Tax Exempt Status for Political Churches?

   Today an executive order was signed which will allow churches to more freely endorse political candidates. Opponents say this chips away at the separation of Church and State, and something does seem fishy about what has occurred. In discussing this, I will tell a story, as well as argue, as I have to the Christians up the street, that the Christians are deceived by Donald Trump. Jesus does not support Tyrants, nor does Pope Francis- as the fake news story tried to have it- support Donald Trump, nor should American Christianity allow itself to be enlisted in the emerging anti-Muslim “nationalism,” elsewhere and more truly termed fascism. Who is your neighbor?

   I was pleased to find a church and preacher I quite liked, just up the street, as I could walk there, and had stopped going to both a Catholic and Baptist Church, each for different reasons. On my first visit there, the pastor commented that he was forbid to speak politics from the altar, and the whole congregation seemed quite paranoid about me, as if I were some liberal come to spy out their tax exempt status. They stopped raising their hands in prayer, for example, though the second time I was there, when they prayed for me as I had asked, they raised their hands, and some even spoke in tongues, which was quite a powerful experience. I told them I needed help, that I needed work and a lawyer, and was in some difficulty at home there up the street, but they would only give me their first names, and, as said, seemed quite suspicious. Apparently there had been a robbery on the property recently, and of course one never knows.

   After my second visit, I decided to write to the pastor about some things I had learned from his preaching on John, about the tax exempt status question, and about how the Christians are quite deceived about Donald Trump. When I was a teacher at the community college, of American Government, I would tell the kids that they of course were allowed almost limitless free expression of religion, but for me to preach Jesus from the lectern would violate the establishment clause, though I would comment on the Bible as a part of the unwritten constitution of the Americans, as George Anastaplo discusses this in his book on the constitution.* I thought maybe similarly the parishioners have a right to express politics, but not the preacher from the pulpit, and this is close, but not quite it. I said this as much to demonstrate how the Establishment and free expression clauses fit together as to communicate silently that I would like to teach about Jesus but cannot- and this was not my job. I told Tom, the Pastor, that similarly he was limited from certain things about politics, though that it not quite it. I too would refrain from any partisan politics in class, and, I told him, I was concerned that Christians be free to teach the ethics of the Bible, including the teachings that homosexuality is not good for the soul, from Moses and Paul, and even that abortion is wrong, though this is a Greek Hippocratic, and not a Mosaic teaching. Leviticus distinguishes between killing a born child and causing a miscarriage as by striking a pregnant woman, and the latter is not murder, though it is a crime. Jesus never got around to teaching against homosexuality, as though it were not so much a priority, though Paul does, in Romans 1. I wrote too that Paul in Romans 2 implies that violence against gays is the result of repressed homosexuality (“you yourselves are doing the same things”), as this is a more serious or higher level of sin. And what, I asked Tom, if it is true that homosexuality is bad for the soul and also true that our use of pesticides and suburban lawn chemicals is interfering with the hormones of our youth? Plus, people are not required to be Christian in order to be American, and this is extremely important. As I have a braided ponytail, since I have not been able to afford haircuts for two years, kind of like it, and used to grow my hair long when I was in High School and College, I think they thought I might be gay. Rather, I think of Lancelot when he comes out of the woods for the final battle in the movie Ex-Calibre.

   So I wrote him a two page letter discussing these things, since he did not have much time on Sundays for discussion. I also gave him my website and Twitter numbers, as I like to promote myself and was surely not worried about revealing my true self to him. I wrote that it seemed unconstitutional to forbid him to say just about anything as a preacher, except to incite crimes, as when a speech becomes an action, in slander, libel, false advertising, perjury, fake news and such, fraud and other ways of harming people, and this of course, like all our constitutional questions, can become extremely difficult. We forbid religious expression even of students when, as when the Texas High school prayed as a group in the end zone after each touchdown, though, unlike Germany, we try to allow hate speech, though this too can cross the line to become an action, violating rights that it is the purpose of government to secure.

   I wrote to Tom that Trump was not a Christian (though I might be wrong), that he hardly believes that murder is wrong, let alone that abortion is murder, that he does not care about any sexual morality, let alone transgender issues, that the Miss Universe Pageant (held in Russia at the building owned by Tillerson) demonstrates a disregard for adultery as an ethical crime, or promotes adultery as well as the regard for sex over love, that his defrauding of the elderly through Trump University demonstrates a willingness to lie and steal, and his willingness to use the law to hurt people, such as the blacks and the liberals and the Mexican immigrants is characteristic of a tyrant, and that the Christian’s opposition to Hillary was far from sufficient reason to invite Russian and KKK influence into U. S. politics. Fascism is quite opposed to the message of the Gospel, I argued, and the Christians quite snowed by Donald Trump, who is a salesman and will say and use anything for his own advantage or self interest. I think I am stating the matter a bit more clearly today than I did in the letter to him, but you get the gist of what was said in the letter.

