Darkness imminent 10

It is our contention that Christianity brought a thousand years of darkness down on Europe. It extinguished the bright light of classical culture, of which Socratean doubt, the need to examine all ideas critically, was the enlightening principle. Christianity claimed a monopoly of truth, and the  totalitarian-minded Catholic Church did its utmost to suppress dissent by the cruelest means imaginable. So did Protestant churches as far as they could reach. Like Communism and all ideological orthodoxies, Christianity feared open criticism, recognizing that it’s power could not survive argument. The Enlightenment proved that to be the case; a great upwelling of doubt, criticism, exploration and discovery, it loosened the grip of theocratic tyranny, dispersed the darkness of superstition, and let Europe flower again after a long and terrible night. Science flourished once more, achieving an immense extension of knowledge and giving birth to new technologies. The might of the West is rooted in the Greco-Roman culture revived in the Enlightenment, not in a “Judeo-Christian tradition”.

Now darkness is descending again on the West. Islam, a tyranny of the mind as cruel as Christianity and even more intolerant, an ideology from the Dark Ages that forbids criticism and kills critics, is spreading rapidly through Europe and America, zealously assisted by Western governments and passionately defended by the intelligentsia of the political left – which on principle favors ideological conformity and its totalitarian enforcement.

This is from the Stonegate Institute, by Soeren Kern:

The European Union has offered to host the next meeting of the so-called Istanbul Process, an aggressive effort by Muslim countries to make it an international crime to criticize Islam.

The announcement comes less than one month after the United States hosted its own Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC.

The Istanbul Process – its explicit aim is to enshrine in international law a global ban on all critical scrutiny of Islam and/or Islamic Sharia law – is being spearheaded by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a bloc of 57 Muslim countries.

Based in Saudi Arabia, the OIC has long pressed the European Union and the United States to impose limits on free speech and expression about Islam.

But the OIC has now redoubled its efforts and is engaged in a determined diplomatic offensive to persuade Western democracies to implement United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 16/18, which calls on all countries to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” (Analysis of the OIC’s war on free speech can be found here and here.)

Resolution 16/18, which was adopted at HRC headquarters in Geneva in March 2011, is widely viewed as a significant step forward in OIC efforts to advance the international legal concept of defaming Islam.

However, the HRC resolution – as well as the OIC-sponsored Resolution 66/167, which was quietly approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011 – remains ineffectual as long as it lacks strong support in the West.

The OIC therefore scored a diplomatic coup when the Obama Administration agreed to host a three-day Istanbul Process conference in Washington, DC on December 12-14, 2011. In doing so, the United States gave the OIC the political legitimacy it has been seeking to globalize its initiative to ban criticism of Islam.

Following the Obama Administration’s lead, the European Union now wants to get in on the action by hosting the next Istanbul Process summit, tentatively scheduled for July 2012.

Up until now, the European Union has kept the OIC initiative at arms-length. But Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the OIC, says the EU’s offer to host the meeting represents a “qualitative shift in action against the phenomenon of Islamophobia,” according to the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the OIC’s official news/propaganda organ.

According to the IINA, “The phenomenon of Islamophobia is found in the West in general, but is growing in European countries in particular and in a manner different than that in the US, which had contributed to drafting Resolution 16/18. The new European position represents the beginning of the shift from their previous reserve over the years over the attempts by the OIC to counter ‘defamation of religions’ in the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. …

Europe is retreating from the Enlightenment. But not without  protest.

The OIC is especially angry over its inability to silence a growing number of democratically elected politicians in Europe who have voiced concerns over the refusal of Muslim immigrants to integrate into their host countries and the consequent establishment of parallel Islamic societies in many parts of Europe.

According to the IINA, “Ihsanoglu said that the growing role of the extreme right in politics in several European countries has become stronger than the capacity of the Organization [OIC], explaining that the extreme right, who [sic] hates Muslims, became leverage in the hands of politicians. He added that the rise of the extreme right through elections has become an issue that cannot be countered, considering the democratic way in which these extremists reach their positions. He pointed out to the referendum held in Switzerland, as an example, which resulted in suspending the construction of minarets there following a vote by the Swiss people.”

In other words, the OIC is now seeking the support of non-elected bureaucrats at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels to enact pan-European hate speech legislation to limit by fiat what 500 million European citizens – including democratically elected politicians – can and cannot say about Islam.

