Category Archives: Politics

Does it Even Matter? Food in France Feeding Terrorism and Fears

I watched and read this article today in CBN News, by reported Dale Hurd (January 5, 2011). The article was titled “Muslim Halal Food Sales Supporting Terrorism?” The article went to point out a major discrepancy in French politics, while unveiling that buying Halal meat might very well be supporting Terrorism. I believe them.

And yet, the article irked me.  First of all, why are we being told about what is happening in French politics, on this one issue? The only thing I ever hear about France these days has something to do with Islam. Surely there are other things going on in France! The only reason we must be being told about it, again, from a new angle, is because we care. So then I ask myself, why do we care? Or more specifically, this branded Christian American news source (CBN) is reporting on possible terrorist links dealing with  food in France. And maybe, if that outrages us, we should look around us to notice we just might be eating the same food here. Tyranny!

I wasn’t too sure why this irked me, so I wrote out ten points, as follows, for no good reason, in which I analyzed this article from the what I believe is a Biblical perspective (note, not traditional American Christian- you can read all their comments in the comment page just to get a feel of their outrage at Halal):

1.) Halal meat is healthier than our typical drugged-up, corn and hormone fed, stuffed in cages meat. So, the way of health, you can easily say its preferable. If our bodies are supposed to be a temple of God, then yes, maybe we should all eat halal meat. I’ve considered it.

2.) If we should get rid of everything associated with Sharia, as the man at the end of the article was saying, then shouldn’t we also get rid of rice, flour, etc…? Those are acceptable under Sharia law, too, right? In fact, we should also get rid of many concepts of justice Islam and Western Democracy agrees on. That Christians agree with. Just because its Sharia. Really now, we can’t be against everything Sharia.

3.) Paul said its okay to eat meat offered to idols- hence the whole Mecca-Allah-professional Muslim cow-killer shouldn’t be a moral issue for Christians eating halal (unless you are causing others to sin because they believe it is wrong, which just might be the case, now thanks to this article).

4.) Was any of the money back in the meat-offered-to-idols day funneled towards religions/politics/ideologies that were not Christian? I assume so. Which means, I can argue that it is okay once again (from solely a moral standpoint) to buy/eat meat of another religion/ideology.

5.) When I buy from KFC or McDonalds, one could say I fund the spread of Westernism, Colonialism, Self-indulgence….maybe even humanism. In fact, we are terribly guilty of major damage on the world, possibly turning many away from the true God by our Western influence on the world. So, from that logic, would that mean I shouldn’t buy KFC or McDonalds? But, both the U.S. and in France are already seriously saturated in these humanistic ideologies which aren’t really for God. Does it matter which not-Jesus religion/spirituality we are living in culturally? Yes, we have our preference for freedoms, in democracy, but, is that anything more than a preference?

6.)  Please note that in France the concept of freedom of religion and separation of church & state is different in the U.S. In France, this goes beyond just keeping things separate.  It means that anything not French, whatever might be a threat to nationalism/state as first, is not allowed. The goal is to keep everyone the same, so nothing stands out except being French. My description might not be perfect of French politics, but be aware that there is a definite difference, and do some research on it. So, with that said, please note that the French politician + groups mentioned in this article are speaking from this worldview. Which means that it is probably even more horrible for them, than it would be for us, to see the French government having connections to Islam, which is overtaking the country. Their fight is slightly different from just a fight for democracy as we as Americans might understand it.

7.) I personally am not pro-Islam or Muslim by any means.  I think Islamization its something everyone needs to be aware of, because it’s already upon us (if you study population growth, migration, and birth rates, you will see that within this century our Western civilizations as we know them will look drastically different). I believe the question that this “threat” to our current culture is really a matter of learning how to live, as Christians, in a new world which will likely look more Islamic. The question isn’t “How should we put our energies into stopping it?” After all, in some places, especially in Europe, it’s too late for that.

8.) I believe we are called to be Christians above being Americans. We constantly need to check the basis of our concerns. Are we afraid of Islam because it will negatively affect our lives, our comfort, or worldview as we know it? That is a very understandable fear.  But why are we striving for the sake of democracy? I am far from saying this is bad. I am pro-democracy, I believe much less oppression happens in a Republic than any other type of government. And yet, I think we need to question the roots of any judgments we make or act on- do these judgments embody God’s character and would our actions be following Jesus? Or is the root our love for our homeland, America and the democracy we enjoy? These are sometimes in conflict. So we must ask ourselves, what is most important?

9.) I think we should consider other ways of fighting this process than just boycotting halal, freaking out, or trying to ban all things Islamic through the political process. Maybe these aren’t bad, but I think they aren’t going to bring about sustainable change. It might be too late for passionate campaigns, which encourage WASPs (and other good ol’ American Christians) have more babies in order to race with that insane growth rate of Muslim populations.