   After missing Church the day that I delivered the letter, I appears for my third sermon, the fourth week since I began to walk up the street on Sundays to his church. He met me on the steps on the way in, said things that indicated he had misunderstood me to be pro-abortion and pro-gay- a misunderstanding, as I am quite the centrist, with rather unique positions on all the issues, due to thinking a lot about both sides, and trying to teach. Tom had said two things that had indicated the sort of news stations he was listening to- that the report of Trump calling up 100,000 national guardsmen was fake news (Trump changed his mind), and that Obama had christened many new intelligence officers just before he left office. It was also clear that he did not have time, as do I, for a detailed and vigorous study of the news. Teachers of American Government sometimes have a natural tendency to become centrists, though not always. My philosophic studies of the roots of both left and right wing extremes, in communism and fascism, and seeing how the extremes of both the right and left political characters leads people into twentieth century totalitarianism either way- this also impels me to my unique centrism.  I had argued that when we vote for a president, we vote for a man capable of the executive office more than for a party platform, one able to be president, for the good of our nation, and that both the Republicans and the Christians were simply snowed by Donald Trump. I do not much appreciate Jesus being used for political self interest, and so do not mind stepping up, even to talk to a preacher. I was told that I would not be happy at their church, and it was clear that I was being asked to leave. But I knew he misunderstood me and sincerely wanted to hear the sermon. A woman coming up the stairs backed my saying that Trump was cozy with the White Supremacists, as Steve Bannon had been chosen Chief of Staff. In his previous sermons he had added great points to my understanding of the famous scene where Jesus, resurrected, asks Peter, Do You love me? He said that God wants our fellowship, and Jesus indeed our friendship, profound teachings, and he had showed me that Peter just goes back to fishing, back to money-making, when he returns to Galilee after the crucifixion. A Catholic had showed me that cool thing about the two scenes with the charcoal fire, and I was seeing confirmation about my learning that it is John and not Peter who is the guy, even as the Eastern Orthodox Church might show us Catholics. And Tom showed me something about the calling to be a preacher, I thought, about agape and two kinds of philo, feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep,” and “feed my sheep,” thee different things in answer to the two or three different questions, do you love me, then he prophesied Pete’s death and he said “follow me.” And what is it to Peter if indeed John did remain until He came to visit him on Potmos, or even if John remained, as he did throughout the crucifixion, more faithful to the last day?

   These are the sort of things I was seeing, and though I was quiet throughout the sermons, and tried to be helpful and friendly to everyone- discussing the six kinds of machines with the son of one man who is a member, etc, Tom made it clear that it was not their choice that I return. I had said on the steps going in, “Do you mean to say that I am not welcome in you church unless I am a Trump supporter,”? and he could not say yes for fear of the law about the tax exempt status. I was attacked in speech on the way out as I tried to explain, accused of disrespecting our President and government contrary to Romans !3 1-7, and I asked what they thought Paul did when, some ten years after writing this, he was ordered by Nero to give up the names of his fellow Christians? Did he obey his government? No, that is surely not what he means by obedience, and if the Christians were ordered by the Nazis to answer, “Do you have any Jews,” we would be obligated to lie- that is my teaching, anyway, or that that is not what John means by liars. Rather, the “liars” might be those who tell the truth to save themselves, as perhaps Peter did around the first of the charcoal fires.

   I was also accused for raising my voice to the preacher, in the back of the church on the way out, though I said I thought Tom had the Holy spirit in his preaching, and “wise” I called him to one I tried to proselytize to come that Sunday but not his political theory. “I am a PhD in politics,” I pleaded. Accused of disrespecting the House, said to a woman, Who’s house is this? And to their surprise- for they did not seem to know the saying, I quoted: “Fist remove the log from your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” I backed out the door saying loudly, “This is the word of the Lord,” to my own surprise, and wandered home wondering about the ironic joke on me that I had clearly failed to remove the splinter from my brothers eye and keep myself in the class I was enjoying.

   I had put one dollar in the collection in an envelope which asked for my address. A few days later I received a letter with no return address, with a checklist of similarities between Hillary o the Democratic platform and the Nazi’s, things I too complain about when government becomes like Big Mother,” making me spend 1/2 hour plus a day for the last seven years rolling my own cigarettes ’cause they tried to tax us out of smoking, o indeed ending my teaching career because Politics and Philosophy had been White male dominated departments prior to affirmative action, and the liberal arts could be used in a way that medicine, for example could not to promote the feminist superiority teaching or the understanding that equality means numerical equality rather than equal opportunity regardless of prejudice, as if we would require a proportional number of short Asian women in pro baseball or the NBA.

   So, is Tom a religious or a political organization? And what would happen if the law compelled him to let me stay, so long as I was not disruptive? And just as I did not claim the benefits of common law marriage, because my fiance never would officially marry me, so I toil for free in the work of my nation and my faith indistinguishable. Perhaps if the Trumpsters are going to use Jesus to snow the Christians, they ought at lest pay their taxes.

