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Pastor Contradicts Jesus: Burns Qur’an, Fuels Afghani Extremist Rhetoric

2 Apr

Pastor Jones: If you have hate in your heart, let it out

It’s not about the right to burn a Qur’an. Of course he has that right. But as someone who claims to be a man of faith, I don’t see how this is productive at all.  He is clearly trying to bring attention to himself. He is not representative of Americans and he does not have a following. He has been in the media spotlight only because of the absurdity of his logic and the controversy surrounding his actions.  
 
We’re supposed to be educated and civilized Americans that believe in respect. This ‘pastor’ certainly isn’t responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan as a result of the book burning. However, his actions (in combination with the irresponsible media and the gullible people that keep on eating the tripe the spew), are empowering a radical group of people that believe in a very radical brand of Islam. These actions are fueling thugs and extremists and playing into their hands. They know that they only way they can continue to recruit and grow stronger is if they perpetuate the myth that America is waging a new Crusade against Islam. These thugs will do whatever they can to stifle debate, kill anyone that gets in their way, and make sure that no compromises are never made. Purity in the name of extremism is an awfully dangerous thing.  
 
We must fight extremism with our intellect and we must understand that we are completely desensitized to shock value. Yes, it is clearly silly to us that burning a bound book is just a way for us to excercise our freedom to do so. However, to uneducated Afghanis that will believe anything that is told to them, they probably think there are thousands of Americans who are burning Qur’ans all over the streets plotting how they can completely destroy Islam and kill all the followers. Believe me… if people can be convinced that real estate is always a great investment in America, the uneducated, iliterate, and jobless in Afghanistan can be convinced that there is an American plot to Crusade against Islam.

We all certainly have the right to burn a Koran. If the day comes where someone tries to take that right away, I will be the first one to light one up. However, in the meantime, I’m not going to excercise my right to be grossly disrespectful to anyone or any group just because I can.  
Believe me when I say it… Moderate Muslims, secularists, and women are depending on us to show some restraint.   
Click here to read more.
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NJ Governor: True Tea Party Patriot Without All the Fat

30 Mar
Okay… maybe not!

Unlike the calls of certain Islamaphobes who are tarnishing the Tea Party’s good name,  Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey clearly governs with his conscience and doesn’t buy into all the libera media-constructed hype. The man means business. Gov. Christie recently nominated Sohail Mohammed to the Superior Court of NJ. In a time where politicians (like Presidential hopeful Herman Cain) are making a stand against hiring Muslim-Americans (government jobs for now… but what’s next? First responders? Doctors? Attorneys?), Gov. Christie continues to stand by his decision to nominate Mr. Mohammed (even though he is a Muslim-AMERICAN).

This isn’t an affirmative action issue. Just like Christians, Muslims believe that one should only reap what he sows. Generally, Muslims do not support the idea of hiring someone just because of the race, gender, or religious beliefs. Here, it just so happened that a Muslim-American was the best person for the job. As we start getting to a point where it is commonplace for there to be 2nd and 3rd generation Muslim-Americans, expect there to be more of us that are competing for high profile positions.

To read more, please click here to see the NJ.com article.

Sharia Part 1: What is it?

30 Mar

Before I address more practical applications of Sharia (coming soon in future posts), I wanted to address some theoretical components.

Very simply, Sharia is the law of God. Though some Muslims will say that the Qur’an has all the answers (so cliché), it certainly does not have all the laws we’ll ever need pre-casted and ready to be implemented.  So as much as Sharia has come to refer to a static set of rules and laws, it is more appropriate to view it as a system of creating laws that are divinely sanctioned.  To elaborate a little more, like many other explanations about something that is deemed Godly, Sharia is supposed to be humanity’s attempt at developing a set of laws that is close to perfect as possible (perfection equaling God).

As any true scholar of Islam will tell you, the ‘characterization’ of God more closely parallels the transcendence of Judaism than it does the personal/human God of Christianity (BTW… Muslims believe that these are all the same God). By transcendence, Muslims mean that God is wholly other and mostly incomprehensible to man. The philosophers might liken this description of God to the concept of infinity; no beginning, no end, theoretically imaginable, not completely graspable. This is probably where Kant would say that we are hardwired to understand in a context of time and space.