10.) I guess what it comes down to, is that I really believe loving Muslims, showing Jesus to them, is more sustainable than getting worked about halal. Even if they don’t all become Christians, which I think would be just awesome, at least being exposed to another worldview is a major force for change. It is undoubtedly more effective to promoting opportunities which provide meaning to life (like having an occupation rather than killing the infidels), while educating (giving alternate worldviews to radical extremist Islam).

The reason this article irks me is that it doesn’t consider the people who follow the religion of Islam, many who do so just culturally rather than fanatically. It feeds the fear American have against Muslims, urging us to run the opposite way, rather than encouraging us to show love. The article might seemingly be about justice, a character trait of God.  We can choose to let an ideology which we are uncomfortable with turn us away from following Jesus, who says to love our enemies, and teach others to follow Him.  I don’t remember Jesus saying we should not buy Halal meat. What if we were able to help lead the guy who sales Halal kabobs to Christianity because we spoke with him, laughed with him while we ate what he made us- rather than boycotting him. Maybe preventing innocent deaths through terrorism would be what would happen if we ignored the halal-guy, or picketed his meat. At minimum, though, we should seriously consider what furthers God’s kingdom more.

Recently a guy from my town  was captured for assisting a plot (a fake plot, sneakily created by the FBI) of terrorism made for the D.C. metro system. I am glad they caught him. But, I can almost guarantee you, no American had ever invited him into their home or really befriended him. Can you blame him for not changing his worldview, when we, the rich self-focused Americans in my town, never relationally presented him with another worldview? When instead we probably only reinforced his hate for us? In his culture he would have been accepted in a new place. In ours, he was shunned. For all I know, I might have walked right by him five times in the course of five days, while never even smiling at him. The people who carry a culture and religion is what perpetuates that ideology. We, the people, by changing our attitudes towards Muslims just might have influence on the very ideology we fight in courts against.  Simply, by just showing some love.

Muslim Halal Food Sales Supporting Terrorism?

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Christmas Politickle

Those who know me know that I am not really too into politics.  Usually.

That is to say, I do like comparing politics with the Bible. Typically this is just a messy hobby, kinda like how I assume painting abstract art would be. In fact, I often just use politics for my own activist agenda, and then don’t care. I might as well be slapping mustard and ketchup onto the governmental canvas, adding my minuscule sway just in case it makes the painting look better. Most of the time, though, I only get annoyed by things I don’t like on each side of the red-and-blue political spectrum. This frustration is similar to how football players generally get annoyed when they think they see a good play hidden within a Jackson Pollock painting (but then get angered because it’s not really there). Why is it not there, you may ask? I assume it is because Pollock did not really care about football. At least not enough to hide secret cool football game-moves inside of his paintings. I guess I should do a little research to back that last statement up, but if you are so interested (or know a Red Skins player who is) feel free to get back to me with any notable findings.

My point is that I think politics are annoying and interesting at the same time. And that it is hard to justify religious beliefs in politics, even though in reality that is the foundation of all politics: Values. And, if you don’t know, values come from worldviews, which are pretty much a mash-up of cultures and religions, blah, blah, blah. And luckily, I can back that statement up because I studied it for years in college (I know you were concerned).

Therefore, I find it fun to make fun of politics (in fun). So with that said, I share this Merry Christmas politickle-me-laughing clip with you. Even so, I do have to say that Colbert’s last couple sentences in this were pretty much exceptionally thought-provoking, if not totally right-on. Note: No disrespect is intended towards my more right (double-meaning?) republican friends or for Baby Jesus by re-posting this (whom actually isn’t a baby anymore).

 
Because WordPress won’t let me embed the video- CLICK HERE – to listen to Stephen Colbert’s “Democrats Don’t Get Christmas.”

Pray for a Recently Attacked Village in Burma

This makes me sad, knowing this is just happening. This sounds like a typical genocidal displacement the Burmese Army has been conducting with regularity for years. They target villages of minorities and/or minority religions (like Christians, as in this village) and randomly attack them, trying to kill or at least hurt those in the village. Can you take a few minutes to pray for those in this village today? I don’t know much about this ministry, although I have received their updates for awhile.The idea of making cards and sending them to encourage those who survived seemed to be a cool idea. I haven’t researched the organization enough for me to recommend donating to them. Below is the email I received (Somewhat in thick Christianese).

