May 30, 2008
Posted by David Fischler under Presbyterianism  Comments
There’s an excellent editorial at the Layman Online about the current trend toward the PCUSA’s Louisville leadership using enforcers to get what they want. The whole thing is worth the read, but this part is really wonderful:
After scores of congregations representing tens of thousands of parishioners chose to leave the PCUSA and join the Biblically faithful Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), [PCUSA Stated Clerk Clifton] Kirkpatrick charged EPC shepherds with sheep stealing, and he predicted that if the practice continues, someone would probably suggest a retaliatory action to the coming General Assembly. As surely as night follows day, Peace River Presbytery filed an overture to the General Assembly, repeating Kirkpatrick’s unsubstantiated allegations and calling on the World Alliance of Reformed Churches to investigate the EPC.
And who presides as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches? Clifton Kirkpatrick!
So the circle is complete. Kirkpatrick alleges an impropriety and voices a prediction (more a plea than prognostication). Peace River dutifully picks up the cudgel, repeats Kirkpatrick’s unsubstantiated charges, and does the deed. Ergo, Kirkpatrick, the accuser becomes Kirkpatrick, the judge.
Thus does the mainline church continue its slide into self-parody.
May 29, 2008
Posted by David Fischler under Presbyterianism  Comments
I don’t usually get into issues like this because I’m really not familiar with the inner workings of denominations that I’ve never worked in, but this sounds like a money grab to me. The PCUSA’s General Assembly Council (GAC) is apparently trying to get its hands on money that has been donated by individuals in a restrictive way, to use on their own pet projects. Parker Williamson reports in the Layman Online:
Two members of “The Chairs and Chiefs,” an exclusive syndicate of Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders, have launched a campaign to wrest fiduciary authority from the Presbyterian Church (USA) Foundation and place it in the hands of the General Assembly Council. The move could weaken donor restrictions on millions of dollars and unleash windfall funding for denominational programs that congregations are unwilling to support.
Consisting of three offensives that are making their way to the denomination’s 218th General Assembly, June 21-28, the campaign is asking commissioners to
1. Issue an “Authoritative Interpretation” to the effect that the GAC, not the Foundation, has final authority on the disposition of donor-restricted funds;
2. Grant to GAC program managers broad latitude in the way they interpret fund restrictions and permission to pay administrative fees to themselves and mid-level bureaucrats for their handling of donor-restricted money;
3. Grant to the GAC authority to invest middle- and long-term assets for higher yields than the Foundation’s professional fund managers deem prudent.
Valentine dismisses the Foundation’s fiduciary concerns. She says that the issue is not “either-or” but “both-and.” “Both the Foundation and the GAC have fiduciary responsibilities under the law – church law, that is – and we both have responsibilities to follow donor intent,” she told The Layman.
In answer to the Foundation’s insistence on maintaining checks and balances via separate functions, Valentine said, “I don’t really place a lot of stock in that argument.” She said that she had confidence in her GAC staff’s ability to handle fiduciary functions.
But although Valentine claims that fiduciary authority is to be shared between the Foundation and the GAC, she agrees with the ACC and her own GAC that where there are differences of opinion, the GAC should decide. Valentine adds that she thinks such differences would be minimal and she believes mechanisms can be put in place to handle them in a non-polarizing manner.
That drift does not sit well with Laura Plumley, general counsel to the Foundation: “I think one of the dangers of the ACC Recommendations and the Stated Clerk’s opinion is that they give the GAC complete discretion (in so far as it is in their power to do so) to interpret restrictions on funds held by the Foundation … The recommendations would jeopardize adherence to donor restrictions on any funds held by the Foundation for any beneficiary – G.A. related or not. This is because, while the language of the ACC findings and the Advisory Opinion of the Stated Clerk discuss honoring donor restrictions, the actual Recommendation 2(c) would permit the GAC to interpret all restrictions whether donor created or board created and whether the restricted fund pays to a G.A. entity or to a local congregation, college or Presbyterian retirement home.”
Kirkpatrick says in his Advisory Opinion that he supports the Foundation’s claim to fiduciary authority over donor-designated funds, but he believes that restrictions made by a denominational governing body may be amended by that governing body (the GAC).
