America’s Camp Of The Saints

By Rod Dreher

This is going to be interesting when — and if — they arrive at the US border:

For five days now hundreds of Central Americans — children, women, and men, most of them from Honduras — have boldly crossed immigration checkpoints, military bases, and police in a desperate, sometimes chaotic march toward the United States. Despite their being in Mexico without authorization, no one has made any effort to stop them.

Organized by a group of volunteers called Pueblos Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, the caravan is intended to help migrants safely reach the United States, bypassing not only authorities who would seek to deport them, but gangs and cartels who are known to assault vulnerable migrants.

Organizers like Rodrigo Abeja hope that the sheer size of the crowd will give immigration authorities and criminals pause before trying to stop them.

“If we all protect each other we’ll get through this together,” Abeja yelled through a loudspeaker on the morning they left Tapachula, on Mexico’s border with Guatemala, for the nearly monthlong trek.

When they get to the US, they hope American authorities will grant them asylum or, for some, be absent when they attempt to cross the border illegally. More likely is that it will set up an enormous challenge to the Trump administration’s immigration policies and its ability to deal with an organized group of migrants numbering in the hundreds.

The number of people who showed up to travel with the caravan caught organizers by surprise, and has overwhelmed the various towns they’ve stopped in to spend the night. Pueblos Sin Fronteras counted about 1,200 people on the first day.

This is close to the plot of the notorious 1973 dystopian French novel The Camp of the Saints. In that novel, a mass exodus of migrants from India land their ragtag flotilla in the south of France, and all but dare the French to resist letting them in. The novel — which is undeniably racist in parts — is mostly a pitch-black satire on French elites — in government, the academy, media, the church, etc. — falling all over themselves to prove their humanitarianism by welcoming the invasion. I read the book in 2015, and wrote a post about it titled “Good Lessons From A Bad Book.” I caught some flak on Twitter earlier today simply by noting the similarity between this real-life story and the plot of the novel. Apparently even noticing things like this is considered by some on the left as prima facie evidence of bigotry.

Still, there it is, even though the thousand-strong migrant throng headed north from Central America is scarcely like the hundreds of thousands sailing from India to France in the novel. The comparison is useful in providing an imaginative framework for the kind of reactions we might see on this side of the border (though it should be understood that the scenario in Camp Of The Saints is an apocalyptic one, with all the attendant end-of-the-world hysteria that makes for vivid fiction.) …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Brown M&Ms and Religious Illiteracy

By Rod Dreher

Two tweets:

NPR issued this embarrassing correction today. I assume will be no questioning within the NPR newsroom about its lack of religious literacy and religious diversity.

— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) March 30, 2018

I’m a bit hokey when it comes to “Good Friday.” I don’t mean disrespect to the religious aspect of the day, but I love the idea of reminding folks that any day can become “good,” all it takes is a little selflessness on our own part. Works EVERY time.

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) March 30, 2018

If I have to explain to you why the NPR correction and Chuck Todd’s tweet betray massive ignorance of very basic facts of Christianity, then shouldn’t you ask yourself why you don’t know these facts? Even if you’re not a Christian? Christianity is the religion, or at least the religious background, of the overwhelming majority of Americans. The crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on the Cross on Good Friday is one of the basic teachings of the religion. The name — which is used in English-speaking countries — is presumably meant to observe the paradox that the day on which God was murdered turned out to be eternal victory over death. This is why it is “Good”.

Second, the teaching that Jesus arose from the dead on Easter, and ascended into heaven 40 days later, is basic Christianity. You ought to know this as a matter of elementary cultural literacy. I don’t think either Chuck Todd or Vanessa Romo, the NPR writer who initially mischaracterized Easter, meant any harm or hostility. In Romo’s case, presumably her mistake made it through at least one level of editing. It’s pretty amazing that at a national news organization with high standards, no one thought to look this up before publishing.

Michael Brendan Dougherty explains why this is so important. It’s not simply a matter of hurt feelings:

Alas, the problem of illiteracy gets more serious when our complaints about a foreign policy that predictably leads to persecution become illegible, or lawmakers are unable to anticipate the effect of their laws on us, or see gain in making their opponents defend our beliefs.

— Michael Brendan Dougherty (@michaelbd) March 31, 2018

This is exactly right. For many years now, some of us Christians have been trying to talk about Christian teaching on human sexuality, and how the push for LGBT rights in some cases seriously affects our consciences. That does not mean that we have the right to prevail, but in many conversations with journalists, I have not yet found one who evinces the slightest understanding of what the traditional Christian position is. They dismiss it outright as nothing but bigotry.