To be sure, many individual European countries that lack First Amendment protections like those in the United States have already enacted hate speech laws that effectively serve as proxies for the all-encompassing blasphemy legislation the OIC is seeking to impose on the European Union as a whole.

The author lists a dozen examples of Europeans who have dared to raise their voices to criticize the barbarous ideology of Islam and defend their own culture, only to be prosecuted and punished for it under recently enacted, bad and stupid laws. Among them, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and Geert Wilders, whose cases we have discussed in our posts: The West on trial (December 16, 2009); Freedom versus Islam (January 20, 2010); Civilization on trial (October 11,2010); An honest confession of hypocrisy (October 23, 2010);The new heresy (January 11, 2011); Darkness descending – again (February 7, 2011); Sharia is the law in Austria (December 25, 2011); Only the gagged may speak freely (December 26/11).

Almost everywhere in Europe now, “speaking the truth about Islam is subject to swift and hefty legal penalties” as the author says.

Why should any religion be exempt from criticism? Religious ideas above all need to be criticized, being the most irrational and the most oppressive. And even more than other religions, Islam needs to be dragged into the sunlight. It is the only intolerant religion of our time –  and it is asking to be protected from intolerance!

Right now, when Islam is intent on conquering the West by all possible means including terrorism, it is especially necessary to be Islamophobic.

Americans must resist the Obama administration’s efforts to help the OIC drive our world back into darkness. At least in the United States – the great product and political embodiment of the Enlightenment – the light of liberty must be kept burning.

Protecting Islam from criticism 4

It’s becoming more urgent than ever to criticize Islam. 

To criticize it is the best way to defeat it. Muslim leaders know this, so they’re trying to criminalize criticism of their appalling religion and unjust system of law.

The United Nations is doing what it can to help them. And the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is stretching as far as she can to support the UN measures while keeping one foot in the US Constitution.

Earlier this month the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, was in Washington, welcomed by Hillary Clinton at the State Department.

Clare M. Lopez writes at American Thinker:

It is critical that Americans pay attention to what these two leaders intend to do. From 12 to 14 December 2011, working teams from the Department of State (DoS) and the OIC [discussed] implementation mechanisms that could impose limits on freedom of speech and expression.

The OIC’s purpose, as stated explicitly in its April 2011 4th Annual Report on Islamophobia, is to criminalize “incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds.” Incitement is to be defined by applying the “test of consequences” to speech. … It doesn’t matter what someone actually says – or even whether it is true or not; if someone else commits violence and says it’s because of something that person said, the speaker will be held criminally liable.

Let’s understand this clearly. If a non-Muslim says something about Islam that Muslims don’t like and they proceed to riot or bomb or assault or kill, the non-Muslim will be held responsible for the damage and the crimes? 

Yes, that’s the idea. If it were to become law in the US, it would be a huge victory for Islam and a tragedy for America.        

The OIC is taking direct aim at free speech and expression about Islam. Neither Christianity nor Judaism is named in the OIC’s official documents, whose only concern is to make the world safe from “defamation” of Islam – a charge that includes speaking truthfully about the national security implications of the Islamic doctrine of jihad. …

Islam is now the only religion in the world that persecutes other religions. But the Obama administration thinks it needs protection.

Last March, the State Department and Secretary Clinton insisted that “combating intolerance based on religion” can be accomplished without compromising Americans’ treasured First Amendment rights.

Sure, just as you can swim without  getting wet.

The OIC …  is openly dedicated to implementing Islamic law globally. This is why it is so important to pay attention not only to the present agenda, but to a series of documents leading up to it, issued by both the U.S. and the OIC. From 12 to 14 December 2011, the DoS and OIC working teams [focussed] on implementation mechanisms for “Resolution 16/18,” a declaration that was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council in April 2011.

Resolution 16/18 was hailed as a victory by Clinton, because it calls on countries to combat “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization” based on religion without criminalizing free speech — except in cases of “incitement to imminent violence.” But if the criterion for determining “incitement to imminent violence” is a new “test of consequences,” then this is nothing but an invitation to stage Muslim “Days of Rage” following the slightest perceived offense by a Western blogger, instructor, or radio show guest, all of whom will be held legally liable for “causing” the destruction, possibly even if what they’ve said is merely a statement of fact. …

In fact, the “test of consequences” is already being applied rigorously in European media and courts, where any act or threat of violence – whether by a jihadist, insane person, or counter-jihadist – is defined as a “consequence” of statements that are critical of some aspect of Islam and, therefore, to be criminalized. Recent trials of Dutch political leader Geert Wilders, Austrian free speech champion Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, and Danish Islamic expert Lars Hedegaard … all attest to the extent of these “hate speech” laws’ oppressive pall over what is left of the European Enlightenment. Now, if the OIC and the Obama administration have their way, it’s America’s turn.