The Foundation disagrees. Plumley told The Layman, “Where the PCUSA, through one of its mission corporations, set aside its own money in an endowment fund and decided to restrict the use of the income for that purpose, the Foundation agrees … that the G.A. retains the right to modify or release that restriction as it sees fit. However, when the G.A. through one of its mission corporations, has solicited contributions from multiple donors to a fund for a specific purpose that fund is considered by the Foundation and under civil law a donor-solicited or donor-restricted fund and may only be modified with court approval.”
I don’t know much about foundations, trusts, and so on, but there’s one thing every pastor knows: when people give money to the church for a specific purpose, you’d better use it that way. Rather than being simply an argument over turf or procedure, there is almost certainly a specific goal that the initiators of these proposals have in mind. What that might be I can’t say for sure, but it certainly sounds like they want to be able to ignore restrictions on donations. Given the shrinking membership and financial base for PCUSA, it’s to be expected that leadership would look for creative ways to insure the survival of the institution. Combined with the efforts to get their hands on church properties on which they have no legitimate claim, however, it looks like the PCUSA’s leadership is throwing all ethical or even legal considerations out the window in an effort to provide support for their agenda for years to come.
May 28, 2008
Keeping with the theme of the World Council of Churches as an organization for the reality-challenged (see the post below), the WCC today posted a call for members of its constituent political parties denominations to “e-mail a wish or prayer for peace to Bethlehem” as part of their week of Israel-bashing church advocacy. The call included this announcement of an upcoming piece of street theater:
Some of the emails will be read aloud in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Sunday, 8 June 2008. That evening, people of Bethlehem will form a “living clock” to commemorate six decades of living as refugees and uprooted people since 1948, and 41 years of occupation.
So, the “people of Bethlehem” will commemorate “six decades of living as refugees and uprooted people.” Given that Jordan ruled Bethlehem from 1948 to 1967, and that Jordan is 70% Palestinian, and that residents of Bethlehem weren’t driven from their homes in 1948 by either Israelis or Arabs, I’ve got to wonder what this means. Of course, it is true that the percentage of Christians who live in Bethlehem has dropped precipitously since the Palestinian Authority took control of the city in 1993, as Muslims have made it nearly impossible for Christians to make a living or even feel safe. Perhaps those are the “refugees and uprooted people” of Bethlehem that they will be commemorating.
May 27, 2008
Posted by David Fischler under NCC and WCC  Comments
Dogs gotta bark, fish gotta swim, and the World Council of Churches has to reaffirm its 1960s-style Marxist heritage from time to time. With the assistance of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM), an interfaith group of totalitarian-lovin’ lefties “theologians, activists, pastors and educators from around the world” gathered May 15-20 for a workshop entitled “Spirituality of Resistance, Liberation and Transformation,” which was held–where else?–in Cuba.
They ended their week by putting out a “communique” that sounds like it was put together by a machine that randomly strings together leftist cliches:
We are in Cuba, a country that approaches the celebration of 50 years of its revolution. Cubans describe the present period as a “Kairotic” passage, a time of crisis and opportunity. The people’s suffering is acute because of the U.S.-imposed blockade and the general forces of empire. By “empire” we mean the complex and dynamic international regime of power anchored by the United States, with its military power, neoliberal globalization, racist and patriarchal ideologies and policies of environmental degradation. In spite of these forces of empire and Cubans’ relentless suffering, isolation and impoverization, we have been inspired by the ways Cubans persevere in struggle, embodying joy and resistance, dignity and self-esteem.
In the present moment, for example, Cubans’ earlier revolutionary successes in agrarian reform have been set back by the empire’s brutal blockade, other international developments, and by tensions within the country. Still, Cubans press forward with ongoing reform, inventively crafting new modes of agro-ecology.
Our meeting in Mazanzas has thus been blessed by having Cuba as a present point of reference throughout all our discussions of the crises of empire. This workshop was originally planned to take place in Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion of conflict there, and the continuing illegal occupation of Palestine by the forces of empire, remind us that this is a Kairotic moment for so many other groups worldwide.
Love that last bit–the reason they didn’t meet in Beirut has nothing to do with the unnamed imperial demon (Israel), but the violence precipitated by their good buddies in Hezbollah. In short, they were worried that their friends might mistake them for target practice.
There’s really no point in trying to take apart this kind of nonsense, whose lefty-babble is so hackneyed and detached from reality that it might have come from the Web site of the Workers World Party. I do find it amazing that at this late date anyone could be so mindlessly adulatory of the island gulag, but then, for some people, it’s always 1968.
