Nun: The Sign of Genocide

Aug. 1: a day of solidarity and prayer.
Nun (ن), the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet (the equivalent of letter N in our Roman alphabet), is the first letter of the word Nasara (نصارى : Nazarenes)…
It is the same name of the equivalent letter (נ) in the Hebrew alphabet (also a Semitic language), and it reminds us of the words of Jeremiah, also crying for an exile of his people sent to Mesopotamia:
Nun. The yoke of my iniquities hath watched: they are folded together in his hand, and put upon my neck: my strength is weakened: the Lord hath delivered me into a hand out of which I am not able to rise. (Lamentations, 1)
In their genocidal physical elimination of Christians from the Mesopotamian city of Mosul, Muslim terrorists marked each Christian-owned institution and building with this letter, for the extermination of holdouts and expropriation of their belongings:

 

 

 

 

They mean it as a mark of shame, we must then wear it as a mark of hope: Yes, we are in the army of the Resurrected Nazarene, the Master and Lord of the Universe, the Man who is God Almighty, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. You may kill our brethren and expel them, but we Christians will never go away.
.

“I changed it because of the lack of response.”

When asked why he changed his profile picture to the ن, political consultant Ryan Girdusky said, “I changed it because of the lack of response by our media and our president . . . We feel like the Christian community is being persecuted at the same time the Palestinians are being given constant attention. There is a Christian genocide and no one is paying attention.”

 

via National Review Online.

“Leaflet tells Jews to register in East Ukraine” (Updated)

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website, and Ukraine’s Donbass news agency.

via USA Today

Don’t even know what to say.

This is horrible.

The leaflet begins “Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality” and states that all people of Jewish descent over 16 years old must report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and “register.”

It says the reason is because the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendery Junta, a reference to Stepan Bandera, the leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement that fought for Ukrainian independence at the end of World War II, “and oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk,” a name adopted by the militant leadership.

The leaflet then described which documents Jews should provide: “ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles.”

Consequences for non-compliance will result in citizenship being revoked “and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property,” it said. A registration fee of $50 would be required, it said.

UPDATE: Apparently this was some sort of sick hoax.

Still pretty horrible, IMO.

Trying So Hard…Coming So Close….

Ever have a ‘friend’ insist that you shouldn’t be prosecuted for a crime you didn’t commit because obviously you’re too stupid to have committed the crime?

It’s known as a “backhanded compliment”, I think.

The facts of her case do suggest that she regards marriage as a religious sacrament with a procreative purpose, that her Christian beliefs cause her to reject same-sex marriage, and that her business discriminates against same-sex weddings because she believes wedding photography requires artistic efforts to render the subject captured in a positive light. She believes making that effort would be wrong.

In America, there is plenty of homophobia, plenty of anti-gay bigotry, and plenty of people whose antagonism to gays and lesbians is rooted in hatred. Sometimes the language of religious liberty is used to justify behavior that is anything but Christ-like. But the Slate article is implicitly trafficking in its own sort of prejudice. The working assumption is that homophobia, anti-gay bigotry, and hatred are obviously what’s motivating anyone who declines to provide a service for a gay wedding.

That assumption is wrongheaded. A closer look at the photographer’s case is the best place to begin. Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin lost a case before the New Mexico Supreme Court, and have now appealed the ruling. As noted in their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Huguenins’ photography business does serve gay and lesbian clients, just not same-sex weddings. Insofar as a photographer can distinguish between discriminating against a class of client and a type of event—there is, perhaps, a limit—their business does so: “The Huguenins gladly serve gays and lesbians—by, for example, providing them with portrait photography—whenever doing so would not require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”

The photography business has also turned down clients other than gay and lesbian couples while citing religious objections. “They have declined requests for nude maternity pictures,” their petition states, “and photographs portraying violence.”

Finally, it isn’t just same-sex weddings they’d be uncomfortable photographing: their petition states that they’d also refuse business capturing a polygamous marriage.

Set aside for a moment the tension here between individual liberty and non-discrimination law. Whether you think the New Mexico Supreme Court decided the case rightly or wrongly, that is separate from the question of what motivated Elaine Huguenin. I’ve never met the woman. None of us can look inside her heart. But her petition presents a perfectly plausible account of why she would refuse to photograph same-sex weddings for perfectly common religious reasons that have nothing to do with fear of gays, intolerance toward gays, or hatred of gay people.

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has spent an appreciable amount of time around practicing Christians. In such circles, there are plenty of ugly attitudes toward gays and lesbians, as well as lots of people who think gay and lesbian sex and marriage is sinful, but who bear no ill will toward gays and lesbians themselves. I wish even the latter group would reconsider. I don’t regard homosexuality as sinful. Unlike my friends in the orthodox Catholic community, I don’t regard sex before marriage or masturbation or the use of contraceptives or failing to attend Sunday Mass as sinful either.

via The Atlantic

Listen to the unwitting nature of that condescending “well maybe we shouldn’t be quite so bigoted toward those backwards people but ohhhh I do so wish they would give up their primitive superstitions already….”

