism has always been the best friend the Jewish people have ever had within Christendom. For years many in Israel have recognized this. What is amazing is that in the last few years even the Orthodox community has come to realize that they have friends and supporters within the conservative Christian community. At the same time that we support Zion, dispensational premillennialists have been the leaders in evangelizing the Jewish community during the present church age. I believe that such support of Zion by Christians will continue to be the case from now throughout all eternity.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

France Bans
Citizen Journalists
From Reporting

This is one of the most sick things I have ever heard.

I don't have a lot of time tonight, so I'm gonna have to give you the stats, and you'll just have to believe me, but the Muslim riots never stopped in France. As I have reported previously, there are an average of close to 200 cars torched every night on the streets of France. The Parisian police chief declared that they are at "war", and asked the state to provide his forces with weapons of war so that they would be adequately protected, and able to fight back. To this date, the French police have NOT been provided with the tools necessary.

And, here is the most stunning thing of all. The casualty rate of the French police force is over three times higher than the casualty rate of the American armed forces in Iraq.

And now, France is banning bloggers from reporting on this violence.

There's nothing to see here. Move along.

Screw France:

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Fly American

Hmm, what do you think of this?

At Annie Jacobsen’s web site Aviation Nation, we discover an account of an apparent terrorist dry run on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami—the same route and airline on which Richard Reid failed to detonate his shoe bombs:

American Airlines Flight 62: A Terrorist Probe?

This report was posted in mid-February, and has received no media coverage whatsoever. Jacobsen confirmed that the incident did occur, with an American Airlines spokesperson.
This is not meant to scare, but it probably will. Consider yourself informed and warned that the threat is real. This crew reported that they were not prepared that something of this nature could be happening to them.

Flt 62, Paris to MIA [Miami], a few weeks ago. 2 maybe 4 mid-eastern types causing minor disturbance from the get-go. Nothing that the FAs [flight attendants] couldn’t deal with, but, in hindsight, they seemed to be pushing the envelope. Cross-cabin activity, hanging out in the forward galley, complaining about everything, etc. Mid-Atlantic, the FO [First Officer, or Co-Pilot] called to return to the cockpit after his crew-rest break. One of the perps [perpetrators] was in the forward galley, was instructed by a FA to go aft, but didn’t. As the cockpit door opened, another perp suddenly appeared from around the galley, dropped his shoulder into FO while the first one got in the way of the FO’s attempt to block the I’m not for the movie.

FO (one of our first FFDO’s [Federal Flight Deck Officers*]) was about to pull his flashlight to use as a weapon in a counter attack, but thought better of it not knowing how many more perps he might have to fight, called “lockdown” to the FB [secondary “B” First Officer], inside the cockpit, who slammed the door. As soon as the perps heard the word lockdown, they retreated to their seats.

I’m not doing justice to the story, but, if not an attempt on the cockpit, this was a serious probe.
Crew considered divert, but since the threat diminished and seemed to be contained, they pressed on towards MIA. Flight was met in MIA by FBI, FAMS [Federal Air Marshal Service] (none aboard, by the way), AA [American Airlines] Security suits, etc. During the de-brief, which lasted several hours, the FAMs told the pilots that they would have “dropped” both of the perps with the first shove near the cockpit door. Perps claimed to not understand English, were detained for 4 days and deported, back to Paris, when they are free to attend Sunday school, tell their buddies of their Adventure and plan their next move.

Enjoying the story so far? It’s good we can’t carry guns on Int’l [International] trips, eh?
Upsetting is that we all have to learn of this, by happenstance. Why didn’t you and your last crew know of this? We took a delay yesterday while this FB detailed the entire event to my crew. Believe me, there were no disbelievers that the terrorist threat is real in my crew by the time we boarded.

I’m more than upset that this is still a secret! The FB is a man I’ve flown with often, trust completely and attended FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) training with a year ago January. I hope I’ve presented his story accurately, but am certain that the basic details are very close.

Why I Am
A Big

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

It's pathetic that we've come to a place in our country's history when a person has to come out as a supporter of one of our fundamental liberties, provided for by the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. But, you know what, I have to. How many people would say they are big supporters of not only the right to bear arms, but also the right to form a "well regulated militia."

I am not a gun nut. Far from it. I've only shot a gun a few times in my whole life, but I am deadly accurate. Deadly.

Head shots, everytime.

Anyway, why do I sound so extreme? Because I know history (from By Samantha Levine , via Michael):

Marion Pritchard - She shot a Nazi to save Jewish Children. The officer stood at the door. It was 2 o'clock in the morning, and he was hunting for Jews. Someone must have tipped him off to the three Jewish children sheltered in the home of Marion Pritchard. He entered the living room, his back to the bedroom where the youngsters were sleeping. Pritchard's gut told her he would send them to a concentration camp. Within two minutes, she'd decided what to do. She reached up to a shelf and felt for the revolver given to her for emergencies. "It was him or the kids, so I shot him," she says, unflinching. "It was a moment of excitement. I did it! I did it! The kids are safe! Then it was, what do I do with the body?" Such is the meaning of the Second Amendment.