The statement then goes on to a collection of equally mind-numbing nonsense about “the multiplicity of spiritualities,” including tripe such as this:
We affirm that the problems of empire, amid which justice movements struggle, are not only political problems but also spiritual challenges. Empire spawns its own destructive spiritualities, such as the “religious right,” and thus it seeks always to co-opt the powers of religion for imperial aims. New spiritualities are coming forth to oppose imperial spiritualities, and these should be supported.
What would a gathering of Marxist theologians be without a swipe at the “religious right”?
Religious groups and all peoples of conscience should recognize a leading role for indigenous peoples, honouring especially their earth-centered spirituality, focusing on interdependencies of body, mind, land, community, and spirit, as resources for a liberating justice for all creation. We affirm the struggle of all First Nations peoples for their land and for their rights to self-determination.
Here we have the obligatory “Christianity bad, paganism good” declaration.
In this time especially, the empire’s worldwide “war on terror” has created a virulent form of Islamophobia that compounds other related racisms. Emergent spiritualities must stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers and work with them for a more just world for all peoples.
And when the people who aren’t engaged in terrorism take over, guess who will be among the first to have their heads on the chopping block?
Then we have their take on Christian spiritualities in particular:
Justice movements challenge Christians to relinquish the hegemony of their Christian language and rituals in movement work, even when this means leaving the comfort zones of Christian belief and practice. New acts of Christian humility and confession – due to Christians’ construction of empire building, colonization, racism and patriarchy – must entail a new collective and variegated spirituality forged from among all peoples, recognizing especially the initiatives of long-colonized and oppressed peoples.
How dare you Christians continue to be Christians! Why, the planet would be a one-world, Muslim-ruled, Jew-free, egalitarian ecotopia without you! Down on your knees and beg forgiveness, you racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, neo-Nazi, Zionist, capitalist, heterosexist, colonialist, patriarchal (“have we forgotten anything? Oh, yeah…”) Republican pigs!
Christian leaders and institutions, when participating in justice movements, must foster liberating spiritualities by re-interpreting their Christian stories, beliefs and practices to challenge forthrightly the forces of empire.
And stop being so Christian!
According to the WARC Web site, the representative of the world’s Reformed churches was positively inspired by her sojourn in the workers’ paradise:
Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, executive secretary of WARC’s Office for Church Renewal, Justice and Partnership, said the crisis of the times calls for a radical spirituality to energize the covenanting for justice movement.
“Connecting with the struggle, resilience and vision of the Cuban people and the spiritualities of aboriginal peoples and various faith traditions brings fresh impetus in our struggle for justice,” she concluded.
I think there’s really only one appropriate response to all this–take it away, Riff:
May 26, 2008
The Los Angeles Times followed up the California State Supreme Court gay marriage coup with a poll to discover how state residents feel about the decision and a possible constitutional amendment to overturn it. As Mollie at GetReligion notes, the reporting on the poll is a bit, ah, slanted:
The Los Angeles Times and KTLA conducted a poll of Californians to determine their support for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and their feelings about the state Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage.
According to the headline in the print edition, “Californians slimly reject gay marriage.” The Times website’s front page says, “Californians reject gay marriage by a bit.”
The punch line is in the fourth paragraph of the Times story, which says:
Either way, the poll suggests the outcome of the proposed amendment is far from certain. Overall, it was leading 54% to 35% among registered voters.
I was a political science major in college, and was always taught that a “landslide” was defined by a candidate or referendum being supported by 55% of those voting. That means that as things now stand, the amendment would only have to capture a small portion of the 11% undecided to qualify as a landslide. And consider this from the Baptist Press, which Mollie notes in a follow-up post:
Although 54 percent is a slippage in support for traditional marriage since 2000 — when a law banning “gay marriage” passed 61-39 percent — marriage amendments typically do better at the ballot than they do in polling. For example, a Wisconsin amendment in 2006 polled anywhere from 48 to 51 percent in pre-election polls but passed 59-41 percent, and an Oregon amendment in 2004 polled around 50 percent but passed 56-44 percent.
So, in what universe is this a “slim” margin in which Californians favor the amendment by “a bit”? Must be the world of the mainstream media, where according to the Pew Research Trust 88% of the denizens support same sex marriage, but where math skills–and for some, honesty–are apparently not necessary to the job.
(Hat tip: commenter Words Matter at T19.)