They aren’t arguing for the “coexistance” they claim to prize so highly; “diversity” in this case is not to be celebrated. That Christians are to be tolerated in this case is based on the fact that they’re wrong, stupid, and immoral, “but”….

It’s the lack of self-awareness that is so weird. What makes Christians so awful is their lack of desire to celebrate other peoples’ values. So how come the people who claim that celebrating other peoples’ values is such a great thing to do are themselves exempt? If diversity is a good thing, then why do they act as if Christians holding out marriage as sacred – honoring more than just the sexual pleasure but the whole thing – is somehow evil, in a way that is far more urgent than, say, Islamic honor killings?

Most people are not even aware of the problems that could (and, I predict, will) be associated with same-sex marriage. The issue is the culmination of two disastrous policies: “identity politics” (the idea that justice should be adjusted according to your status as “victim” or “privileged”), and the sexual revolution (the idea that adult pleasure should be prioritized over the well-being of children, families, and social obligations). Both ideas are unsustainable, not only because they are unjust but ultimately because they aren’t grounded in truth – or even reality.

I suspect that, before this issue is done, the secular humanists are going to end up learning a lot more about why Christians hold concupiscence to be contrary to God’s will.

If my wife and I had contacted a wedding photographer who said she refused to photograph our ceremony because we’d “lived in sin” together before marriage….

I actually have experienced such a thing: a particular wedding professional made it very clear that he does not go outside his own denominational beliefs, and we could just deal with it. Can you imagine if I’d played drama queen victim and tried to file a lawsuit? How ridiculous would it be, for a grown-up person to throw a temper tantrum because they’ve encountered religious beliefs that are different from their own!

And I should also note: the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize my marriage. I am not three and therefore I can handle the existence of a person separate from myself without feeling the need to find the nearest available courtroom so that I can drum my heels against the floor and scream like Veruca Salt in front of everyone.

If we want a level playing field with fairness and justice for all, let the law focus on crimes of violence, and let individuals use persuasion in all other matters. This means letting people get away with doing wrong, as long as they commit no act of outright aggression. Even if it is wrong for Elaine to discriminate, we must be tolerant of such behavior if we want to live in a free society with a thriving entrepreneurial base. Those who take joy in this case because the law has ruled in their favor may come to regret a future day when that precedent is used to rule against them. The better way is to not give government such power in the first place.

via Forbes

Two Separate Questions

So what are we to make of the divisions that emerged in the course of Arizona’s consideration of its version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the responses it inspired? I think it comes down to a matter of priorities, and to the broad-based willingness to let personal inclinations about what society ought to look like overwhelm a reasonable understanding of the ramifications of giving government the power to shape that society.

via The Federalist

Two question:

  1. “What society should look like” – that is, we should or shouldn’t limit Christian power, and/or we should or shouldn’t limit gay rights, or whatever.
    (In other words, the ends that may or may not justify the means.)
  2. Question #2: Should government have the power to shape society into (1)?

Are people even thinking at all about how it might change our world to change our structure of governance – changing the right to be free from governmental coercion into the right to use government to coerce the other guy?

“Mini Me Jesus”

So what’s wrong with a pasty white, Gary Busey, Mini Me Jesus? Why not just let people make Jesus in the image they want — the image that makes them feel the most comfortable?

Reason 1: It’s just wrong.

via Mini Me Jesus | Rev. Susan Sparks.

I think the important question is not whether a white Jesus is wrong; everyone knows white skin is bad – or “pasty”, as HuffPo repeatedly emphasizes.

The question is whether the Africans who have made Him black, and the Asians who have made Him Asian, need to be corrected.

Does the earthly form matter? Should the “historical Jesus” be what Christians focus on, mostly or exclusively?

Or is Jesus like all of us? Should we encourage the idea that he is white – and black and Asian – as well as Middle Eastern?

I always liked medieval art specifically because it isn’t so literal, but is instead representative of spiritual truths. I don’t think what color Jesus is really matters very much, but I do think it’s wrong to try to shame, guilt, or embarrass those who view Jesus “wrong”.

“Liberalism by gesture”

Today Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius may be the second-most serendipitously named court case in U.S. history, second to Loving v. Virginia (wherein Richard Loving, who was white, and his wife Mildred, who was black, in 1967 overturned Virginia’s law against interracial marriages). The Little Sisters are challenging the Obamacare mandate that makes them complicit in providing, through their health insurance, contraception, something that offends their faith.