The invention of “hate crime” was always stupid. It cannot matter what emotion accompanies a crime, all that matters is that it is a crime.

Once it’s understood that under Islamic law, “slander” is defined as saying “anything concerning a person [a Muslim] that he would dislike,” the scope of potential proximate causes of Muslim rage becomes obvious. Clearly, the OIC feels some sense of urgency to get the rest of the non-Muslim world, and especially the U.S., on board with these objectives as Paragraph 10:

“Expresses the need to pursue as a matter of priority, a common policy aimed at preventing defamation of Islam perpetrated under the pretext and justification of the freedom of expression in particular through media and Internet.” …

Even the Internet they will censor of they can.

The OIC’s objective has long since been entered into official U.N. language. … It required bringing the U.S. on board with the program to enforce Islamic law on slander. With the willing participation of the Obama administration, the OIC has tackled both of these challenges.

Tackling them “would  appear to [have been] the agenda in Washington, D.C. from December 12 to 14 at the meeting between Clinton and OIC Secretary General Ihsanoglu.”

It would not be overreaching to conclude that the purpose of this meeting, at least from the OIC perspective, [was]  to convince the Obama administration that free speech that rouses Muslim masses to fury … must be restricted under U.S. law to bring it into compliance with sharia law’s dictates on slander.

Clinton’s own statements reflect the OIC language … “Together we have begun to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression … We are pursuing a new approach based on concrete steps … to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.”

Shaming is precisely what should be used to make the ideology of Islam so universally abhorred that no one dare speak for it. Instead, Hillary Clinton wants to make us ashamed to utter a word against it.

At least this statement of hers shows she recognizes that she cannot use law to achieve the purpose. Or can she? It seems the Obama administration is trying to get round the first amendment by using laws against defamation.

The language of these resolutions instead stresses “the importance of expediting the implementation process of its decision on developing a legally binding international instrument to prevent intolerance, discrimination, prejudice and hatred on the grounds of religion, and defamation of religions.”

It mustn’t be allowed to happen. Pay attention, the writer says, because –

An informed citizenry, as always, remains the final defense of the Republic.

An informed and critical citizenry, we would add. 

Ten years after 9/11 – who’s winning (2) 0

Yesterday we claimed that in the very long run we atheists will win the war with Islam, because in the very long run mankind will outgrow religion.

We have to concede that at present Islam is winning most of the battles.

Diana West explains this well. She writes:

It is something to have gone 10 years without an Islamic attack of similarly gigantic proportions to those of Sept. 11, 2001, but it is not enough. That’s because the decade we look back on is marked by a specifically Islamic brand of security from jihad. It was a security bought by the Bush and Obama administrations’ policies of appeasement based in apology for, and irrational denial of, Islam’s war doctrine, its anti-liberty laws and its non-Western customs. As a result of this policy of appeasement — submission — we now stand poised on the brink of a golden age.

Tragically for freedom of speech, conscience and equality before the law, however, it is an Islamic golden age. It’s not just the post-9/11 rush into Western society of Islamic tenets and traditions on everything from law to finance to diet that has heralded this golden age, although that’s part of it. More important is the fact that our central institutions have actively primed themselves for it, having absorbed and implemented the central codes of Islam in the years since the 9/11 attacks, exactly as the jihadists hoped and schemed.

Take the U.S. military, symbol plus enforcer of American security.

In Afghanistan, our forces are now “trained on the sanctity of the holy book (the Quran) and go to significant steps to protect it,” as the official International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) website reported last year.

Are they similarly trained to take “significant steps” to “protect” other books? Hardly. It’s reckless and irresponsible to demand that troops make the protection of any book a priority in a war zone. But it’s not merely the case that U.S. troops have become protectors of the Quran in the decade following 9/11. “Never talk badly about the Qu’ran or its contents,” ISAF ordered troops earlier this year. Did the Pentagon restrict language about “Mein Kampf” or the “Communist Manifesto”? They, too, were blueprints for world conquest that the United States opposed. Of course not. But the Quran is different. It is protected by Islamic law, and that’s enough for the Pentagon. Not incidentally, ISAF further cautioned troops to direct suspects to remove any Qurans from the vicinity before troops conduct a search — no doubt for the unstated fear that infidel troops might defile the protected book. None may “touch the Qu’ran except in the state of ritual purity,” the Islamic law book Reliance of the Traveller declares. …

Since when did Uncle Sam incorporate Islamic law into military protocols?