 

Note *The Constitution of 1787 by George Anastaplo opens with a discussion of some of the comprehensive influences on the American Constitution. Examples of Biblical influences that can be discussed in a political science course are Genesis 9:6, which presents the reason that murder is wrong, and Deuteronomy 25:3, forbidding the return of escaped slaves. The difference between the scientific, Judicial and religious use of scripture is quite interesting in elation to the First Amendment and Establishment from the lectern. Deuteronomy 25:3, though it is not law for us, is yet why I could not, as a Michiganian, swear allegiance to the pre-Civil War Constitution. Up here, we knew that it was, as Montesquieu explains, a violation of political liberty to compel one to do what is wrong (or prevent one from doing what is right (Spirit of the Laws, XI). The contradiction could have been corrected by appealing to the Article IV requirement that each state be guaranteed a republican form of government, avoiding the civil war. But Jackson’s man Taney could have prevented the 265,000 American deaths in the civil War had he but decided that Dred Scott was a man. Sometimes there is silence in an awful moment which could and should have gone another way, and many lives and much suffering are at stake. This topic came up when we were discussing the engenius basis of Supreme Court case # 16-907, which argued that the election was unconstitutional because the national government is required to protect the states from foreign invasion, as occurred by the Russians through the internet.

The Fear of Death

   The fear of death is a great and ancient topic. Its conquest is said to be the beginning of philosophy. Reversed, the fear of death becomes the desire for self-preservation, the great first principle of modern political philosophy. When I was first removed from the internet a couple months ago, I began to read the book of the brothers Grimm, and came across this point in the story of The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids, where the kids are told by the mother goat that they will know the wolf by his black feet seen under the door, but the wolf goes to the miller and has him whiten his feet with meal, having already had the baker rub them with dough…

The miller thought to himself, ‘the wolf wants to deceive some one,’ and refused; but the the wolf said, ‘If thou wilt not do it, I will devour thee.’ Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly, men are like that.

   Tyranny advances by the fear of death that rules most parts of most people most of the time. When it reaches a critical mass, it can seize power in a regime, and so too in the world. But it can also be defeated, because the wolf or wolves cannot eat all day, and can only visit one goat’s house at a time. So too, if we all stand up at once together, tyranny will dissolve and simply go away to await another day, when men have become corrupt again and susceptible to its power.

   Why the human things are this way is of course a great mystery. But here too one sees the saying that if men would only pray and receive Him now, the age of the Messiah would come to be.

Centrist Position on Israel: The 1 1/2 State Solution

   As usual, the CLC has some unique points to make regarding the question of the two-state or the one state solution recently in the News. In brief, we recommend settling Palestinians wherever it works in a sub-state, square by square and family by family available only to those who will recognize Israel, reversing the Arab error that undermined the U.N. solution of 1947, when both were given a sovereign state with Jerusalem an international city. A sub-state is a compromise between the one and two state solution. They must grow into full sovereignty with a generation of peace. But then as Palestine prospers, perhaps under the U.N. and Israel together, the war generation will stop teaching their children to kill Jews, and see a better life in the squares linked together by those who recognize Israel. Perhaps they would stop assassinating their own moderates, and take up the principles of peaceful protest, imitating our Saint Martin Luther King Jr. Requiring recognition is a major demand of BB Netanyahu- a very great statesman.

   “We are especially worried that Donney Trumpet will try to use the Jews to beat up “Muslims.” For the future, a Jewish fascism in line with the emerging fascism is not out of the question, just because the Jews suffered the holocaust. As human, the Jews are not immune, and this “race purity” rubbish is in a way an inversion of the Jewish attempt to hold together as a distinct people, pressuring the kids to marry Jewish, etc. All the old nations do this, like the poles, etc.) but for the Jews it held a religious significance, as the Chosen people, so that the Nazi attack on the Jews is an attack on God, and anti-Biblical. We have been considering the possibility that Daniel prophesied to the Jews about Hitler, while John prophesies an anti-Christian persecution that would enlist the Jews.

   What we do to one another is and will be done to us. Love one another! Race, class and religion are things of the body compared to Justice, a thing of the soul.

   Note: It is an anomaly of history that when the Jews bombed the King David Hotel because the Brits stopped immigration to Israel, the Jews themselves introduced terrorist bombing into the modern world.