May 25, 2008
Posted by David Fischler under Science  Comments
According to the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli scientist is making progress toward the discovery of a way to travel back in time. Seriously. Sort of:
[Prof. Amos] Ori, a physicist from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, has come up with what he says are practical solutions to overcome the hindrances that experts have long regarded as stopping us from traveling back in time. In a paper published in the latest issue of the Physical Review journal, the scientist offers a theoretical model, based on mathematical equations describing conditions that, if established, could help lead to the development of a time machine of sorts. But rather than building an actual device, Ori explains that “the machine is space-time itself.”
Time travel research is based on bending space-time so far that the time lines actually warp back on themselves to form a loop.
“We know that bending does happen all the time, but we want the bending to be strong enough and to take a special form where the lines of time make closed loops,” explains Ori. “We are trying to find out if it is possible to manipulate space-time to develop in such a way.”
Considering going back and doing something that would drastically change the time-line (say, killing Hitler in 1932) would mean The End of the World As We Know It, I would opt for something a bit less radical. I’m thinking of going back to 1991 and telling Lonnie Smith to run flat out during the eighth inning of Game 7 of the World Series. It wouldn’t change world history, but it would make lots of Atlanta Braves fans very happy.
(Via Hot Air.)
May 24, 2008
Posted by David Fischler under Presbyterianism  Comments
The Witherspoon Society is a reliably left-wing PCUSA caucus. Whether it’s opining on denominational issues or public policy questions, Witherspoon has never seen a liberal position that it didn’t like. But in the most recent issue of the Society’s Network News, regular columnist Douglas Ottati of Davidson College takes the ideology and gets all partisan with it:
Which Democratic candidate should we support?
[C]onsider the question, Hillary or Barack? Many of us have our preferences. (Just before the Pennsylvania primary, a friend told me he might find it easier to vote for my dog, Sugar, in the fall than for H.C. In exit polls, a significant minority of the Pennsylvanians who voted for Clinton said they wouldn’t vote for Obama in the fall if he turns out to be the nominee. ) Even so, whether to support one or the other of the remaining candidates as they fight for the nomination is not the most important question facing Presbyterian (and other) progressives in this election. (And, remember, Sugar is not at all likely to be on either major party ticket.) The far more important thing is to articulate responsible arguments and positions on the main issues of the day, e.g., Iraq, the economy, and immigration, support the candidate in the fall who will best advance those positions and, in the case that this candidate needs to be pushed further, to go ahead and push him or her both before and after election day. In short, after eight years of W. and his many accomplishments, both foreign and domestic, our chief electoral responsibility seems nicely summarized by a sticker I saw the other day on another friend’s car: “Enough is enough. Vote Democratic.”
Jim Berkley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy thinks that the presence of a piece like this opens Witherspoon up to an IRS investigation, given the Society’s non-profit status and the obvious partisan nature of Ottati’s article. I don’t know the IRS code well enough to know if Jim is correct, but I do think that it demonstrates poor judgment on the part of the newsletter’s editor, Douglas King. as well as Ottati. It’s easy to guess that the vast majority of Witherspoon’s membership are Democrats, and certainly the Society rarely takes a position that wouldn’t fit that party’s positions (to the extent that it doesn’t, it’s because they are echoing the Green Party or someone even farther left). But that kind of upfront political partisanship on the part of a denominational caucus does nothing but confirm the suspicions of others that the group is really a basically secular political organization masquerading as a Christian one.
(Via The Berkley Blog.)
UPDATE: The Witherspoon Society, in a expression of boundless obtuseness, replies to Jim Berkley:
We believe that the views expressed by Dr. Ottati are perfectly legitimate theological-political reflections on the current situation in our church and our nation, and do not constitute an endorsement of any particular candidate.
No, it’s an endorsement of one particular political party, which will soon have a particular candidate for president. Ottati also makes clear his opposition to a particular candidate, John McCain. So regardless of whether the IRS cares to investigate, it’s pretty clear that Witherspoon has stepped into the morass of partisan politics. Hope they enjoy the mud.
May 22, 2008
Posted by David Fischler under Public Policy  Comments
I would never have thought it possible, but I agree with the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, John Chane, on a matter with both religious and public policy elements. Chane thinks it’s time for ministers to stop being agents of the state in connection to marriage, writing in the Washington Post‘s “On Faith” column:
The real issue here is the unfortunate duality that exists in the United States where clergy may act as both agents of the State, licensed to perform a marriage on behalf of the State and who are also charged with living into the laws and traditions of their religious traditions. They may or may not witness and bless marriage as either a sacrament of the church or a clear mandate of Christ’s teaching about marriage as delivered through the Gospels.