Since 9/11.

Now take the State Department, symbol and nerve center of U.S. action on the world stage.

In July, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a collaborative effort between the United States and the OIC, newly repackaged as Organization of the Islamic Cooperation. (It used to be “C” for Conference.) The get-together planned for Washington, D.C., is supposed to implement a non-binding resolution against religious “stereotyping” (read: Islamic “stereotyping”) that passed last March at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Such “stereotyping,” of course, includes everything from honest assessments of the links between Islamic doctrine and Islamic terrorism to political cartoons. This makes this U.S.-led international effort nothing short of a sinister attempt to snuff free speech about Islam. And that sure sounds like a U.S.-co-chaired assault on the First Amendment. Not only is this treachery on the part of the U.S. government, it also happens to be part and parcel of the OIC’s official 10-year-plan.

Since when did Uncle Sam get in the business of doing the bidding of the OIC?

Since 9/11.

This is just a snapshot of what the rush toward Islamization as a goal of national policy looks like, 10 years since the Twin Towers collapsed in a colossal cloud of dust and fire. The air has cleared, but the appeasement and the Islamization go on. Thus, a golden age begins, but unless we throw off this mental yoke of submission, it cannot be our own.

*

Palestinians handed out candy to celebrate the Islamic victory of 9/11.

The need to knock Islam 12

The greatness of the West began with doubting. The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies.

Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.” He was not, however, the first to use doubt for discovery. Thales of Miletos, who was born 155 years before Socrates, dared to doubt that religion’s explanatory tales about how the world came to be as it is were to be trusted, and he began exploring natural phenomena in a way that we recognize as scientific. He is often called the Father of Science. With him and his contemporary, Anaximander, who argued with him by advancing alternative ideas, came the notion – for the first time as far as we know – that reason could fathom and describe how the universe worked.

Science is one of the main achievements of the West, but it is not the only product of constructive doubt that made for its greatness. Doubt as a habit of mind or tradition of thinking meant that new, foreign, even counter-intuitive ideas were not dismissed. Europe, before and after it stagnated in the doldrums of the long Catholic Christian night (and even to some extent during those dark centuries), was hospitable to ideas wherever they came from.

Totally opposed to this intellectual openness were the churches with their dogma. Those who claim that the achievements of our civilization are to be credited to Christianity (or in the currently fashionable phrase to “the Judeo-Christian tradition”) have a hard case to make. It was the rediscovery of the Greek legacy in the Renaissance in the teeth of Christian dogmatism, and the new freedom from religious persecution exploited by the philosophers of the Enlightenment that re-launched the West on its intellectual progress, to become the world’s nursery of innovation and its chief factory of ideas.

Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: Marxism, environmentalism, religion – above all Islam which absolutely forbids criticism.

The Founding Fathers of the United States perfectly understood the necessity for an open market of ideas. Every citizen of the republic, they laid down, must be free to declare his beliefs, to argue his case, to speak his mind, to examine ideas as publicly as he chose without fear of being silenced.

No longer?

This warning comes from Nina Shea, writing in the National Review:

An unprecedented collaboration between the Obama administration and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC, formerly called the Organization of the Islamic Conference) to combat “Islamophobia” may soon result in the delegitimization of freedom of expression as a human right.

The administration is taking the lead in an international effort to “implement” a U.N. resolution against religious “stereotyping,” specifically as applied to Islam. To be sure, it argues that the effort should not result in free-speech curbs. However, its partners in the collaboration, the 56 member states of the OIC, have no such qualms. Many of them police private speech through Islamic blasphemy laws and the OIC has long worked to see such codes applied universally. Under Muslim pressure, Western Europe now has laws against religious hate speech that serve as proxies for Islamic blasphemy codes.

Last March, U.S. diplomats maneuvered the adoption of Resolution 16/18 within the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC). Non-binding, this resolution, inter alia, expresses concern about religious “stereotyping” and “negative profiling” but does not limit free speech. It was intended to — and did — replace the OIC’s decidedly dangerous resolution against “defamation of religions,” which protected religious institutions instead of individual freedoms.