Okay. So Sharia is the law of God and it must aim to be Godly, yet humans can’t quite grasp the notion of God like they can’t grasp infinity?? The confusion I have brought you to is exactly the point. Fundamentally, one must understand that the Sharia law is ultimately controlled, guided, and implemented by humans. Humans are not God and they can’t exactly know whether their actions are completely Godly. However, lawmakers can commit themselves to the ideals of justice and fairness.

Upcoming Posts:

Part 2: Religious Ritual Law vs. Legal Code

Part 3: What is a fatwah? A Basic Explanation of Islamic Jurisprudence

Part 4: Why is Sharia misunderstood (and villified)?

Part 5: Is Sharia compatible with the US Constitution?

God’s Wife: Islam and its take on religious ‘edits’

30 Mar

 

I AM A GOLDEN GOD!

According to some theology scholars, there is evidence that God had a wife named Asherah in the Old Testament. Asherah, the fertility Goddess, and God were apparently worshiped as a pair. As the religion evolved (as they tend to do), scholars argue that the increasingly paternal characterization of God along with a movement towards transcendental monotheism led to the Goddess’ demise. Is this really all that surprising? For any of you that has spent a considerable amount of time learning about the Old Testament, you know that it chronicles a long history from Adam, to Abraham, from the exodus to the exile, and from David to the Diaspora. Is it surprising to anybody that as time passed, the people’s understanding of God and their religious practices changed? It has always been about the synthesis of people and their ideas. Monotheism was likely adopted by the ancient Hebrews after they came in contact with the Zoroastrians. If this is true, does it make the Old Testament a sham? Absolutely not.

It is human tendency to become fixated on the words of the parable instead of the understanding behind it. In ancient times, people understood religion only when explanations were tied to everyday experience. Perhaps the ancient Hebrews needed a more personal explanation of their religion before advances in intellectualism allowed for a more nuanced oneness of God. Hindus, for example, have many deities. But in Hinduism, it is the ultimate oneness, the monism, that any Hindu scholar will tell you to focus on. To add a Muslim twist on the eternity of heaven, wouldn’t it be easier for a man to understand that it’s like having 72 virgins jockin’ you (but even better than that)?

In the Christian faith, during the time of Constantine, the First Council of Nicaea was formed more than 300 years after Jesus’ death to put together a new testament and establish a more formalized religion. Up until that point, Christianity was basically a rallying cry of good news and a way for the underclass to organize and rise up against their oppressors. Until Constantine “found God,” the Gospels weren’t universalized and they certainly weren’t uniform.

So after all these advances were made and after Christianity rose up and usurped power from the Roman Empire, Islam came along (7th Century anno domini). Muslims believe that the only true miracle during the time of the Prophet was the revelation of the Qur’an to him by God (via Archangel Gabriel). So right off the bat, an oral tradition was born where the followers of the Prophet would memorize the revelations. This practice was very sacred. Muslims believed that the other religious texts that came before it (via the long line of prophets in Judaism and Christianity) were corrupted via poor preservation and the influence of man. Considering that scholars now believe God’s wife was edited out of the Old Testament, is this such a ridiculous tactic?

About 40 years after the Prophet died, the memorized verses were put on to paper. Since that point, historians have verified that the Qur’an is still in the exact form from that time. It should come as no surprise that the purity of the Qur’an’s verses are very important to Muslism.

So… Here comes the tricky part in explaining things to cherry-pickers who like to focus only on the warring parts of the Qur’an…

It’s all about context. How do we validate the discrepancies between God’s laws in the Old Testament from the laws that govern us in the United States? For the quick-to-judge Islam crowd, ask yourself, why is that question so simple and why is balancing the Qur’an and modern law so difficult?

Tides change. When Christendom couldn’t find its way out of a paper bag during the dark ages, Islamic philosophy, arts, culture, and technology were flourishing. Through the cultural exchanges via trading and the Crusades (along with establishing a foothold on the Iberian peninsula), the torch of advancement was passed along to Europe (yes both by war and peace… it’s a real world with real histories). As Europe peaked upward, the Muslim empires that encompassed many lands, people, and cultures started to splinter and decline. After much of the Muslim world was conquered via colonialism, we’ve finally reached a point where the influence of Islam is at a crucial juncture. But as Christendom and multiculturalism progressed into western-style democracy, it now carries the torch…

So perhaps the discrepancies between the Qur’an as the literal word of God and American notions of Freedom and democracy aren’t all that incompatible after all. The torch of human progress just hasn’t illuminated the pages. Unfortunately, I fear that impatience on the part of the beholders might lead to conflagration instead of synthesis.