This mandate illustrates Gesture Liberalism: It is unimportant to the structure of Obamacare. It has nothing to do with real insurance, which protects against unexpected developments — car insurance does not pay for oil changes. The mandate covers a minor expense: Target sells a month of birth control pills for $9 . The mandate is, however, a gesture affirming liberalism’s belief that any institution of civil society can be properly broken to the saddle of the state.

via The Washington Post.

This article is incorrect: gestures are not “more amusing than consequential”.

The government shouldn’t be telling us what we have to buy – especially when it’s telling us to buy something that is (a) not a compelling interest and (b) is an interest that could be accomplished in a less intrusive way.

“Geeks for Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries”

The Backlash gets media attention:

Many of us yearn for a return to one golden age or another. But there’s a community of bloggers taking the idea to an extreme: they want to turn the dial way back to the days before the French Revolution.

Neoreactionaries believe that while technology and capitalism have advanced humanity over the past couple centuries, democracy has actually done more harm than good. They propose a return to old-fashioned gender roles, social order and monarchy.

You may have seen them crop-up on tech hangouts like Hacker News and Less Wrong, having cryptic conversations about “Moldbug” and “the Cathedral.” And though neoreactionaries aren’t exactly rampant in the tech industry, PayPal founder Peter Thiel has voiced similar ideas, and Pax Dickinson, the former CTO of Business Insider, says he\’s been influenced by neoreactionary thought. It may be a small, minority world view, but it’s one that I think shines some light on the psyche of contemporary tech culture….

…“Reactionary” originally meant someone who opposed the French Revolution, and today the term generally refers to those who would like to return to some pre-existing state of affairs….

…Perhaps the one thing uniting all neoreactionaries is a critique of modernity that centers on opposition to democracy in all its forms. Many are former libertarians who decided that freedom and democracy were incompatible.

“Demotist systems, that is, systems ruled by the ‘People,’ such as Democracy and Communism, are predictably less financially stable than aristocratic systems,” Anissimov writes. “On average, they undergo more recessions and hold more debt. They are more susceptible to market crashes. They waste more resources. Each dollar goes further towards improving standard of living for the average person in an aristocratic system than in a Democratic one.”

Exactly what sort of monarchy they’d prefer varies. Some want something closer to theocracy, while Yarvin proposes turning nation states into corporations with the king as chief executive officer and the aristocracy as shareholders….

…Yarvin proposes that countries should be small – city states, really – and that all they should compete for citizens. “If residents don’t like their government, they can and should move,” he writes. “The design is all ‘exit,’ no ‘voice.’”

via TechCrunch.

They are ignoring the problem, of course, which is that there is nothing at all to stop abuse when citizens have no voice.

Of course, why would that bother them, anyway? They imagine themselves the kings, not the subjects – a naive thought, but then their expertise is in tech, not politics.

To be clear though, pure neoreaction is an extreme minority position that will probably never catch on beyond a tiny cult following. But there has been an explosion of interest since late 2012, despite the fact that Hoppe, Sailer, Yarvin and others have been writing about this stuff for years (and neoreaction’s European cousin archeofuturism has been around even longer). And this interest just happens to coincide with growing media attention being paid to the problems of the tech industry, from sexism in video games to “bro culture” in the tech industry to gentrification in the Bay Area.

And many professionals, rather than admit to their role in gentrification, wealth disparity and job displacement, are casting themselves as victims. This sense of persecution leads us to our next neoreactionary theme.

The Cathedral

Neoreactionaries believe “The Cathedral,” is a meta-institution that consists largely of Harvard and other Ivy League schools, The New York Times and various civil servants. Anissimov calls it a “self-organizing consensus.” Sometimes the term is used synonymously with political correctness. The fundamental idea is that the Cathedral regulates our discussions enforces a set of norms as to what sorts of ideas are acceptable and how we view history – it controls the Overton window, in other words.The name comes from Yarvin’s idea that progressivism (and in his view, even today’s far right Republicans are progressive) is a religion, and that the media-academic-civil service complex punishes “heretical” views.

So what exactly is the Cathedral stopping neoreactionaries from talking about? Well, the merits of monarchy for starters. But mostly, as far as I can tell, they want to be able to say stuff like “Asians, Jews and whites are smarter than blacks and Hispanics because genetics” without being called racist. Or at least be able to express such views without the negative consequences of being labeled racist.

Speaking of which, neoreactionaries are obsessed with a concept called “human biodiversity” (HBD) – what used to be called “scientific racism.” Specifically, they believe that IQ is one of – if not the – most important personal traits, and that it’s predominately genetic. Neoreactionaries would replace, or supplement, the “divine right” of kings and the aristocracy with the “genetic right” of elites.