But thanks to a puzzling U.S. diplomatic initiative that was unveiled in July, Resolution 16/18 is poised to become a springboard for a greatly reinvigorated international effort to criminalize speech against Islam, the very thing it was designed to quash.

Citing a need to “move to implementation” of Resolution 16/18, the Obama administration has inexplicably [not if Obama’s Islamophilia is remembered – JB] decided to launch a major international effort against Islamophobia in partnership with the Saudi-based OIC. This is being voluntarily assumed at American expense, outside the U.N. framework, and is not required by the resolution itself.

On July 15, a few days after the Norway massacre, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired an OIC session in Istanbul on religious intolerance. It was there that she announced the initiative, inviting the OIC member-states’ foreign ministers and representatives to the inaugural meeting of the effort that the U.S. government would host this fall in Washington. She envisions it as the first in a series of meetings to decide how best to implement Resolution 16/18.

In making the announcement, Clinton was firm in asserting that the U.S. does not want to see speech restrictions: “The resolution calls upon states to ‘counter offensive expression through education, interfaith dialogue, and public debate . . . but not to criminalize speech unless there is an incitement to imminent violence.’” (This is the First Amendment standard set forth in the 1969 Supreme Court case of Brandenburg v. Ohio.)

With the United States providing this new world stage for presenting grievances of “Islamophobia” against the West, the OIC rallied around the initiative as the propaganda windfall that it is. It promptly reasserted its demands for global blasphemy laws, once again sounding the call of its failed U.N. campaign for international laws against the so-called defamation of Islam. It has made plain its aim to use the upcoming conference to further pressure Western governments to regulate speech on behalf of Islam.

The aim of the OIC is to criminalize criticism of Islam, though it might go along with banning the criticism of religion in general as an interim step. It will reserve to itself the right to condemn all other religions and beliefs, but allege that any criticism of Islam is incitement to violence – and call angry crowds on to the streets to prove it. 

Islam is now the major threat to the West. Its ideas are the very opposite of those on which the USA was founded. It is an ideology of intolerance and cruelty. It forbids the free expression of thought. By its very nature, even if it were not now on a mission of world conquest (which it is), it is the enemy of the West.

The best way to defeat it is by criticizing it, constantly and persistently, in speech and writing, on the big screen and the small screen, in the schools and academies, in all the media of information and comment, in national and international assemblies.

If the weapon of words is forbidden, the only alternative will be guns. 

A time to stand for freedom 2

Let us arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time” – as Churchill said (more or less) when Chamberlain sold Czechoslovakia to Hitler in return for a worthless promise of peace.

Now it is the freedom of the internet that is under threat, not only by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but – even worse – by Islam.

Pamela Geller – she who alerted America to the Ground Zero mosque plan – writes at the American Thinker:

Late last September, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which assigns internet domain names, approved a huge change in the way it operates. Europe and North America will now have five seats on its Board of Directors, instead of ten, and a new “Arab States” region will have five seats as well. …

This has been a long time coming.

Back in October 2009 … ICANN ended its agreement with the U.S. government. …

The new agreement gave other countries (including dictatorships and rogue nations) and the U.N. the ability to set internet use policies. …

The ICANN action in September gave the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and other unfriendly nations a prominent internet role — something they never could get during the administration of George W. Bush.

The OIC is the main engine of the stealth jihad against the West. See our post Europe betrayed, February 11, 2010 for its role in the quiet conquest of Europe by Islam, now well under way. (And see also The trusted envoy, February 20, 2010, which is about the appointment by President Obama of a Muslim terrorist sympathizer as a US representative to that nefarious organization.)

In practice, the new arrangement makes it much easier for Muslim countries to dictate what stays on the internet and what doesn’t… Anti-jihad sites like … AtlasShrugs.com and the JihadWatch.org site … will likely lose their domain names. It will become harder and harder to find the truth about jihad activity, or any resistance to it, on the internet or anywhere else.