   Note Two: Melchizedek did the sacrament of bread and wine on Mount Moriah prior to Isaac and Ishmael, whose descendants both worship God most High, the God of Abraham. The Christians might be the ones to solve this fleshment of the ancient quarrel. Abraham ended human sacrifice, then rampant, on Mount Moriah. Jesus ended animal sacrifice at Mount Moriah, and the sacrament of bread and wine replaces these. Jesus is of course a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Michigan Recount: Use Logic, Not Just Calculation / On Islamo-fascism and Twentieth Century Tyranny

   We have 80,000 ballots in Michigan for which no vote was cast for president. Do these tend, say by 20,000, to be Democratic voters on the other issues? And is this number similar in all the states, or just the swing states? That is only one of a myriad of ways that the recount needs to be not only calculative, but intelligent. We can ferret these things out if we proceed intelligently. And how do the exit polls match the tally? In one county in Wisconsin, more votes were cast for Trump than thee were voters. Still, if the body politic were manipulated by spying and marketing tactics, we would only be recounting fraudulent or rather adulterated votes. That is why we have called for the Electoral College to revert to the original intent for that body and overturn the election results. But who knows, maybe Putin or Bart Bright Boy are stupid enough to fix our election in every way they could think of, rather than one sure way that we will not find because we ae repressing the truth regarding the spy-marketing, which the FBI likes so well and everyone thought would make them richer and safer, if we could just get around that dang Bill of Rights.

   Incidentally, that is how evil often works, using our own sin against us. In response to the question of whether I thought Putin was the Anti-Christ, I answered that he was not smart enough. Lest you fail too to get the joke, that means I do not think he is not wicked enough. Millions of corpses is the legacy of the Russian KGB, and we ae oblivious. Maybe we could have better relations, yea, if the Slaves would get up and free themselves from tyranny for a change, sometime this century. Yeah, how do you like us messing with your “elections?” Marxism is a German ideology, and fascism too comes from the West, whether out of German philosophy, Nazism or Italy. The fasces is of course the Roman scepter of rods and axes. These are the gift of the West to the East, and we would like to give them Jefferson to make up for it.

   New thought is emerging about the nature of Islamo-fascism, and as said, we suspect that this too has a Western source, and that the East might rid itself of this as well. We think that twentieth Century totalitarianism emerges out of the void left in the Christian or Biblical imagination when science asks a few questions that quickly lead to atheism. Again, Islam, we Jews and Christians are believers in “the God of Abraham and the last day,” not the “infidels” of Mohammed, who were the “polytheists,” and indeed the Atheists. Mohamed himself says that the Apostles wee “Muslim,” that is, people of the faith. And again, Moses was at least as vicious against the idolaters as is Mohammed, who also teaches not to idolatrize any man, such as Mohammed, as by killing those who write cartoons about him. We do not understand this very well how man was 3,200 years ago, but idolaters practiced human sacrifice, as did most peoples throughout the world (including our idealized native Americans and our British or “Celtic” ancestors, for some very strange reason that is not very well understood. The strange, irrational, anti-Darwinian practice somehow was the practice perhaps 70,000 years ago, when all the other races came out of Africa. Isaiah too describes the last day, and anything said about an Islamic aim at world rule could surely also be said of the Jews and Christians, though this is not what the prophecy means.

   These strange tyrannies are intellectual perversions or inversions of the imagination, based indeed as ‘Tocqueville says on the void in the Christian imagination. As Marx explicitly writes, revolutionary violence become spiritual violence, “philosophy in action,” I believe he calls it, when he is screaming for “torrents of blood” beyond 1794, and “Death to the Bourgeiose,” who are who, if not the parents of little girls dressed for Sunday school. Hence, Anastasia screamed in vain,” but if you want to do this to little girls, I am afraid you will have war from us, and would perhaps even from Martin Luther King, before we sit by as pacifists. Unlike Mohammed or Moses, Jesus sets aside the severity of the law. For the “Evangelicals, Baptists and those who try to rely on scripture rather than corrupt tradition, the word of God says “Moses says…but I say…” That is, the fact that the Bible is the word of God does not mean what we think it means, and I do not think the Bible anywhere teaches this, except to say that every word of scripture is inspired (spoke before there even was a New Testament). Here is an example: The Bible, which is the word of God, says that the word of God “was in the beginning.” The Jews teach that this is the Torah, and we too try to say that the New Testament “was in the beginning,” but this is not quite what it says. There is in fact no Biblical teaching that the Bible is the “word of God” in the sense that it would be refuted if Moses said one thing and Jesus another. Moses says stone the Adulteress, but we say, not that you have not sinned or that there is no sin, but “go and sin no more.”

The Limitations of Andrew C. MCCarthy on Islam, Part II

The Imprimis essay, which I answered in the first Andrew McCarthy blog just a few days ago, requires a more detailed response, and so I have written a six page essay available on the politics page of this website. I am just beginning the study of the Quran, and in a rare critique of President Obama, when he called for scholars to address the issue, we have indicated the failure of both our president and our governor to provide oil for the lamp of the liberal arts, on which, as Milton too said, the safety of my nation now depends, or “for want whereof this nation perishes.”

I have just now completed the second draft, over there on the politics page. Go to the menu at the top of the website, where the picture of the apple tree and the shed await. Then under politics, go to the sub-pages in the politics section, and the essay, From the Depths of Darkness He Will Lead Them Into Light, will be found, as well as an essay on what is needed for peace.

