Comparing Anglican reaction to Barcelona vs Charlottesville

Fred Hiltz’s response to what happened in Barcelona and Charlottesville is reasonably representative of the reaction of other Western Anglican leaders.

For Barcelona he concentrates mostly on praying, in particular for our enemies:

So long as we pray for them, let us be bold in praying for those who with such malicious intent inflict such horrific suffering on others. Let us pray that they be turned from their malice, their hearts be moved and their plans thwarted.

He goes on to denounce terrorism without being at all specific about the particular brand of terrorism – they could have been marauding Mennonites, after all.

With people of all faith traditions who condemn the terrorism that stalks our world, we gather in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, in our homes and in our public squares, turning with one voice and one heart to God.

When it comes to Charlottesville, things are quite different. No prayers are offered for those being violent, nor does Hiltz shrink from identifying them as white supremacists; instead, he denounces them – quite rightly – and demands secular leaders denounce them.

Could the fact that Hiltz fails to denounced Islamic Jihadists and their sympathisers along with calling for imams to do the same mean that he and his fellow clergy are shamelessly biased? Does Hiltz think white supremacists are not worth praying for because they are beyond redemption? It is tempting to think so.

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, many governors, senators and mayors across the United States have called on the President to be unequivocally clear in denouncing the principles and activities of white supremacy. Many world leaders have also called him to exercise strong leadership in this regard.

Stop offering insincere prayers for Paris

If a person prays for the victims of an atrocity yet continues to act in a way that is likely to cause a repeat of the atrocity, then the prayer is a lie and God is being treated as a fool.

Here is Canada’s effort:

In Canada, the Council of the General Synod paused its Friday evening meeting as news of the attacks filtered through. Archbishop Fred Hiltz led prayers for those affected by the tragedy.

Yet, the ACoC and Hiltz are delighted with the election of a new Liberal government, a government whose campaign platform included withdrawing from the fight against ISIS and the accepting of 25,000 Syrian migrants into Canada by Christmas – a volume that would make adequate security screening impossible.

So, Canadian bishops: either shut up with the hypocritical prayers or stop your support for a government and policies that will inevitably result in yet more victims, more bishops babbling like pagans and more vain, empty, repetitious prattling disguised as prayer.

Fred Hiltz: Surprised by Hope

As I was reading the article below, I had one eye and ear trained on CNN, listening to the unfolding terror crisis in Paris. In a juxtaposition that strains the boundaries of opposites, while France has just closed its borders, has imposed the first curfew since 1944 and has declared a state of emergency, Fred Hiltz, because a liberal government that plans to absorb 25,000 Middle-Eastern migrants by Christmas – sorry, Holiday Season – has been elected, is overcome with hope for the future.

From here:

While seeming to disavow any political partisanship, Hiltz said the new federal government also gave him much hope for the future.

“I’m not a politician—you all know that—but I tell you, this is a time of hope for this country,” he said. The Liberal government, he said, appears to have social priorities much in line with those of the church, as even some new departmental names seem to suggest—the former Department of Immigration and Citizenship will now be known as the Department of Citizenship, Refugees and Immigration. He applauded, too, the naming of an Aboriginal woman, Jody Wilson-Raybould, as the country’s new justice minister and attorney general.

“If that’s not hope, I don’t know what is,” Hiltz said of Wilson-Raybould’s appointment.

“I’m not wearing red today, but I think there is in this country a hopefulness that we’ve not seen for some time,” he said. The new cabinet seemed to collectively include a great deal of “respect, and proven expertise, and experience and abiding passion for community development, foreign aid and global concerns,” he added. “We actually as a country have some recovering to do with respect to our place among the nations, and I think there’s a time of hope that is before us.”

Apparently, there is “synergy” between the Liberals and the Anglican Church of Canada; who would have guessed that?

While Hiltz and Johnson, like many other church leaders, remained non-partisan throughout the long campaign—focusing instead on the issues they would like to see dealt with, such as poverty, reconciliation and environmental stewardship—the Anglican church’s special advisor for government relations, the Rev. Laurette Glasgow, noted that there is “a greater synergy between the priorities of our church and those of the incoming government” than there has been in recent years.

“Synergy”, as I am sure you know, means:

the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects

In this context, synergy is a good thing: the combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects means that the ACoC and Liberal Party will be mutually hastening each other into oblivion more quickly than each could alone. That’s the optimist in me speaking: try as I might, I don’t really suppose the ACoC has the wherewithal to pull the Liberal Party down the Ecclesiastical toilet after it.