The new “net neutrality” rules approved last week by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will just make that easier as well… [by taking] the operation of the Internet away from the heterogeneous and diversified interests of the private sector that has created it and [concentrating] it in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable board of political appointees atop a federal bureaucracy. …

James G. Lakely, the co-director of the Center on the Digital Economy for the Heartland Institute, a free-market think-tank … charged that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, an Obama crony, wants to “claim for the FCC the power to decide how every bit of data is transferred from the Web to every personal computer and handheld device in the nation.”  … [in]  an attempt to limit the freedom of internet users by subjecting what [has] always been a free-market give-and-take to government regulation. In short, the FCC would control how all information reached personal computers.

An internet censored by Muslim ideologues and controlled by the feds. Do you see your freedom of speech slipping away?

We see all our freedom slipping away. Obama is not even selling but gifting America to Islam.

The cloud of knowing 5

Traces of some very abstruse reasoning emerge tantalizingly from the Cloud of Knowing – the thinkers who influence current US foreign policy. Secretive ends are being pursued. Can we discern what they are, or guess what they might be, from the clues dropped by the press?

The Washington Post reports:

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, according to a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

So, according to a body that calls itself the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, secularism “feeds” religious extremism. Presumably that means it nourishes it, energizes it, makes it stronger than it would otherwise be.

Now how could it do that? Does it drive the religious mad by simply being non-religious? And if so, is it to blame for that, or are the religious perhaps over-reacting?

Wait. It’s not any old secularism that is guilty of annoying the religious; it is specifically Western secularism. Other sorts – if there are sorts of secularism – are not bad, or not as bad.

Why? Apparently because Western secularism, in contrast to, say, Eastern secularism if it exists, is “uncompromising”. But how should not-being-religious compromise? Should it be a little bit religious? If so, how much? And would it then still be secularism?

One may begin to suspect that here is another formulation of the now familiar accusation from the left that the West has only itself to blame for being attacked by religious extremists – aka Muslim terrorists – because it is not Muslim. Or is that leaping too quickly to an as yet unwarranted conclusion?

Let’s proceed cautiously. As well as “feeding” religious extremism, this Western secularism also “threatens traditional cultures”. How? Does it proselytize non-belief? Not that anyone’s heard. Does it try to force non-belief on believers? Again, no, not noticeably. Then does its mere existence raise questions that endanger the belief of “traditional cultures” – in which case what would the Chicago Council on Global Affairs have it do to lift the threat from those intimidated folk?

Wait again – the list of accusations against this dangerous force called secularism is not yet exhausted. It also “fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights”.

Which groups would those be – could we have some names, please? And why can they only carry out their noble mission if they are encouraged?

Answers to these questions cannot be found in the Washington Post story.

What it does tell us is that it took this body two years to reach its conclusion. So we  should not brush it off as nonsense: in two years it is possible to go very deeply into grievances.

What’s more, the conclusion requires, and will elicit, action by the government of the United States.

The council’s 32-member task force, which included former government officials and scholars representing all major faiths, delivered its report to the White House on Tuesday. The report warns of a serious “capabilities gap” and recommends that President Obama make religion “an integral part of our foreign policy”. 

A serious capabilities gap? Not a mere pothole in the diplomatic road to perfect global accord? And it could be filled in by – what exactly? A state religion? No – that could not be the recommendation of 32 officials and scholars representing all major faiths.

Just a generalized religiosity then?

But how is religion, whether specific or a mere aura of sanctity assumed by the State Department, going to improve American foreign policy, soothe the extremists of foreign creeds, reassure traditional cultures,  and stiffen the backbone of groups (presumably different from the religious extremists) intent on virtuously promoting peace  and human rights?

We are not told, and can only hope that the Chicago Council’s report to the White House provides answers to these difficult questions.

Thomas Wright, the council’s executive director of studies, said task force members met Tuesday with Joshua DuBois, head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and State Department officials. “They were very receptive, and they said that there is a lot of overlap between the task force’s report and the work they have been doing on this same issue,” Wright said.

Something is already being done by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to make religion in some way an integral part of US foreign policy? It would be most interesting to know what exactly.

DuBois declined to comment on the report but wrote on his White House blog Tuesday: “The Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership and the National Security Staff are working with agencies across government to analyze the ways the U.S. government engages key non-governmental actors, including religious institutions, around the globe.”

Ah! He’s not being exact, but there’s a clue in here somewhere.

The Chicago Council isn’t as influential as the Council on Foreign Relations or some other Washington-based think tanks, but it does have a long-standing relationship with the president. Obama spoke to the council once as a state senator and twice as a U.S. senator, including his first major foreign policy speech as a presidential candidate in April 2007.

