Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christian terrorist kills three in Colorado

On Nov. 27, Robert Lewis Dear (57), a self-proclaimed Christian with a history of anti-Planned Parenthood activity and abuse of women, went armed to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He opened fire and killed two people who were accompanying their friends to the clinic: Jennifer Markovsky (35) and Ke'Arre Stewart (29), an Iraq War veteran who used his last breaths to warn others to take cover. When police came, Dear shot dead one of them, Garrett Swasey (44), before being arrested.

Each victim had two children. Because of the murderer's rampage, two children will grow without a mother and four other children will grow without a father.

Dear's motivation: his anti-abortion views. (Planned Parenthood is the main provider of abortion services in the USA.) By cruel irony, such views are designated by the euphemism "pro-life". I also suspect that racism was involved in his choice of targets, because he is white while Ms. Markovsky was Hawaiian and Mr. Stewart was black.

To me, and to anyone of he meanest understanding, abortion is a basic human right. It reflects the woman's autonomy over her own body. I am not going to discuss the pain perception and cognitive abilities of human embryos and fetuses at different stages of prenatal development. For the argument's sake, let's presume that the fetus to be aborted is as conscious as you and me. Does this give him the right to live? No, because he cannot live on his own, and no human being is obliged to support another one by her own body.

If some patient with a rare blood group has suffered heavy blood loss and you happen to have the same blood group, should you be tied to a bed and forced to donate blood? No, you shouldn't. Nobody would even consider doing this to you, though the health impact of a blood donation is negligible, compared to that of a pregnancy plus birth. Moreover, in most countries - actually, in all countries I know - even the organs of a dead person, no longer useful to him, cannot be taken for transplantation unless family members consent or the deceased himself has stated such a wish before his death. Patients with kidney disease may be dying, but the organs that could save their lives are instead left in the corpse and cremated or put in a grave to rot.

Of all humans, pregnant women alone are reduced to a subhuman status and regarded as mere baby incubators, that is, tools to support the lives of other humans regarded as superior. Why? The answer is simple: because of religion. I know only one group opposing abortion on non-religious grounds, and it is the disability activists. This is actually a reason why I distanced myself from disability advocacy. I don't want to be around people whose agenda includes shaming or forcing women to carry to term disabled babies whom they do not want. However, the Colorado Springs murderer was no disability activist. As Wikipedia reports, "Dear voiced on several occasions his support for radical Christian views and interpretations of the Bible, and praised people who attacked abortion providers, saying they were doing "God's work." He also described members of the Army of God, a loosely organized group of anti-abortion Christian extremists that has claimed responsibility for a number of killings and bombings, as heroes." Dear was the products of a culture where Christian fundamentalists obsessed with looking into women's wombs still enjoy moral authority, and abortion-related attacks make news only if lethal, otherwise they are business as usual.

In destroying three human lives, "pro-life" Robert Dear was driven by his religious convictions and apparently eager to instill fear in survivors. So he is, by definition, a terrorist. His crime must be denounced for what it is, not just a triple murder but also an act of domestic Christian terrorism. And Christians should think how to stand against such atrocities, as well as the entire "pro-life" madness.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Will there be hope after Obama's "disastrous policies"?

From the Jerusalem Post:

"Column One: Rubio, Cruz and the US Global Leadership

by Caroline Glick

At some point between 2006 and 2008, the American people decided to turn their backs on the world. Between the seeming futility of the war in Iraq and the financial collapse of 2008, Americans decided they’d had enough.

In Barack Obama, they found a leader who could channel their frustration. Obama’s foreign policy, based on denying the existence of radical Islam and projecting the responsibility for Islamic aggression on the US and its allies, suited their mood just fine. If America is responsible, then America can walk away. Once it is gone, so the thinking has gone, the Muslims will forget their anger and leave America alone.

Sadly, Obama’s foreign policy assumptions are utter nonsense. America’s abandonment of global leadership has not made things better. Over the past seven years, the legions of radical Islam have expanded and grown more powerful than ever before. And now in the aftermath of the jihadist massacres in Paris and San Bernadino, the threats have grown so abundant that even Obama cannot pretend them away.

As a consequence, for the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy. But are they too late? Can the next president repair the damage Obama has caused? The Democrats give no cause for optimism. Led by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopefuls stubbornly insist that there is nothing wrong with Obama’s foreign policy. If they are elected to succeed him, they pledge to follow in his footsteps...

On the Republican side, things are more encouraging, but also more complicated...

Bush’s foreign policy had two seemingly contradictory anchors – a belief that liberal values are universal, and cultural meekness.

Bush’s belief that open elections would serve as a panacea for the pathologies of the Islamic world was not supported by empirical data. Survey after survey showed that if left to their own devices, the people of Muslim world would choose to be led by Islamic supremacists. But Bush rejected the data and embraced the fantasy that free elections lead a society to embrace liberal norms of peace and human rights.

As to cultural meekness, since the end of the Cold War and with the rise of political correctness, the notion that America could call for other people to adopt American values fell into disrepute. For American foreign policy practitioners, the idea that American values and norms are superior to Islamic supremacist values smacked of cultural chauvinism.

Consequently, rather than urge the Islamic world to abandon Islamic supremacism in favor of liberal democracy, in their public diplomacy efforts, Americans sufficed with vapid pronouncements of love and respect for Islam...

It is far from clear which side will win this fight for the heart of the Republican Party. And it is impossible to know who the next US president will be.

But whatever happens, the fact that after their seven-year vacation, the Americans are returning the real world is a cause for cautious celebration."

Monday, December 07, 2015

Bulgaria with decent stance about trade with Israel

Nearly a month ago, the European Union decided to label goods made in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

I was outraged to hear this. What was the rationale behind the move? The rationale was to appease the Islamists by showing them that Europe supports the Palestinians and is against the Jews. (And if someone says that you can criticize the Zionist policy of Israel without being against the Jews, I'd suggest to him to analyze the following statement: "I have nothing against Italians, I just want Italy erased from the world map.")

To be a Westerner and to promote or support anti-Israeli policies is ethically problematic, to put it mildly. Besides, it is against your own interests. As Churchill once said, appeasement is like feeding a crocodile - all you can hope at is that it will eat you last. In fact, almost immediately after Europe decided to label the "settlers"' products, terrifying Islamist attacks were carried out in France, claiming 130 lives. France was one of the countries who led the settlement labeling effort. Another one was Belgium, where the attacks were planned. The Islamists are more rational and consistent than us. They look for weak spots and, when they find one, they press.

I am glad that my Bulgaria was among the EU member states that didn't press for labeling. (The others were Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia). Now, I'd wish Bulgaria to refuse to implement the decision, like Hungary.

I wrote this post exactly today to mark the Jewish festival of Hanukkah which began last night. To all who celebrate - happy Hanukkah!