New TV Ads questioning Obama’s Birth Certificate (ugh)

28 Mar

Check out the new TV ad questioning President Obama’s Birth Certificate.

Seriously? As a member of the Tea Party, I strongly denounce members of the movement that are focusing on the conspiracies and the birther craze. The President responded to these allegations in 2008 and FactCheck.org even debunked the conspiracies. Instead of focusing on unemployment, health care, taxes, and personal freedoms, birthers are wasting their time buying into these whacky theories that are being pushed by opportunistic “scholars” like Jerome Corsi who are just trying to make a buck. Also, by having a significant portion of the Tea Party seemingly hell bent about something that has repeatedly been proven to be untrue, it gives fuel to the left wing media to tarnish our noble cause by painting us as wingnuts.  

Here are some Message Board highlights from the Fox Nation link to the video clip:

“Oh for Goodness sake. Just present the birth certificate already”

“Rather than seeing his occupancy of the Office of President legitimized, as impeachment would, I’d prefer to see the SOB ousted as illegitimately occupying the office due to his lack of qualifying citizenship. But for that to happen we would need members of our courts to actually support Constitutional Principles were his eligibility not be upheld by evidence. Corsi has spent a number of years researching. He is outlining all the facts in a book that I can’t wait to see. I will gladly pay the price for his book.”

“Laugh it up if you think it’s funny but if you were a true independant then you too would demand that the Constitution be adhered to instead of grabbing at straw to cover for this massive fraud.”

“Been trying to tell all these worthless liberals that the illegal Kenyan needs to be executed for treason …portraying an American president !”

New Census Data: 64% of the Country is White

24 Mar

 

That's a huge B----!

Unlike some of my non-minority counterparts in the Tea Party, I’m not too alarmed by the new trends. According to the latest US Census, the proportion of non-Hispanic Whites has dropped from 69% to 64%. Along with Whites, Blacks’ proportion of the total population is decreasing as well. Blacks represent approximately 12% of the population. So where is much of the population increase coming from?

Hispanics and Latinos represent the group with the largest growth. This shouldn’t be too surprising. Of the 10-20 million illegal immigrants that are in the country, approximately 75% hail from Mexico and Central America. Also, legal resident Hispanics and Latinos appear to have higher birth rates than the population at large. What is surprising is that Hispanic populations doubled in states like Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina. Should we be concerned? I would say yes and no. Clearly, we have to limit the flow of illegal immigration. Don’t believe all the nativist hype. Illegal immigrants do contribute to the country and are generally a hard working group. Unfortunately, there are a lot of thugs, gangsters, and drug dealers as well. Some of them might as well be classified as domestic terrorists; they leach off of the welfare State, do not contribute to society, and worst of all, they bring down hardworking Hispanics with strong family values. This is why I don’t think Hispanic immigration is as bad as some other Tea Party supporters. As Hispanics start their 2nd and 3rd generations in America, we have to hold steady and embrace the conservative and hard-working aspects of their cultures. We must be patient and not be quick to paint the complicated cultural/racial segment with a broad brush.

Asians were the other large growth segment. Asians include both South and East Asians. The vast majority of this group is legal. More so, the Asian segment amongst the most educated and hardworking segments in our country. As a South Asian myself, I am very proud of the contributions we are making. Now that we are getting into 2nd and 3rd generations, we are finding the perfect balance of patriotism and love for our separate cultural and religious identities.

Foreign policy aside, both Hispanics and Asians generally embrace a more conservative ideology. If these population trends continue, it is important to hold back the impulsive (and sometimes racially motivated) conclusions we make and understand there are many different groups that are contributing to the United States in their own unique way. Some of these groups are still a little bit under-tapped. I appeal to my fellow Tea Party Patriots and hope that we can continue to embrace LEGAL immigration and understand just how much immigration gives us an edge over other countries.

To read more about US census data, click here.

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