What the decision of the Supreme Court of California raises for me is that clergy should remove themselves as licensed agents of the state who perform marriages and who should act only as religious who witness and bless the civil contract of marriage if they choose to do so.
Preach it, brother! Chane and I come down on different sides of the gay marriage issue (he thinks it’s a matter of social justice; I think it will have the effect of undermining society’s most important institution in ways that have been empirically demonstrated in Scandinavia), but I agree with him that it’s time for ministers to stop doing the state’s business. Marriage is already a civil relationship–a license to marry is required from the state to enter into it or to dissolve it. Let the state handle that end of it, and have all couples go to a justice of the peace to deal with the civil aspect. Then, those who desire to commit their relationship to God will be free to go to a minister, priest, rabbi, imam, or whatever, and receive the ministrations of their religious community in a way that has theological integrity. The result will be a lot fewer hypocritical if not blasphemous weddings, and hopefully stronger marriages among religious believers. Now if we can just stop this California nonsense…
May 21, 2008
Sally Quinn, the Washington Post reporter who has been running the “On Faith” column for the last 18 months, doesn’t understand how anyone could object to gay marriage. She just doesn’t get it:
Of course, marriage is a legal and a moral issue. I have been moderating “On Faith” for a year and a half now. I have made it a point to try to study as many religions as I possibly can, to try to understand them and sympathize with them. There are many religions that have allowed some to pervert their basic tenets. But the common thread among all of them is Love. Love thy neighbor as they self. Love one another. Love your fellow beings first. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Homosexual couples are simply two people who love each other. Please explain to me how that can be wrong in the eyes of God. Didn’t God make us all in his image? Please explain to me why it is not better for society that two people who love each other cement their relationship in a legal union. Please tell me how it could possibly be harmful to society to have two loving people form a union.
I simply don’t get it. I really don’t.
She may have “studied as many religions” as she “possibly can,” but that doesn’t mean she understands them. Please notice she doesn’t say she disagrees with them, which is a perfectly reasonable intellectual position, and one I would expect the person who moderates a column called “On Faith” for a paper like the Post to take. But she doesn’t disagree–she doesn’t understand, despite the fact that it is presumably her job to do so. Of course, that may be because she also doesn’t understand the foundational document of the Christian faith:
I know, I know, it says in the Bible that homosexuality is an abomination. But isn’t that the same Bible that says you should stone to death heretics or anyone who doesn’t believe the same things you do? Isn’t that what we call terrorists, fanatics, or fundamentalists in another country?
Amazingly, she doesn’t mention shellfish or blended fabrics, which are the usual red herrings brought up by those seeking liberal sexual ethics who need to discredit the Old Testament law. These items fit in the same category, however. All specific punishments for sin are part of the national law of theocratic Israel, and as such have been set aside by Christ for His people (given that we aren’t part of a theocratic nation, despite the delusions of Americans United). Judaism also pays no attention, because Israel isn’t a theocracy governed by Old Testament law, and Jews in the Diaspora obviously don’t live in a Jewish nation.
But all of that is really beside the point. Quinn’s real point is, how can anyone of normal intelligence possibly believe any of that Neanderthal rot? Certainly it should be obvious to every civilized person that gay marriage is a perfectly acceptable practice, and anyone who can’t see that is a terrorist, a fanatic, or a fundamentalist–which is an interesting way of referring to pretty much everybody in the history of Western civilization prior to the last decade. But then, what else would you expect from someone who gets paid to understand religion, yet considers any point of view but her own to be incomprehensible?
May 20, 2008
The Episcopal Bishop of Washington, John Chane, apparently thinking there will soon be a top-level opening at the State Department, decides to try to get himself on the short list:
Politicians in both Iran and the United States have been divisive, disrespectful, and inflammatory in their condemnations of each other, in effect increasing the likelihood of a military confrontation. As the Episcopal Bishop of the Dioceses of Washington, DC, who has travelled twice to Iran and found friendship and shared values with Iranian clerics, I think it’s time for religious leaders in both countries to take the initiative to find ways to seek peaceful solutions to the complex problems that have plagued US-Iranian relations for years.