It could depend on his sympathy then, with whatever it is they want done.

Michelle Obama is on the council’s board.

Again, ah!

Now we learn that the problem, however obcure it may seem to the public, has been troubling smart people for quite some time.

American foreign policy’s “God gap” has been noted in recent years by others, including former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright.

Well, she has been associated with a few faiths in her time – Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism. So perhaps she would be especially aware of a shortage of religious belief in the State Department. Could have struck her forcibly when she assumed office.

“It’s a hot topic,” said Chris Seiple [read something very politically correct that he’s written here], president of the Institute for Global Engagement in Arlington County and a Council on Foreign Relations member. “It’s the elephant in the room. You’re taught not to talk about religion and politics, but the bummer is that it’s at the nexus of national security. The truth is the academy has been run by secular fundamentalists for a long time, people who believe religion is not a legitimate component of realpolitik.

Come now, politics can hardly be avoided by a Council of Foreign Relations. But you say that religion is “the elephant in the room”? And it is “at the nexus of national security” ?

The Chicago Council’s task force was led by R. Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

Who is Richard Cizik, and what is the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good? According to Newsweek he was the Washington lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals for nearly 30 years, and then, towards the end of 2008, he announced “the formation of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a group devoted to developing Christian responses to global and political issues such as environmentalism, nuclear disarmament, human rights, and dialogue with the Muslim world”.

Hmm.

“Religion,” the task force says, “is pivotal to the fate” of such nations as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Yemen, all vital to U.S. national and global security.

So the particular religion they have in mind is Islam?

Not necessarily … don’t jump to conclusions …  it could also be  .. hmmm-mmm … Hinduism and …  Christianity and … who knows what?:

“Despite a world abuzz with religious fervor,” the task force says, “the U.S. government has been slow to respond effectively to situations where religion plays a global role.” Those include the growing influence of Pentecostalism in Latin America, evangelical Christianity in Africa and religious minorities in the Far East.

All of which feel threatened by Western secularism? Are crying out for it to compromise a little?

But okay, mostly Islam:

U.S. officials have made efforts to address the God gap, especially in dealings with Islamic nations and groups. The CIA established an office of political Islam in the mid-1980s. … During the second Bush administration, the Defense Department rewrote the Army’s counterinsurgency manual to take account of cultural factors, including religion.

Could that have had something to do with the shooting of soldiers by an “extremist” Muslim officer at Fort Hood? Just wondering.

The Obama administration has stepped up the government’s outreach to a wider range of religious groups and individuals overseas

… even, say, the Dalai Lama if he’ll use the back door …

…  trying to connect with people beyond governments, said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Very hush-hush stuff this.

The effort, he said, is more deliberate than in the past: “This issue has senior-level attention.”

He noted that Obama appointed a special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference …

The envoy being a Muslim and a terrorist sympathizer [see our post The trusted envoy, February 20, 2010], and the Organization of the Islamic Conference being a major instrument of the Ummah for the conquest of the non-Muslim world, chiefly by methods of “soft jihad” in Europe.

… and created a new Muslim outreach position in the State Department. In the past year, he said, embassies in Muslim-majority countries have held hundreds of meetings with a broad range of people not involved in government.

Huh? Muslim-majority countries have had hundreds of meetings with individual people not involved with government? What people? Why? To what end? How does the government know about them?

Whatever was going on with that, it was apparently too “episodic and uncoordinated”. Now there must be something more programmatic, more official, more formal, more defined, and definitely involving government:

To end the “episodic and uncoordinated nature of U.S. engagement of religion in the world,” the task force recommended:

— Adding religion to the training and continuing education of all foreign service officers, diplomats and other key diplomatic, military and economic officials. …

— Empowering government departments and agencies to engage local and regional religious communities where they are central players in the promotion of human rights and peace, as well as the delivery of health care and other forms of assistance.

Leaving aside the code words “human rights” and “peace” which in such a context as this usually mean “leftism” and “Islam” – diplomats, and military and even economic officials should deliver health care?

But here comes the stunner. (Remember that “clarify” in diplomatic talk always means “take it back and say something more to our liking”.)

— Address and clarify the role of religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy.

Cizik said some parts of the world — the Middle East, China, Russia and India, for example — are particularly sensitive to the U.S. government’s emphasis on religious freedom and see it as a form of imperialism.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IS A FORM OF IMPERIALISM?