To call these claims “controversial” would be putting it lightly, but they underpin much of anti-egalitarian and pro-traditionalist claims neoreactionaries make. Delving into the scientific debate over race, genetics and IQ is beyond the scope of this article, but I’ve included some links on the topic in the reading list.

It’s not hard to see why this ideology would catch-on with white male geeks. It tells them that they are the natural rulers of the world, but that they are simultaneously being oppressed by a secret religious order. And the more media attention is paid to workplace inequality, gentrification and the wealth gap, the more their bias is confirmed. And the more the neoreactionaries and techbros act out, the more the media heat they bring.

Hijacking + Projection

I love the headline “Rigid ideologues hijack the term ‘Christians,’ excluding all others

It’s so marvelously bold: claim yourself the real “Christian”, and the people who continue to insist that Christianity is what it has always been are now evicted from their own religious home, because they’re not materialist enough. It’s your home now, eh, Mr. Endicott? You’ll say who does and does not belong in the house, eh? Very Christian of you, one might say.

If Christianity does not have a place for people who wish to preference the spiritual over the physical, then where could such people belong? Or is that the point – that Mr. Endicott’s argument is that we should want a world where such people (“rigid ideologues”*) are not welcome anywhere?

(Speaking of diversity.)

It’s a hijacking, of course – a hijacking pretending to be a defense against hijacking. The person occupying the territory pretends the territory is and always was his, and these other people are the invaders. But ideas can be traced. We know which concepts come from Christianity and which thoughts come from some other place – in this case, from the European Enlightenment.

The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason) was a cultural movement of intellectuals in the 17th and 18th centuries, which began first in Europe and later in the American colonies. Its purpose was to reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method. It promoted scientific thought, skepticism and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition,[1] intolerance and some abuses of power by the church and the state.

(Where “superstition” and “intolerance” are their way of referring to Christianity.)

So what is it that divides “real” Christians from “false” ones, according to the Sacramento Bee? Mr. Endicott starts off with an anecdote about a “bigoted”** Christian, and then reveals his true issue:

The fact is that gay and lesbian persons, as with heterosexual persons, live many different lifestyles, and many are devout Christians, in the best sense of that word.

Because real Christians don’t believe in the God who deals in what the Enlightenment calls “superstition and intolerance” (aka Christianity). Real Christians reject the Jesus of the Bible for Jesus the Magic Teddy Bear®, who affirms all your choices no matter what.

(And giggles when you squeeze his belly.)

The “sleight of hand” tactic the Mr. Endicotts of the world rely on (here and elsewhere) is to argue that by resisting attempts to destroy the boundaries between Christian and non-Christian beliefs, I must obviously be motivated by hatefulness toward those who are not living in accordance with Christian beliefs. This is a form of the ‘false dichotomy’ fallacy; this has nothing to do with being gay. It’s about being honest.

Christianity is itself a lifestyle, and one can say the Christian lifestyle is not compatible with other lifestyles without making any value judgment on either lifestyle. You can live according to Christian beliefs or you can live according to humanist beliefs. You can be a kosher Jew or you can join the Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen. You can be a vegetarian or you can eat lots of beef. Opportunity cost continues to be a real thing.

If you’re talking about making Christianity be something it never was before, then you are not within your rights to argue that the people who resist your “improvements” are “not real Christians”. Neither language nor logic works that way.

If you want to argue that humanist beliefs are better than Christian beliefs, do it honestly.

_____________________________
*Another way of saying “rigid ideologue” might be to recognize the concept of integrity

**The “bigoted” Christian was a Protestant who believes Catholics aren’t really Christian. While I do not know how mean-spirited her comment really was, it is simply a fact that Protestants as a group believe that the Pope is a false idol (this is the basis of the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent split between the two groups). Some denominations believe this matters a great deal, whereas other denominations are able to be more laid back about it. Likewise, a lot of Christians don’t believe Mormons are “real Christians”. This may or may not be mean-spirited; whether one actually detests Mormons is a separate question than whether one believes Mormons are genuinely Christian – because the question of whether a Mormon “is” Christian or not depends on how one defines Christianity. Any group with a shared identity is naturally going to have struggles over where and how to set boundaries – and it is this struggle that Mr. Endicott is trying to exploit, arguing simultaneously that we should extend the charitable spirit to include Catholics and materialists (presumably because that charitable spirit is the essence of Christianity) even as he turns right back around by claiming that while Catholics and materialists should be included, people who object to either group being counted as Christian should not.

The ought-to-be-obvious problem with this is that materialism is the antithesis of Christianity. They are historical rivals. They are not compatible. This is why the so-called “mainstream” Christian denominations are disappearing: if you embrace the assumptions of humanism, you are by definition rejecting the core teachings of Christianity.