Well, people had trouble finding or accessing the sub-page of the politics page, so I have thought to press this as a six page blog:

From the Depths of Darkness, He Will Lead them Into Light

The following is the continuation of the discussion with Andrew C. McCarthy on the distinction between Islam and radical Jihadist terrorist “Islam.” It is based on only the beginning of a reading of the Quran, though we are sure all who can read will see immediately that to merely scratch the surface is enough to refute the arguments of Abdul Rahman and Andrew C. McCarthy if these are held to pertain not just to the doctrines of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, but also to the true teachings of Islam.

While Mr. McCarthy, like the average Muslim, does not wish to  argue Muslim theology with a “doctor of Islamic jurisprudence” whose area of expertise is Sharia law, we, of course, are not frightened off by such a challenge, here on this day we call Holy Saturday, the celebration of the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection, during which Jesus is held to have addressed the souls that had died previous to his advent.

The main question is the truth of the teaching of Rahman that “Allah enjoined all Muslims to wage jihad until Islamic law was established throughout the world.” Without quoting the Quran, McCarthy writes: “The scriptures backed him up.” And “when he said Islam directed Muslims not to take Jews and Christians as their friends, the scriptures backed him up.” I am reminded of the strange teaching in the Twelfth Book of Plato’s Laws, that seems to say: “Everyone is to consider the same person a friend or enemy as the city does, and if someone should make peace or war with certain parties in private, apart from the community, the penalty is to be death in this case too” (955b-c). But there are many teachings in Plato’s Laws that are a bit strange, perhaps, to Jeffersonian modernity. But let this be as it is. A related question is whether the adherents of Islam are willing to allow the Jews and Christians, if not even the faithless, to continue to exist. For, as we think, even these and worse might one day live long enough to become faithful. If Islam will allow the Christians and the Jews to exist and admit the Jews as neighbors, Islam may be admitted to a free society, and some Islamic nations might be admitted to the free society of nations. If not: If Islam follows the teaching of Rahman about its own character or nature; if it insists upon subjecting and forbidding all others, Islam may of course not be admitted into the free society. Peace will be impossible if the leaders- as for example the elected Hamas leadership of the Palestinians- insist upon and choose war. Apparently, one cannot always choose peace, because another may choose war, and one then has apparently no alternative but to beat them in the contest. At present, the preaching of New Testament Christianity is forbidden in nations governed by any version of Islamic law, so that one suspects that persecution and martyrdom will follow any Islamic conquest.

But Let us begin a reading of the Quran, as is still possible, if occasionally risky, here in the free West. We have just begun the study, and so have just the first few chapters in any context. Still, we can assume that the rest must cohere, as blatant contradiction is not usually allowed in a holy text. We treat the text itself as well as the physical book and the translation with the respect due to a holy scripture, again at least out of respect and gratitude for the folks who provided this free, authoritative translation.

Mohammed himself would not blame us if we reject the teaching of Mr. Rahman. At 2.256, the text reads:

Let there be no force (compulsion) in religion: Sturdy truth stands clear from error; Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has held the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks.

From a brief reading of the first and second chapters of the Quran, it soon becomes clear that there is a bit of irony in the saying that “there is no God but Allah.” “Allah” is the God of Abraham, the very same as the God of Israel, the God of the Jews and Christians. 2.139 reads :

He is our Lord, and your Lord: That we are responsible for our doings, and you for yours.

Indeed, as we have said, Mohammed brought the belief in one God to the Arabs, who prior to this were “pagan.” Ancient polytheism was often conjoined with human sacrifice and many strange and pointless sexual practices. It is for us a relique of a more ancient people, and spread even to America, though the wheel did not- and so we can guess that it is much older than 3000 B.C., or 5000 years ago. Plato’s Socrates, in the dialogue called Euthyphro, refutes the Greek poetic polytheism, as piety cannot be what is dear to the gods nor obedience to the will of the gods if there are many gods and these disagree, especially about fundamental matters. What is dear to or what is intended for us by Zeus may well be different from what is dear to or is intended by Hera. When Abraham “came forth from Ur of the Chaldees,” he may well have emigrated because he had seen through the Sumerian polytheism. At any rate, it is likely that Abraham and not Ikhnaton was the world’s first monotheist, though we would have to work on these dates, beginning from Manetho and attempting the cross chronology between the Egyptian, the Sumerian and the Abrahamic. It is possible that Abraham picked up the belief in one God from Egypt during his sojourn there, or even, especially, from Melchizadek, King of Salem, who did the sacrament of bread and wine at Jerusalem before there were either Jews, Muslims or Christians, honoring “God Most High,” right there near Mount Moriah. He may have been a Shemmite, and the teaching brought through the flood by Noah, who also taught that the reason for the law against murder is “…for God created man in his own image.” Hence the reason against worshiping statues, who are in fact lesser beings than the men who produced the artifacts, or even against many Gods, as the image of God in man is a single thing, male and female (Genesis 1:26). The Creation is not a begetting in the Bible. There is, however, a mystery of the bridal chamber, and the scripture New Testament scripture ends with the divine wedding. The begetting of the sons of God though the only begotten son is in the New Testament a begetting and not a creating (John 1, 3). Hence, we say that nous, called intellect, the eye of the soul, the light in the eyes or spark of the divine is distinct from the created faculty of reason, especially when this reason is an instrument serving the ends of the body. Monotheism, then, is Shemmetic, and Socrates too, discovering that nous is begotten (Republic 490) and looking to the image of God in man in legislation (Republic 501b), has an overwhelming tendency to speak of “the God” in the singular (Plato, Apology  ), whenever he thinks he can get away with it. We do not make images, then, because man or that in man is the image, the gateway to access to the contemplation of the Most High.