We give up. Such nuanced thought is beyond our grasp.

A gradual erosion of US sovereignty 0

The Obama administration is taking steps that will most likely lead to the US joining the International Criminal Court. It is also ‘developing its relationships’ with a variety of international organizations, some of them economic unions, and some of them positively sinister, such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference – the body chiefly responsible for launching and promoting the Islamization of Europe – and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) which has a far-left international redistributionist agenda (see here, and here for information on its co-operating Skoll Foundation).

From ThreatsWatch.Org, by Steve Schippert:

Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order “Amending Executive Order 12425.” It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.

By removing language from President Reagan’s 1983 Executive Order 12425, this international law enforcement body now operates on American soil beyond the reach of our own top law enforcement arm, the FBI, and is immune from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. …

Section 2c of the United States International Organizations Immunities Act is the crucial piece:

Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.

Inviolable archives means INTERPOL records are beyond US citizens’ Freedom of Information Act requests and from American legal or investigative discovery.

Property and assets being immune from search and confiscation means precisely that. Wherever they may be in the United States. This could conceivably include human assets – Americans arrested on our soil by INTERPOL officers.

The importance of this last crucial point cannot be understated, because this immunity and protection – and elevation above the US Constitution – afforded INTERPOL is likely a precursor to the White House subjecting the United States under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). INTERPOL provides a significant enforcement function for the ICC, just as our FBI provides a significant function for our Department of Justice.

We direct the American public to paragraph 28 of the ICC’s Proposed Programme Budget for 2010 …

Additionally, the Court will continue to seek the cooperation of States not party to the Rome Statute and to develop its relationships with regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Arab League (AL), the African Union (AU), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and CARICOM [Caribbean Community]. We will also continue to engage with subregional and thematic organizations, such as SADC [Southern African Development Community] and ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], and the Commonwealth Secretariat and the OIF. This will be done through high level visits, briefings and, as appropriate, relationship agreements. Work will also be carried out with sectoral organizations such as IDLO [International Development Law Organization] and INTERPOL, to increase efficiency.

The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute – the UN treaty that established the International Criminal Court…

President George W. Bush rejected subjecting the United States to the jurisdiction of the ICC and removed the United States as a signatory. President Bill Clinton had previously signed the Rome Statute during his presidency. Two critical matters are at play. One is an overall matter of sovereignty and the concept of the primacy of American law above those of the rest of the world. But more recently a more over-riding concern principally has been the potential – if not likely – specter of subjecting our Armed Forces to a hostile international body seeking war crimes prosecutions

President Bush in fact went so far as to gain agreement from nations that they would expressly not detain or hand over to the ICC members of the United States armed forces. The fear of a symbolic ICC circus trial as a form of international political protest to American military actions in Iraq and elsewhere was real and palpable.

President Obama’s words have been carefully chosen when directly regarding the ICC. While President Bush outright rejected subjugating American armed forces to any international court as a matter of policy, President Obama said in his 2008 presidential campaign that it is merely “premature to commit” to signing America on.

However, in a Foreign Policy in Focus round-table in 2008, the host group cited his former foreign policy advisor, Samantha Power. She essentially laid down what can be viewed as now-President Obama’s roadmap to America rejoining the ICC. His principal objections are not explained as those of sovereignty, but rather of image and perception.

[She] said in an early March (2008) interview with The Irish Times that many things need to happen before Obama could think about signing the Rome Treaty.

“Until we’ve closed Guantánamo, gotten out of Iraq responsibly, renounced torture and rendition, shown a different face for America, American membership of the ICC is going to make countries around the world think the ICC is a tool of American hegemony.”

The detention center at Guantánamo Bay is nearing its closure and an alternate continental American site for terrorist detention has been selected in Illinois. The time line for Iraq withdrawal has been set. And President Obama has given an abundance of international speeches intended to “show a different face for America.” …

When the paths on the road map converge – Iraq withdrawal, Guantánamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States – it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body whose INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement.

For an added and disturbing wrinkle, INTERPOL’s central operations office in the United States is within our own Justice Department offices. They are American law enforcement officers working under the aegis of INTERPOL within our own Justice Department. That they now operate with full diplomatic immunity and with “inviolable archives” from within our own buildings should send red flags soaring into the clouds.

[An] explanation is due the American public from the President of the United States detailing why an international law enforcement arm assisting a court we are not a signatory to has been elevated above our Constitution upon our soil.