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Brothers and sisters,

   If you are reading this, I am confident in the Lord in you, that the recent events of which I shall describe will be prayed over fervently.  On July 22nd an entire village was assaulted and razed to the ground in E. Burma.  This might not mean that much, perhaps a blip of news from a faraway country that has problems like this all the time, I pray and trust it means not so to thee.  As I prepare to send my team leader in before the sun shines this very moment, hiding in the jungle are countless men, women and children.  The casualty total is not known just yet, nor will it be soon.  The very pulpit of a church in which my Pastor, Joe Tuccinardi, myself, and other brothers have preached in is ashes.  The very schools that were built with men’s hands through the donations of some blessed brethren stand no more.  As I write and hear the monsoon rains I know our brothers and sisters in Christ are burying their dead, hiding in the forest, wet, cold and hungry.  This is one of the brazen attacks recently, and there shall be more.  As I met with some strong brothers in the Lord this evening/night, as they prepare to answer God’s call on their lives going back “home” tomorrow, we lose not hope.  We are not discouraged, we are not destroyed, we will not give up in believing that God shall use this according to His Will, that His sovereign hand was upon all the comings and goings of the Burmese Army.  We prayed for the “enemy”, knowing that they are just in darkness, blind, needing love, compassion and grace to touch their hearts now.  We prayed for all those who are mourning, who have lost more than loved ones, who have no other desire but to till the land and worship Christ peacefully.  More than likely this very moment that you are reading this someone is being raped, someone is starving to death, someone is burying their child but they, nor we shall lose hope, for our hope does not disappoint.  Now is the time to pray more than ever, if I am a voice crying in the wilderness, so be it, I shall call upon the God of Jacob, the Lord of Hosts for only His arm is not shortened, it can save.  Until I have official clearance to release the full report of this massacre, God knows its name and more importantly His sheep that dwell within it.  Pray with us please, your prayers change things.  I am unworthy and so blessed to be laying next to my “miracle” son, and my wonderful wife right now.  I don’t deserve to have a roof over my head for my Savior had none, I don’t have a right to breathe if not for Christ.  As the faces and voices of the brothers and sisters in Muthraw District play over and over in my mind, only smiles, laughing, praying, worshiping, working hard with our hands, enduring hardship without a single complaint are their personifications.  I know not which ones I will see on this earth again, but I am confident that right now some are in a glorious new body, in the presence of the glory of the throne of God. 

   Weep with those who weep, yay, rejoice with those who rejoice, but I encourage thee ne’er to be tween the two, ne’er be in doubt, for our God is mighty, holy and the great I AM.  Please direct your prayers towards Muthraw District, E. Burma, specifically as the Holy Spirit imparts unto thee, or don’t if you have not the time, we still love you the same only because He loved us first. 

    I am writing this as fast as possible, and prayerfully tomorrow the first load of relief will arrive, but God is there and here now, so pray, I beseech thee, as you have been so faithful before to do.  If you feel like writing I will make sure whatever you send (letters, postcards, a hand drawn picture) will be hand delivered to a weary soul in search of a cold cup of water, good news from a far country. If you are moved with compassion to be a part of giving immediate assistance, please don’t hesitate, bibles, rice, plastic tarps, pots, baby clothes and medicine will get to those who need it, and we will rebuild the schools, the churches and the homes, so after the landmines are cleared and the SPDC retreats, warmth and love and fellowship in Christ will continue.  All information is below, all wisdom, power and authority is above, go boldly before the throne of God.

Unworthy to die for Christ,
P. James and the Love in Action team E. Burma
“Please don’t pray that God takes away whatever sufferings He has for us, we thank Him, please pray we may be steadfast and have strength to be faithful until the end”-  Thera Doh **** **, Karen Pastor of the main church that was burnt down when I asked him what does he want prayer for.

Mailing address:
LIA c/o James Garwood
P.O. Box 67
Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son
Thailand, 58110

Paypal donations:fordomosake@gmail.com

In USA email Pastor Joe Tuccinardi for more details thaicalvary@aol.com

Love in Action
5353 Steamboat Way
Boise, ID 83713

Global Prayer Day for Burma

I believe I might have written about Burma, before. Although my rumpled Spanish might seem like a clue that I have a thing for South & Central America, my heart is full for Asia. Considering Burma, (politically referred to as Myanmar, though not international recognized as such), there are a lot of human rights abuses and other issues to keep in prayer this day. We are not just talking “Boy would it be nice if they were democratic, like us.” We are talking about an authoritative military regime trying to drive out or kill anyone who is a minority group, a Christian, or overtly an advocate for democracy. Let’s just say that I would not be welcomed there, and neither would you. I mean, they aren’t that terrible. In the recent protest led by myriads of peaceful Buddhist monks (The Saffron Revolution of 2007) only a hundred people were killed, a few thousand were jailed, and a few hundred were beaten/shot. Of course know one knows for sure, as the official toll from the military government is undoubtedly very understated, and its not too agree on other estimates.  Sadly, the attempted revolution didn’t change anything. 

This link gives a lot more information on the current state of things: http://prayforburma.org/
This video actually somehow makes understanding a little more about Burma entertaining, if you want to check it out:

FourThings I Recently Like

Understanding Stay-At-Home Moms:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Stay-At-Home-Mother?utm_source=fb&utm_campaign=newsfeed

Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map of the World