“Islam” means simply “surrender to God and find peace,” though Mr. McCarthy did not get around to mentioning this in the confines of a brief Imprimis essay. Mr. McCarthy rather uses his one citation of the Quran in order to demonstrate that Islam is not a religion of peace. He writes:

“Fight those who believe not in Allah,” and fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war.” These are not peaceful injunctions, no matter how one contextualizes when he writes this.

Mr McCarthy depends upon the obvious misreading that “pagans” refers also to Jews and Christians. Again, the Abrahamic legislators are indeed quite violent in their opposition to both paganism and atheism, nor do we understand Moses in this regard. Any person characterized by any one of these epithets might, at some time in the future, be one who finds the truth or is to find the true God. And so again we incline to the vow of Jefferson and the recognition that “it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket…” An old professor, though, has suggested or indicated that the purpose of Moses and indeed of the Book of Genesis, (whoever wrote this, or composed it orally) is to oppose, and then for Moses to wipe out, idolatry. Ancient idolatry is again a thing involving the worship of statues and graven images, as an outside observer might even attribute to the Roman and Greek Christians when they house and even pray before statues of Jesus, Mary and the saints, though it is clear as day to us that no one is ever worshiping the statue. Perhaps it might appear this way to outsiders who do not follow the especially Greek and Biblical distinction between image and object. Ancient Idolatry involved the abomination of human sacrifice. Where the ancient men were who first devised this disadvantageous and superstitious practice is indeed a mystery, lost in the mists of time. But like the wheel, it is not something mankind is likely to have thought of twice, and so one can reason, for example, that the Aztecs and this practice came to the new world from Asia, quite some time before 3000 B.C. Modern paganism too is different, as this involves the explicit rejection of Christianity and the Biblical teaching, and so is tinged with the revenge of a defeated cult that is quite foreign to the innocent Homeric paganism simply followed by mortals lacking the genius of an Abraham or Socrates, required to think these things through and follow what is then revealed.

The difference, as Islam presents itself, is not in the identity of the Deity, but in the adherence to the God of Abraham as distinct from certain additions made by the Jews and especially the Christians, rather than additions made by Jesus. Abraham, it is said, “joined not Gods with Allah.” Hence, the appearance to Abraham as three men cannot be a prefiguration of the trinity of God as Father, God as Spirit, and the Son. The presence of the three in the first chapter of Genesis will also be difficult, as will be any description of the difference between God himself, whose presence we would not survive, and the Holy Spirit, whose presence may revive. The trinity is very difficult, and we object to any obligation to believe a particular formulation, as did Jefferson. But the trinity is for Muslims, as for Jahova’s Witnesses, a central reason for their objection to contemporary Christendom. They read the begetting of Jesus as though we were saying something that might pertain to Zeus and Hera when they were getting along, and so we say “by all means do not believe this!” And we say the same to the Jews regarding Jesus, if you think of it as the worship of a human being, “by all means, do not accept this!” But neither of these is even what is being said by the Christians.

Abraham was, of course, neither a Jew, an Israelite nor a Christian. Nor, we must add, was he an Ismaelite nor a Muslim in the sense of a follower of the Quran and accept-er of Mohammed as the prophet of the Most High God. The beginning of the Quran presents Islam as pure Abraham, without certain later additions. But we too hold that Abraham and Moses are “saved,” though to account for this is a bit of a mystery, given certain other teachings. Melchizadek too, the King of Salem, who did the sacrament of bread and wine with Abraham near Mount Moriah, (if not on the very spot) may not have had the eucharist, if he did not somehow receive baptism (as through the flood, when as Peter says, “eight persons were saved through water.”) This, then, is a second argument for the equation of Melchizadek and Shem. That these are saved may mean indeed that “He laid down his life from the beginning of the creation,” and not only in about 0 B.C. / A.D. The way through death is always there for man in every age, though it would be a bit less manifest, more rare and more difficult to find for those like Abraham, Socrates, Melchizadek, Shem and Noah and Enoch, and perhaps Joseph, Job, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and so forth, Hosea, Zechariah. It would then be Jesus as eternal word that is the only mediator to the Father. But this is invisible, and so one would not be able to tell from the appearances in the world who even is a “Christian.”

It can surely be said, though, that according to the primary meaning of “Muslim,” Jews and Christians are Muslims, or “followers of the faith.” 2.143 reads that it is “righteousness:”

To believe in Allah, and the last day, and the Book, and the messengers; to spend from your own wealth in spite of your love for it, for your kin, for orphans, for the weak, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves, to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity, to fulfill contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and through periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, those who fear Allah.

But it is in the belief or emphasis upon the Last Day that the Christians are especially to be considered to be followers of the faith, in contrast with the secular world and the atheistic political movements. One wonders how Islam could even consider Christians as such to be fundamental opponents, except that Mohammed rejects our subtle teaching regarding the divinity of Jesus. But the Quran even teaches that he will return, and in a way not usual for any other man. And so one might beg pardon for our difficulty in stating this paradoxical divinity in order to account for these trans-human characteristics of the messiah, not to mention that he is worshiped by the apostles in the scripture, and this too is not fitting for any other man, Moses or Mohammed or anyone. Notoriously, Moses was denied entry into the promised land because of an error regarding giving to God the credit for the water flowing out of the rock. Apparently, this error occurred in a moment when the lightening was not permanently on for him, as Maimonides says, but must have flashed just a bit. 2.62 reads:

Those who believe (in the Quran), and those who are Jews, and the Christians and the Sabeans- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and with righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; On them there shall be no fear, and they shall not grieve-

And again, at 3.52, it is clear that Mohammed himself considers Christians, namely the Apostles themselves, to be Muslims:

When Isa (jesus) found disbelief on their part, he said: “Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?” The disciples said, “We are Allah’s helpers: we believe in Allah, and do you bear witness that we are Muslims.

Again, a Muslim is what? A follower of the faith, and Mohammed had not yet been born when the disciples were Muslims.

And so indeed it can be said that Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Rahman are simply in error to collapse the distinction between the terrorist’s radical Islam, Islamic jihad and such, on one hand, and traditional Islam on the other. The teaching of Mohammed is (2.190):

Fight in Allah’s causes, but do not transgress the limits: Allah does not love those who exceed the rightful limits.

Islamic jihad or holy war as we now have it is simply contrary to Islam, and forbidden as a form of murder. This is so, we dare to say, despite anything Mr. Dr. Rahman might say to the contrary. Islam in fact does mean “surrender to God and find peace,” as we hope will be the case for those influenced by these false teachings to strike the Christians and the Jews as though they were pagans and infidels, or those who believe there is no God. Any Muslim in true submission and following the way of Islam, then, will join decent persons everywhere is stopping and dissolving the strange new form of Western totalitarianism that has usurped true Islam, and as George Bush even said, “hijacked the faith.”

Islam, Isis and What is Needed for Peace

As we have said, we follow the policy of both our last two presidents, and consider the matter to be quite obvious, that we are not at war with Islam, but with the faction pretending to be based on Islam that is Al Quadra or the “Islamic State” that arose out of Al Qaeda. These have declared war on us, and so we are at war with them: one cannot, apparently, always choose peace, because others may choose war and attack you. We of course invite ISIS to just undeclared war on us, return these nations to their people, and the drone strikes etc. will stop. But this is the same as the condition between Israel and the Palestinians. If the Palestinians would follow Martin Luther King Jr, protest peacefully, and agree to live as good neighbors with their neighbor, they would quickly find that Israel would even help them, most likely, and, as George Bush famously said, they could replace teaching their children the bloody things of hatred, and watch them go to school in the morning, go to work, come home to their wives, and pursue happiness in peace. Why would one rather have this horrible war? Apparently they do not have access to this teaching, and others, other Palestinians, most likely in exile, who do wish and try for peace, must simply take over governing their people.

Islam is a religion of Abraham. Following Abraham, they believe in one God, the most High, the same God that the Christians and Jews believe in. Mohammed has the harshness of a legislator, but is not much different from Moses in this regard. Islam teaches justice, charity, chastity, kindness, and like the Jews will bring almost anyone home to celebrate Sabbath, they too will help non-Islamic neighbors. We do wish they would allow Christians to preach, or at least live in peace, though that has not been the rule in Islamic nations. The history of the West, though, makes us more “open,” allowing Islam a liberty and freedom of religion that they have not allowed the Christians. We ask then only that the Christians be allowed to live in peace, and, failing that, to emigrate.

The idea that Islam has more against the U. S. than the Russians is absurd. Russia is recovering slowly from Atheistic Communism, and their new nationalism is really a sort of tyranny. Russia too may recover their Greek Orthodox faith, and it would be a great help in this if the Pope would continue toward the recognition that the division between western and Eastern Churches is a political not a religious division. The idea, for example, that the two churches not recognize on another’s Eucharist is equally absurd. It is logically possible for both to be successors to the apostles, and the insistence of Rome on supremacy and obedience is about to destroy Rome, and lose an opportunity, perhaps, to prevent a third world war. We are not supposed to be divided in this way when he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. What good is a Church that cannot repent?