If we can’t count on leading journalists to understand the most basic facts about Christian practice and belief, how on earth can we trust them to report fairly and accurately about something as complicated as Christian sexual teaching? How can they trust themselves? How can they even begin …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Easter: Why we need the cross more than ever

By David D. Ireland With Easter upon us, that most venerable day when Christians across the globe celebrate the atoning death of Jesus, we would do well to remember that THE symbol of this day, the cross, is not only a link to God, but it is also a pathway to bridging the many racial and cultural issues that divide us all today. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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Iranian Christian Asylum Seekers Are Still Stuck in Limbo

By Daniel Larison

NPR has a follow-up report on the predominantly Christian Iranian asylum seekers stranded in Vienna:

As Christians all over the world celebrate Easter weekend, dozens of fellow faithful are growing weary — waiting for the virtual gates of America’s refugee services to reopen.

More than 100 Iranian Christians and members of other religions have been stranded in Austria for over a year, after the U.S. program that welcomes religious minorities from Iran has all but shut its door under President Trump, refugee advocates say. Eighty Iranians who traveled to Vienna expecting to be resettled in the United States have already been denied asylum in America. Others are awaiting final U.S. approval.

The rejection puts the applicants at risk, has angered members of Congress from both parties and devastated U.S. family sponsors.

Unfortunately, things have not improved since I first wrote about this story a little over a month ago. These people traveled to Vienna because the U.S. gave them every reason to expect that they would be allowed to come here. Under U.S. law, religious minorities escaping persecution are not only allowed to come, but the government must provide a compelling reason why they cannot if their request is denied. To date, the Trump administration has offered no explanation or justification for why it has so far rejected the requests of eighty people.

It is disgraceful to slam the door in their faces, and to do it after they have waited for so long and have already left their home behind is exceptionally cruel. They cannot return home because they would face punishment from the government, and there is no good reason why they can’t come to America. Keeping these Iranians from receiving asylum in the United States will do them enormous harm and it is entirely unnecessary. Especially when they have relatives already here willing to vouch for them, it makes no sense to deny their requests for asylum.

The case of these Iranians makes a mockery of the administration’s own rhetoric about protecting religious minorities. The U.S. should not bar the way to innocent people fleeing persecution. The administration needs to reconsider and approve the requests of the asylum seekers they rejected immediately and approve the rest without further delay.

…read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Fleeing Venezuelans need refuge in the US, Latin America and elsewhere

By Alvaro Vargas Llosa Anti-immigration sentiment is beginning to target Venezuelans who seek shelter in Latin America, the United States and Spain as their country descends into Dante’s inferno. …read more

Via:: Fox Opines


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The Cops Who Killed Alton Sterling

By Rod Dreher

Above, the body cam video from Baton Rouge police officer Blane Salamoni (who was fired yesterday), recording the confrontation he and his partner had with Alton Sterling. It ended with Sterling dead. The video has extremely raw language, so don’t watch it at work or with children around. But do watch it with the sound up. You need to listen to how Salamoni treated Sterling.

The Baton Rouge Advocate writes:

On his body camera video, Salamoni can be heard shouting profanities at Sterling from the beginning of the encounter, threatening to shoot Sterling in the head if he fails to place his hands on the hood of a vehicle. Sterling seems confused at times throughout the encounter — asking the officers, “What I did, sir?” and, seconds later, telling them they are hurting his arm.

Surveillance at Triple S Food Mart shows an overhead angle of where Sterling was selling homemade CDs before he was approached by Baton Rouge officers, as well as Salamoni quickly becoming physical with Sterling — placing him in a headlock within seconds of arriving on the scene and drawing his service weapon almost immediately after.


“Don’t f****** move or I’ll shoot your f****** ass, bitch!” Salamoni screams. “Put your f****** hands on the car! Put your hands on the car or I’ll shoot you in your f****** head, you understand me? Don’t you f****** move, you hear me?”

After the shooting, a breathless Salamoni curses at Sterling, repeatedly calling him a “stupid motherf*****” and several other profanities as Sterling lies motionless on the ground.

Watching the Salamoni body cam video, it’s not hard to see how Sterling could have been very confused by what the police officers were ordering him to do. There was a long federal investigation of this case, which resulted in no charges, as well as a state investigation, which also produced no charges.

Blane Salamoni may or may not deserve jail, but he does not have the temper to carry a gun and be authorized to use deadly force. With officers like that on the force, no wonder black people are afraid of cops. I’d be afraid if I were confronted by a police officer that threatened to blow my head off only seconds after engaging me — and with me not doing anything threatening to him.

If you don’t think we have a problem with violent police, watch the video above. At the beginning of the Alton Sterling affair, a former police officer who has strong feelings about police brutality took me through the available video, and told me that the police would likely not be charged, because their actions were legally justifiable, but that they were guilty of terrible police practice — not a crime, maybe, but still, Alton Sterling is dead, and he didn’t have to be.