Clerics on both sides believe that reconciliation must come from respectful communication. But such dialogue cannot occur in a vacuum, or in environments where people are demonising [sic] each other. The stakes are high in the Middle East, and the shrill and negative discourse of both countries’ political administrations will not ease the increasing tensions between our countries. We must embrace tolerance and sincere dialogue to reverse this trend.
Gotta wonder–do suppose it ever occurred to Chane that Iran is currently being run by clerics? That unlike mainliners in the U.S., the religious establishment is not irrelevant, but actually calls the shots on domestic and foreign policy alike? Considering he later decries American ignorance of Islam and Iranian culture, I’d say this was the sort of thing he really ought to know.
I have been to Iran twice, the first time in 2006 at the invitation of former President Khatami. More recently, I spent five days meeting with academic and religious leaders in Iran who are very concerned about the possibility of a US military incursion against their homeland. While in Tehran and Qom, one of the holiest cities in Iran, we spent a great deal of time discussing the common religious values and themes shared by both Christianity and Islam. Our commonalities centred [sic] on issues of peace as well as the moral prohibition of developing and using weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to agreeing that politicians have been behaving childishly, my Iranian colleagues and I also think that the level of ignorance by Christians and Muslims about each other’s religions has been extremely unhelpful in extending positive dialogue between these two great monotheistic religions and our two nations.
So the commonalities between Christianity and Islam–a religion spread initially by the military conquest of the entire Middle East, North Africa, and Iberia–center around “issue of peace” and rejection of weapons of mass destruction (the latter being found in previously unknown books of the Bible and Koran, no doubt). These are the commonalities that Chane was able to find between two religions? What about, you know…God? Or did He just not come up in their conversations? And he’s complaining about “levels of ignorance,” when he apparently went all the way to Qom to talk politics?
Iran uses the development of nuclear energy and the implied fear of future nuclear weapons as a wedge issue in its relationship with the United States. In its defence [sic], Iran says it is the only Persian, Farsi-speaking country in a region of Arab nations. Once a great power thousands of years ago and now an emerging player in the Middle East in the 21st century, Iran says its future is threatened by nuclear programmes [sic] and weapons in the region.
Wait a minute–now we’re supposed to believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons to ward off the depredations of Bahrain? While there have been rumors of intentions on the part of Egypt and Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons, the only Arab state that has actually made a serious effort to do so is Syria, Iran’s good buddy. Did this tool really swallow this line?
Iran can also look to the history of unwelcome involvement by the United States in its internal affairs. The covert overthrow of popular Prime Minister Mosaddeq in 1953, the propping up and support of the unpopular Shah, the US government’s military support of Sadaam Hussein in Iraq’s war with Iran, and the failure of the Clinton Administration to embrace the emerging moderate leadership of President Khatami (eventually leading to Khatami’s isolation by hardliners in his government) are all painful failures of US foreign policy.
At the same time, the United States has every right to be deeply concerned about statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the Holocaust and the eradication of the State of Israel, as well as the verification of anti-personnel weapons manufactured in Iran and their use by Iraqi Shi’a militants against American troops. And the hostage crisis of 1979, when militant Iranian students took over the US Embassy, still exists as an open wound in the American psyche.
The first paragraph (except for the line about Khatami, whose alleged moderation was only minimally different from his fellow mullahs) rehearses some sorry episodes in American-Iranian relations, though given what followed the Shah, I’m not sure that we weren’t exactly right to support him against the alternative of Khomeini. As for the second, it’s all true, though incomplete, to the extent that it ignores Iran’s world-wide support for terrorism, its alignment with some of the world’s worst regimes, and its sending of actual elements of the Revolutionary Guards into Iraq to fight on behalf of the Shiite militias.
Much of Iran’s anti-Israel rhetoric can be attributed to deflected anger at the United States for violating known agreements about the parameters of establishing the State of Israel under the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and Israel’s development of nuclear weapons without the permission of the United States. The perceived bias of the United States in favour [sic--what's with all the Britishisms in this article? Is Chane campaigning to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury?] of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has only exacerbated anti-Israeli feelings. (It must also be noted, however, that the largest concentration of Jews in the Middle East outside of Israel can be found living peacefully in Iran.)
Right. I’m sure that’s it. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is really mad at Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. It’s the two of them that he really wants to see obliterated, but since they are already dead, he’ll have to settle for Israel. Makes sense to me–at least as much as anything else in this article.
(Via Stand Firm.)
Next Page »