Like the angel of death, the Dutch police officer stood at the door. It was 2 o'clock in the morning, and he was hunting for Jews. Someone must have tipped him off to the three Jewish children sheltered in the home of Marion Pritchard. He entered the living room, his back to the bedroom where the youngsters were sleeping.

Pritchard's gut told her he would send them to a concentration camp. Within two minutes, she'd decided what to do. She reached up to a shelf and felt for the revolver given to her for emergencies. "It was him or the kids, so I shot him," she says, unflinching. "It was a moment of excitement. I did it! I did it! The kids are safe! Then it was, what do I do with the body?"

During World War II, the Nazis murdered millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others. But thousands of ordinary folks risked their own lives to help the intended victims. Marion Pritchard was one of the rescuers, concealing a Jewish family for nearly three years.
"It was never a question," says Pritchard, now 80 and a practicing psychoanalyst who lives in Vershire, Vt. "For somebody's life, how could you not?"

The straightforward woman with the clipped Dutch accent is puzzled by those who don't understand her conviction that hesitating in the face of evil is equal to siding with the enemy. Her brows knit together, she crosses her arms and asks, "What if nobody had done anything?"

"To my father, justice was everything," Pritchard says of her dad, a judge. "Not law and order, but justice." His philosophy shaped her idyllic girlhood in Amsterdam."I was never spanked, never hit," Pritchard says. "I got all my questions answered. When you are brought up that way, with complete love, respect, and understanding, that is how you try to treat people when you grow up."

When the Dutch government shocked its people by capitulating to the Nazis five days after the Germans invaded in May 1940, Pritchard remained true to her family's values. She aimed to "do whatever I could to get in the way of the Nazis." So when her supervisor asked her and her classmates at social work school to temporarily shelter Jewish children targeted for concentration camps Pritchard agreed. Despite the possibility of prison, or worse, she took a boy into her parents' home.

One morning in the spring of 1942, Pritchard watched Nazis load sobbing Jewish children into trucks. When they didn't move fast enough, the Nazis grabbed an arm or leg and threw them in. "I was so shocked I found myself in tears," Pritchard says. "Then I saw two women coming down the street to try to stop them, and the Germans threw them into the trucks, too.
I stood frozen on my bicycle. When I saw that, I knew my rescue work was more important than anything else I might be doing." She was 22.

That summer, a friend in the Dutch resistance movement secured empty servants' quarters in a rural village as a refuge for a Jewish family. Pritchard volunteered to live with and care for them.

"Jews in hiding couldn't be visible," she explains with a hint of annoyance when asked her rationale. "They couldn't just go to the store. So I stayed with them. It was the right thing to do." The Polak family–Fred and his children, 4-year-old Lex, 2-year-old Tom, and newborn Erica–stayed with her until the war ended in 1945. (The mother was separated from the family but reunited with them after the war.) There was nowhere to hide other than a tiny compartment under the living room, so Fred spent each day upstairs in a nurse's house across the street and worked on his doctoral dissertation. The children, who passed for gentiles, could play in the yard. Though many of the neighbors knew what she was doing, they were "good Dutchmen, anti-Nazi, and rescuers in their own way," Pritchard says. They sneaked her milk and vegetables to supplement her meager rations. Pritchard struggled to keep house while finding havens for other Jews.

By the time the war ended, the Nazis had murdered approximately 110,000 of the Netherlands' 140,000 Jews. Pritchard had helped find hiding places or transport to safe houses for more than 150. "I tried," she says, "but many were only saved temporarily."
Pritchard was an exemplary rescuer because she chose to risk her life when she saw Jewish children being hauled away, says Malka Drucker, who coauthored Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust. "She was frozen in fear and indecision, so she decided to become a rescuer."

For all her bravery, Pritchard is haunted by that night she shot the policeman. She was fortunate local authorities did not pursue the missing man–hatred for Nazis and Dutch turncoats seethed in the village. And she was extremely lucky that friends and supporters disposed of the body. Karel Poons, a gay Jew who was her former ballet teacher, risked his life to sneak out after curfew and persuade the baker to take the body in his horse-drawn cart to the undertaker, who stashed it in an occupied coffin slated for burial. Still, Pritchard feared being found out. "I had to go on, to stay strong for the family," she says. "I wish it hadn't been necessary. But it was the better of two evils."

© 2001 U.S.News & World Report Inc. All rights reserved. 8-18-2001

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Wayne Shorter Quartet, with Danilo Perez (Piano), Brian Blade (Drums), John Pattitucci (Bass).

One More Cup Of Coffee

Bob Dylan

Every Grain Of Sand

A song by Bob Dylan

In the time of my confession, in the hour of my deepest need
When the pool of tears beneath my feet flood every newborn seed
There's a dyin' voice within me reaching out somewhere,
Toiling in the danger and in the morals of despair.

Don't have the inclination to look back on any mistake,
Like Cain, I now behold this chain of events that I must break.
In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand
In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

I have gone from rags to riches in the sorrow of the night
In the violence of a summer's dream, in the chill of a wintry light,
In the bitter dance of loneliness fading into space,
In the broken mirror of innocence on each forgotten face.

I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me.
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand.