by Dr. David Pence and A. Joseph Lynch
I. WEEKLY BRIEF
The Daily Alert is a newsletter of selected articles from a Dore Gold led Institute for Israeli Security in Jerusalem compiled for the heads of American Jewish organizations. The Feb 20 Alert had these three articles: Sec of Defense Mattis visited Israel and agrees Iran, Iran, and Iran are the three biggest problems in the Mideast. A second article applauded the de facto Saudi-Israel alliance against Iran. A third article quoted favorably the Saudi foreign minister depicting Iran as the regions "greatest state sponsor of terror." The war drums are beating against Iran. This is when we need a Democratic Party leader or educated journalists to make a counter argument. The strong military character of Mr. Trump’s top men bring their own hostility to the Iranian worldview. Mr. Trump continues to surround himself with strong patriots and clear thinkers with his pick of HR McMaster as national security advisor. He is not Condi or Susan Rice. And yet the war drums beat against Iran which had nothing to do with the 911 attack against our soil. Iran is fighting our true enemy- ISIS. Iran has been the one country in the region to support the fledging Shiite country our men died to liberate-Iraq. Israel is a US ally and we do not favor cutting a new hostile state out of her side. But Americans must come to grips with a central disturbing fact about present Israeli foreign policy. They have clearly said Iraq and Afghanistan are their enemies. There are times when Israel's foreign policy and our foreign policy are at cross purposes. When that happens, let us put America First.
II. POPE FRANCIS AND THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
THE BIRTH OF LIBERATION THEOLOGY: Two part series by Olavo de Carvalho. The key in Brazil were the ecclesial base communities not as loci of worship but as the new base of a political party. On their way to power, Jesus didn’t come with.
III. ISLAM AND THE MIDDLE EAST
CARDINAL BURKE ON ISLAM: From an article by Carl Olsen at Catholic World Report:
The key point, he said, is "I don't believe it's true that we worship the same God, because the God of Islam is a governor; in other words, fundamentally, Islam is sharia ... and that law, which comes through Allah, must dominate every man eventually." This law is not founded on love, he added, even if individual Muslims are gentle and kind people. The essential drive in Islam is to govern and control the world, whereas in Christianity, relying on right reason and sound metaphysics and true faith, "we make our contribution to society," mindful that the Church is not intent on governing and controlling the world. Relativism is a key problem, said Cardinal Burke, because it undermines respect for the truth. Too often there are general statements—"We all believe in the same God" being very common—but "this is not helpful" and if it is not addressed, "it will be the end of Christianity". Most people do not realize, he added, that there is not a natural law tradition in Islam, nor do Muslims understand conscience as Christians do.This is Burke at his pandering worse. By his reasoning we must also say the Jews and Calvinists are not worshipping the same God and don't think twice about the Mormons. . His pronouncement is certainly not the position of the Vatican Council or any of the popes of the last century. Neither does he speak for the frontline Mideast or South Asian Christians who have learned to distinguish between neighbors and murderers. And his over intellectualized argument that Christianity is about metaphysics and right reason instead of governing the world will strike all of us who pray the Our Father or know the third luminous mystery as alien indeed.
His depiction of Islam as non-monotheistic is the position of two leading figures who expose the many sins of Muslim jihadists to a large swath of conservative Catholics. They are the Catholic writer William Kilpatrick and Front Page’s prolific, well informed, but quite hateful Robert Spencer. Here is our review of Kilpatrick's excellent but flawed book on Islam, Atheism, and Christianity. Spencer puts out a very informative though invective laden daily Jihad Report. Spencer is upset with President Trump's new NSA General H.R. McMaster because McMaster has always argued Islam is not the enemy. He says the enemy is non Islamic-- a sect inside Islam who must be isolated and destroyed. Remember the genius of the "surge" was to organize Sunni tribesmen as the "Sons of Iraq" to expel the Sunni jihadists. Those Muslims did not fight as "moderates." They fought against a demonic cult harming their country and their religion.
The Christian objective in this war is to join those Muslims who truly want to pray and submit to the will of God but do not see God’s will as killing all Shia, nationalist Sunnis, Jews and Christians. That is how the salafist Sunnis of ISIS and the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia define their religion and their enemies. In a religious war one needs to isolate one’s enemy -- not over-define him so he becomes the representative of a much larger group he can hide within. Robert Spencer and William Kirkpatrick are not the best alternatives to the "Islam has nothing to do with it" crowd. Cardinal Burke is no hero to those who want to clean the Catholic priesthood of its emasculating homosexual culture, and he is no general in defining the battlefield against the demonic Wahhabi Salafists who are waging worldwide war against God’s people. He distracts us from the proper battle lines in the shooting war and undermines our Holy Father in the spiritual contest.
THE WRONG ALLIANCE IN THE MIDEAST: The wrong Arab alliance. This article advocates a strategy which involves ditching the 9-11 families and their pending legal actions against the Saudis. Three Mideast strategies are emerging. 1) The McCain-Rubio-Lindsey Graham strategy of fighting everyone everywhere except Saudi Arabia (Surround Russia, China and Iran as major regional threats). 2) The Saudi-Israeli strategy of fighting Iran and all Shiite military groups starting with the Houthis of Yemen for Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah of Lebanon for Israel. 3) The Russian strategy of allying with Shia Iran, Iraq and Syrian governments against ISIS and the jihadist rebel groups destabilizing Syria. Eventually there must be a degradation of the Salafist manipulation of Islam through the Saudi role as guardians of the holy cities. No one of course states openly that final necessary decapitation of the head of the viper. Russia and Syria would ally with Egypt as a major Sunni Arab ally and continue the alliance with China who relates to both Syria and Iran. The grand strategy of Putin would be to win the US, Israel and Europeans to this alliance. A major French candidate concurs.
SAUDI-ISRAEL DE FACTO ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN: Reuters catches up with the news.
THE DIVIDE AMONG THE SUNNIS: Terrific PDF analysis by S. Helfont of PRI.
FIVE YEARS AFTER 9/11, A 'NYTIMES' REPORTER ASKED COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIALS ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUNNI AND SHIA: It wasn’t pretty. This year that divide remains. We also should ask if they know a Wahhabi from the Muslim Brotherhood from a Sufi from a "standard" Sunni. This is not playing gotcha. If we don’t want to fight all of Islam, and we think we are fighting some subset of Muslims who we have to vet out, then these are differences that matter.
IV. R&G SATURDAY ROUND UP
RUSSIAN SOUL AND BROTHERHOOD BY GOGOL: Kerry Bolton writes at FPI:
"The Cossack brotherhood is portrayed by Gogol as the formative process in the building up of the Russian people. This process is not one of biology but of spirit, even transcending the family bond. Spengler treated the matter of race as that of soul rather than of zoology. To Spengler, landscape was crucial in determining what becomes ‘race’, and the duration of families grouped in a particular landscape—including nomads who have a defined range of wandering—form ‘a character of duration’, which was Spengler’s definition of ‘race’. Gogol describes this ‘race’ forming process among the Russians. So far from being an aggressive race nationalism it is an expanding mystic brotherhood under God: The father loves his children, the mother loves her children, the children love their father and mother; but this is not like that, brothers. The wild beast also loves its young. But a man can be related only by similarity of mind and not of blood. There have been brotherhoods in other lands, but never any such brotherhoods as on our Russian soil.MANNERS AND THE MAN: Fr. Rutler column.
MILO YIANNOPOULOS - IT'S COMPLICATED: This flagrantly open homosexual is a sworn enemy to all things politically correct and was the target of the student/anarchist violence at Berkeley that shut down his talk in Feb 2017. He is British, Catholic, and an editor at Breitbart News. A video of a talk he gave in the past has surfaced showing his views on teenage-adult homosexual sex. His views are utterly conventional in the male homosexual world but seldom spoken. He hates pedophilia and has exposed pedophiles several times. He thinks the age of consent in Britain (16) is "about right." However he says that he was fully able to consent much younger than that and then went on to defend the general homosexual experience of younger adolescents learning to accept their homosexuality by "relating" to older males who understand them "better than their parents." Anyone who has dealt with the huge homosexual subculture in the Catholic priesthood is quite familiar with this line of argument. The red herring in the priest scandal was pedophilia (sex with prepubescent children) which was rare and is often despised by male homosexuals. The overwhelming majority of abusive sexual contact was with adolescent males and was a direct consequence of the lavender seminaries in the 70s and 80s which favored homosexuals over more masculine young men as future priests (See Goodbye Good Men). The homosexuality at the heart of the continued corruption of the American and European Catholic priesthood has still not been addressed. The brilliant, often quite pathetic, Mr. Yiannopoulos was introduced to the craft by a Catholic priest. Let’s hope Milo isn’t the only one outed in this sordid mess we call urban gay culture in the modern west. Homosexual Catholic priests, the sexual left, the urban Democratic party, feminist careerists, and predator rich homosexual males are all major players in the American drama which cry out for a new Tom Wolfe. Here is a University of Chicago professor of medieval studies explaining Milo the free speech agitator. Here is her much more colloquial (some very bad words appear) take on the pedophilia adolescent controversy. This is vulgar but she gets closer to the heart of things here than anything I have read. [A footnote about consent. In Catholic thinking, at the age of reason (about 7) a person can give consent to all sorts of good and bad acts. Confession is introduced in second grade. Consent for the life long covenant of marriage might be at 16. Consent for sodomy is not even a concept. This is why equating incest and sodomy to the marriage act leads to such bizarre conversations about traditional concepts like age of consent. One of the purposes of anti sodomy laws was to eliminate questions of consent as a defense. ]