Now, to be fair, Sterling had a rap sheet a mile long, and was armed with a pistol even though he was forbidden by law from owning a gun. The pistol was in his front right pocket, and it …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Reader: Catholics Need To Connect To The Benedict Option

By Rod Dreher

Feeling stranded on an island in liquid modernity? There is help (ESB Professional/Shutterstock)

What a remarkable letter from a reader:

I’ve been reading your coverage (and Lawler’s and Skojec’s) on the latest Francis debacle. As a recent convert to Catholicism myself, I’ve found myself identifying strongly with your words about the role that concrete realities play over intellectual abstractions in holding onto one’s faith. It brought to mind a connection to the Benedict Option that I think many Catholics need to make.

In the past few years I’ve started to see more and more Catholic intellectuals who were allied with the JPII conservative hermeneutic of Vatican II – Cardinal Muller, George Weigel, Michael D. O’Brien, Phil Lawler, Ross Douthat, Fr. Dwight Longenecker, and other less visible figures – and who tried to keep up the impression that nothing was going wrong in Rome start to break under the pressure of facts. All of them have moved in the direction of being critical of Pope Francis. More than one have come very close to publicly calling him a heretic. There’s still a faction of non-trad conservative Catholics who are trying to keep up the “nothing to see here folks” interpretation of the Francis pontificate, especially those who focus in Catholic apologetics and for obvious reasons don’t want to let on to those outside that the man up top is running the ship into an iceberg, but their attempts at justifying and explaining away Francis’s perpetual sowing of confusion border on the delusional, and everyone except them knows it. Among Catholic intellectuals who aren’t primarily apologists (although I wouldn’t put all of the latter in the former category by a long shot), there are really only two positions left: embracing liberal Catholicism and swallowing the Francis Kool-Aid, or leaning in the trad direction and having to admit (whether implicitly or explicitly) that Francis is one of the worst, if not the worst, pontiffs in the history of the Church. Increasingly, it’s down to a worldview contest between First Things and Commonweal. The JPII synthesis is fast becoming irrelevant.

What all this has to do with the Benedict Option is when this confusion drips down to the ground level. Most Catholics in the pews are blissfully unaware of what’s going on, because they are not Catholics and also not in the pews. But increasingly large numbers of faithful Catholics are starting to realize the danger that this pontificate poses to their faith. The reason comes from what you said about the contrast between the concrete and the abstract. The Catholic mind and spirit is naturally directed towards submission to the Pope and the hierarchy as guardians of the faith. With the situation being what it is, that submission becomes bifurcated in a very psychologically painful way: there’s the nominal submission to Pope Francis and the heretics and traitors who make up much of the hierarchy, which basically amounts to lip service, and then the real submission to the Catholic faith as it really is, which at …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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End the Blockade of Gaza

By Daniel Larison

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reports on the casualties caused by the Israeli armed assault on a Palestinian march at the Gaza border:

As of 22:00 today, 30 March, 15 Palestinians were killed and 1,416 were injured by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Of all injuries, approximately 750 were hit by live ammunition, including twenty, who are reported to be in a critical condition [bold mine-DL].

Medical facilities in Gaza, which have already been overstrained by the longstanding shortages of medical supplies, electricity and fuel, are struggling to cope with the overwhelming number of casualties.

Israeli forces fired upon unarmed protesters and killed over a dozen while wounding hundreds more. Gaza was already under a suffocating blockade. The humanitarian disaster that the blockade is causing in Gaza is enormous, but has received very little outside attention. The Los Angeles Times reported on the situation last month:

Deficit and desperation define life these days in the Gaza Strip. Residents make do with four hours of electricity a day. Most people don’t have access to clean water because the supply system is contaminated with sewage. Breakfast for some schoolchildren is a cup of hot water flavored with a dash of salt.

“Despair isn’t even the right word to describe what’s going on here because things are getting worse and worse,” said Omar Ghraieb, 31, a journalist and digital media manager living in Gaza. “We wake up to a world of struggles each day.”

For more than a decade Palestinians living in Gaza have endured major escalations of violence and an air and sea blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt, that has decimated the infrastructure, stifled economic growth and made living conditions so dismal that United Nations officials say a humanitarian disaster is unavoidable.

“We really are seeing a collapse in place,” said Matthias Schmale, director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, which provides humanitarian assistance to more than 1.3 million refugees in the self-governing Palestinian territory.

Frida Ghitis provides more details in her recent WPR column:

After more than a decade under Hamas rule and following two brief wars with Israel, living conditions are dismal. Electricity service is limited to six or seven hours a day, potable water is in short supply, and unemployment afflicts about half of the population. While Gazans blame both Israel and Hamas for their troubles, some in Israel say the blame rests fully with Hamas and that it is not Israel’s responsibility to help. But that is very much a minority view among security experts.

These are the conditions that are driving many people to join the protests. When people protest against these conditions, they are shot with live ammunition. That is disgraceful, and there is no excuse for it. Gaza is now likely to suffer even more in the days and weeks to come in order to further “punish” the people that Israel has been blockading for more than a decade.

The shooting …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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