But presently, Atheistic Communism is much more opposed to all three Abrahamic religions than any of these are to one another. Mohammed taught the Arabs to worship one God rather than many. Incidentally, this is much better for the soul, and all polytheistic religions practice abominations, apparently according to some very ancient customs. The Homeric Greeks would on a rare occasion practice human sacrifice, to which Abraham, or rather God, put an end on Mount Moriah. Islam teaches that this occurred on the very threshing floor of Ornan where the Dome of the Rock and the wailing wall stand today. Now, Christians, do note that when Paul was about to turn southwest, apparently to bring Christianity to the Arabs, the Holy Spirit turned him North (if I remember correctly), as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. So, to say the least, Christendom ought be very glad that Mohamed brought monotheism to the Arabs. It is apparently much better for the integration of the soul to believe in one God than to believe in many. This is a subtheme of Plato’s Euthyphro, when Socrates refutes the definition of piety proposed by Euthyphro because what is dear to one god or loved by one God may be not dear, or hated by another God,. The whole Trojan war was based on a disagreement between Zeus and Hera, a marital squabble between beings who are more like people than divinities.

Radical Islam, though, does not have an Islamic source. Its diabolic hatred of their brother Abrahamic religions could not come from Abraham. We doubt seriously that the defense of the faith taught by Mohammed has anything to do with the offense of ISIS, though it is not impossible that the faith inherently seeks to  take over the world not by persuasion but by force and destroy their brethren Abrahamic faiths. We will have to read more of the Koran, which we will do, but one wonders  what father Abraham would think of the quarrel of these half brothers in his bosom. One suspect that one would get grounded or something. We suggest he would not be happy.

Which leaves us to question where radical Islam, in its diabolic aspect, came from. When the U.S. sought to stop the Soviet expansion into Afghanistan, the U. S. did arm the people who later became Al Qaeda. Conspiracy theorists, like my friend Bill, accuse the CIA of being behind the origins of Al Qaeda, but we think this theory is absurd. They were once our allies, and became our enemies, and that is all. “Ockham’s razor,” a famous late medieval philosophic theory, suggests that the simplest explanation is the most likely, and this is often, though not always, a good rule.

We suspect that the Russians are behind Al Qaeda or radical Islamic theory, just as if Hitler were in power in Germany we would suspect that the Nazis were behind radical Islam: At least we would have two theories. Some sort of Western diabolism, some secret “Satanism” would be a third possibility. Marx and Hitler have this in common: they teach that some utopian condition, utopian in their terms of a racial or economic atheistic paradise, is attainable if only we kill a huge segment of the people, their own people, when no civil war is occurring. For the Nazis, this was of course the Jews, seconded though by anyone not racially German. For the Marxists, it was a certain economic class, called “Bourgeoisie,” and then after Lenin did some mischief to adjust the theory to fit Russia, where there was no industrial proletariat at all, this became simply the many poor, who are to kill the few rich to perform their diabolic inversion of baptism. Both these theories, the extreme left and the extreme right, have this in common, simple shifting the particulars, so that for the Nazis it is race based and for the Communists it is class based, for the Nazis biology and for the Marxists economics, but both are “reductionist,” reducing all ethics and all human things to one or another relatively small part of the human phenomenon.

Our theory, then, is that radical Islam has a source not in Mohammed, but in Western diabolism, just as Marxism or communism has its source not in anything native to the Russia, but German Philosophy. A patriotic Russian might expel this foreign garbage and return to the Greek Orthodox Church. Similarly, a patriotic Mohammedan, with any concern at all for the common good of his people or the good of any one of the Persian or Arabic nations, would expel this foreign garbage. And ditto for China: the idea that the German Marx is in any way remotely superior to0 their native Lao Tzu is simply absurd. But is apparently only in the West that we are allowed the liberty of study needed to see these things.

German philosophy degenerated in diabolism as a shadow of the Roman Church, the working out of Church History that resulted, as we say, from their making a law out of the light, and committing the sin of the Inquisition. As a result, western thought from Machiavelli through Nietzsche became a shadow, inverted, of the artifact made by Rome, an man made thing, a convention. We say Jesus was not a legislator at all, but the Savior. That is why he teaches peace, (which incidentally is another word for Islam), and does not commit the violence of the circumcision of a people needed to expel idolatry and human sacrifice. It is only against this background of idolatry, now gone from our world and incomprehensible, that the violence of Mohammed and Moses makes any sense. The legislators prepare the character for the savior, like a trellis, somewhat as Homeric civilization prepared the Greeks for Socrates, perhaps. Socrates, of course, is not the savior, but a regular man, if one sent by the divine as a Gadfly to Athens.