Hiltz goes on to note that:

despite the considerable sensitivity of the issue and the difficulty the church has had in the past coming to decisions around sexuality, he was optimistic about the discussions around the marriage canon expected at the General Synod next summer……

“I am uneasy with the rhetoric in the Communion that talks about how fragile the Communion is, or how broken it is—that’s not my read.”

At least Hiltz is consistent in his misreading of reality.

The gentle art of taunting bloodthirsty and mad terrorists

From here:

Condemnation of the new edition of Charlie Hebdo was swift and often fierce Wednesday (Jan. 14) in many majority-Muslim nations after the cover featured a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad with a tear in his eye.

“You’re putting the lives of others at risk when you’re taunting bloodthirsty and mad terrorists,” said Hamad Alfarhan, 29, a Kuwaiti doctor. “I hope this doesn’t trigger more attacks. The world is already mourning the losses of many lives under the name of religion.”

Hebdo1Imagine the shrieks of sanctimonious outrage if, after the abortionist George Tiller was murdered, rather than limiting himself to roundly condemning the murderer, someone had had the temerity to suggest that abortionists must stop because they are inflaming “bloodthirsty and mad terrorists”. But, then, the  cartoon below is so much more offensive than killing unborn babies.


The Pope is not a pacifist

He has informed us that anyone who insults his mother is liable to get a punch; doubtless his theologians have verified that this is in line with Aquinas’s Just War Theory.

From here:

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Commenting on recent killings by Islamist terrorists at a Paris newspaper, Pope Francis condemned killing in the name of God, but said freedom of expression should be limited by respect for religion and that mockery of faith can be expected to provoke violence.

The pope made his remarks Jan. 15 to reporters accompanying him on a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. During the 50-minute news conference, the pope also said his encyclical on the environment will likely be published early this summer, and that he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Franciscan missionary to North America, in the U.S. this September.

Asked by a French reporter to compare freedom of religion and freedom of expression as human rights, Pope Francis linked his answer to the Jan. 7 attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, apparently in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” the pope said. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.”

The pope said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” like freedom of religion, but one that must be exercised “without giving offense.”

Offering a hypothetical example that referred to the Vatican’s planner of papal trips, who was standing beside him as he spoke, the pope said: “It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

The pope said those who “make fun or toy with other people’s religions, these people provoke, and there can happen what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he said something against my mother. That is, there is a limit. Every religion has its dignity.”

I wonder what the Pope makes of Jesus calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers, hypocrites, whited sepulchres and so on. Jesus is God, of course so he may well have  Papal dispensation to say what he likes. Someone should definitely put the boot in to John the Baptist for his insensitivity, though.

Even Michael Coren – not known for criticising the Pope these days – thinks the Pope has blundered badly. Perhaps the Pope’s handlers should persuade him to spend more time keeping quiet; before we know where we are, he’ll be talking about bacon.


Nathan Cirillo, the soldier shot on Parliament hill, was from Hamilton

From here:

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot at point-blank range as he stood guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa Wednesday.

The young Hamilton father was a reservist who was only on a short-term posting at the memorial, relatives and other sources have confirmed.

Bishop Michael Bird had this to say:

Bishop Michael Bird visited the armoury to pass on the message that the soldiers and their fallen comrade’s family were in his thoughts and prayers.

“We are blessed to live in this country … but maybe this is a reality check for us,” he said.

Canada is traditionally at the forefront in peacekeeping, he said. “Obviously, we live in a different world, now. We live in a violent world, but ultimately violence does not have the final say.”

Bird has it wrong: ultimately, there will be judgement and it will be not be non-violent. Those who have not received the forgiveness afforded by Christ’s atoning death on the cross will be judged; their fate will be unpleasant.

Even the less than ultimate, temporal, final say will be the exercise of force by state authorities who have the Biblically sanctioned authority to restrain evil by the sword – using violence.

Keeping the skies safe from 4 year old girls

To make everyone feel better about this, I would like to emphasise that no profiling whatsoever – racial, religious, or otherwise – was performed by the airport Stasi in their efforts to purge dangerous Grandmas, 4 year olds and teddy bears from our fragile skies.

As an aside, when I flew to Athens last year, while I was being probed by prurient gloved hands as I struggled to hold my beltless pants up, a 350lb Muslim lass, swathed from head to foot, waddled past me untouched to plant herself resolutely in two seats in the centre of the plane. I’m convinced there was at least one stowaway under her burka.

My two young children, aged four and six, were particularly excited their Grandmother was catching the same flight out of Wichita. Since she lives in California, and we live in Montana, they’ve never had a chance to fly with her. Tired and eager to return home, we began passing through security. My children and I went through without an incident. My Mother, however, had triggered the alarm. She was asked to go through the scanners again, and when the source of the alarm could not be identified she was told to sit aside and await a pat-down. All of this was perfectly routine.

When my Four-year-old daughter noticed her Grandmother, she excitedly ran over to give her a hug, as children often do. They made very brief contact, no longer than a few seconds. The Transportation Security Officers (TSO) who were present responded to this very simple action in the worst way imaginable.

First, a TSO began yelling at my child, and demanded she too must sit down and await a full body pat-down. I was prevented from coming any closer, explaining the situation to her, or consoling her in any way. My daughter, who was dressed in tight leggings, a short sleeve shirt and mary jane shoes, had no pockets, no jacket and nothing in her hands. The TSO refused to let my daughter pass through the scanners once more, to see if she too would set off the alarm. It was implied, several times, that my Mother, in their brief two-second embrace, had passed a handgun to my daughter.

My child, who was obviously terrified, had no idea what was going on, and the TSOs involved still made no attempt to explain it to her. When they spoke to her, it was devoid of any sort of compassion, kindness or respect. They told her she had to come to them, alone, and spread her arms and legs. She screamed, “No! I don’t want to!” then did what any frightened young child might, she ran the opposite direction.

That is when a TSO told me they would shut down the entire airport, cancel all flights, if my daughter was not restrained. It was then they declared my daughter a “high-security-threat”.

Terrorism strikes Oslo

From here:

Live coverage of events after a huge explosion in Oslo, Norway leaves seven dead, before a gunman opens fire at a youth camp west of Oslo, with unconfirmed reports of up to 30 dead.


Marcus Oscarsson emails that Sweden has raised the security around the Government Offices in Stockholm and other key buildings in the Swedish capital. The Norwegian PM Mr Stolenberg stressed in Norwegian State TV recently that it is not known who is behind the attacks. Norway is eager to point out that it is possible that it is not Islamists.

Why would anyone think it had something to do with the religion of peace? Let’s see: a bomb planted in a car designed to kill and maim indiscriminately coordinated with the shooting of young people for no apparent reason.

Update: Anders Behring Breivik has been arrested for the murders. He has been described as a Christian and  freemason. A conservative Christian being a freemason makes no more sense than one who indiscriminately murders people; perhaps Breivik is just stark raving mad.


Gaza rocket barrage hits Israel

From here:

Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired dozens of missiles into southern Israel in what appears to be their heaviest such barrage in two years.

About 50 mortars were fired – two Israelis were hurt, Israel says.

Israeli tanks later shelled targets in the coastal strip, wounding at least five people, Palestinian officials say.

The Islamist group Hamas, which runs Gaza, said it fired some of the mortars. Three days ago an Israeli air strike killed two of its members.

The BBC’s Jon Donnison in Gaza says this seems to be an escalation – both in terms of the number of rockets fired from Gaza and the fact that Hamas said it was responsible.

Hamas’s military wing said it launched dozens of rockets, our correspondent reports.

There were immediate statements condemning Hamas from the Right Reverend Suheil Dawani, Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

Sorry, no there weren’t; I must have dozed off and been dreaming.

Celebrating the murder of children

After the terrorist butchering of an Israeli family, residents in Gaza celebrated the fact by passing out sweets in the street.

While war is horrible and the death of children in war even more horrible, it doesn’t compare to the especially insidious evil needed to deliberately murder your enemy’s children – particularly at close range.

And it takes an especially odious religion – Islam – to fuel the impulse to celebrate such an atrocity.

From here:

Do you think the State Department noticed that no one in Arizona, Mexico, or even Mars took to the streets to celebrate the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords? No one seemed to think it was a “natural” act — the Islamic term du jour to rationalize the throat-slitting massacre of a sleeping Jewish family: 36-year-old Udi Fogel, his 35-year-old wife, Ruth, and, yes, their three children: 11-year-old Yoav, 4-year-old Elad, and Hadas, their 3-month-old baby……..

Muslims, in fact, are more often exhorted by their scriptures to brutalize non-Muslims than Christians are urged by the gospels to love their enemies and turn the other cheek. Yet, though we assume the latter are meant to take the message to heart, we are somehow sure Islam doesn’t really mean what it says — that when Muslims strike terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, it must be Israel’s fault, or America’s, or something, anything, other than Islam, the only common denominator in these attacks.