Tag Archives: Tolerance

Terrorist attack: two Scandinavian women beheaded while traveling in Morocco

Two tourists murdered in Morocco
Two tourists murdered in Morocco

The Daily Caller reports: (H/T Terrell)

Norwegian police confirmed Friday that the recently-surfaced video of a female Scandinavian student being beheaded is likely authentic.

The bodies of 28-year-old Maren Ueland from Norway and 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen were recovered and flown to Casablanca on Friday, according to Deustche Welle. The two were reportedly killed in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains earlier this week, and video has since emerged online that appears to show one of them screaming as her head is severed with a knife.

At least one of the alleged perpetrators reportedly has ties to ISIS, reports The Daily Beast.

“There is no concrete evidence indicating the video is not real,” Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service said.

Thirteen arrests have been made in what is believed to be an act of terror.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen called the killings “politically motivated and thus an act of terror.”

News Corp Australia had some information about the attackers:

On Tuesday police detained a suspect said to belong to a militant group in Marrakesh. Three other suspects were subsequently arrested in the city, the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations said.

They were named as:

● Rachid Afatti, a 32-year-old small businessman from Al Kayed, a village in rural Harbil, 30km outside Marrakech;

● Ouziad Younes, a 27-year-old carpenter from the Marrakech suburb of Al Azzouzia;

● Ejjoud Abdessamad, 25, from the Zeroual district of Marrakech.

Police have not released details of the fourth man arrested yesterday after police seized a cache of knives found on a bus in Marrakech.

The BBC article I looked at had a photo of 3 of the men:

Morrocan police released this photo of 3 of the 4 suspects
Morrocan police released this photo of 3 of the 4 suspects

Now, if I had known those women, and they told me about their plans to go hiking in Morocco, I would have told them not to go. I would have told them not to go, even if they went with male friends, or had a male guide, or whatever. It’s important to be alert and not put yourself in situations where you will be isolated and exposed to harm.

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

On a related note, I wanted to share a story from Windsor, Ontario Canada, where a 76-year-old woman died as a result of her injuries from another attack by a 21-year-old man.

The Windsor Star reports: (H/T Stephanie)

The elderly Windsor woman who suffered severe injuries in a shocking beating on Ganatchio Trail last year has died in hospital.

Sources have confirmed that Sara Anne Widholm, 76, died at Windsor Regional Hospital on Saturday, Dec. 15.

“She was a faithful and beloved member of our church, Riverside Baptist, and we will miss her dearly, but now she is whole and at peace in heaven with her Lord Jesus,” said Pastor Brandon Taylor, leader of the church where Widholm and her husband were members.

[…]On the morning of Oct. 8, 2017, Widholm was walking on the Ganatchio Trail and cleaning it of litter, as was her regular habit, when she became the victim of an attack that Windsor police have described as “vicious” and “unprovoked.”

[…]The long list of injuries included multiple brain hemorrhages, a life-threatening blood clot, extensive skull fractures, and fractured vertebrae.

[…]Later the same day as the attack, police arrested Windsor resident Habibullah Ahmadi in relation to the crime.

Ahmadi — who goes by the first name Daniel and is now 22 — was initially charged with aggravated assault, but the charge was upgraded to attempted murder.

Canada is a country that has embraced open borders and mass migration from Middle Eastern countries, so it’s interesting to see how Canadian leaders responded to the story.

Frontpage magazine reported on that:

Attacker Habibullah Ahmadi was 21, a full adult, but police never released his booking photo. News reports described him as a “Windsor man,” who goes by the name “Daniel.”  Local and national news stories contained no statements from Habibullah Ahmadi, nor any indication that he had declined an interview. Likewise, news reports contained no quotes from Habibullah Ahmadi’s family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or fellow students in Windsor.

Habibullah Ahmadi, a male of 21, attacked a defenseless woman, 75, but local and national feminists did not cite the attack as an example of violence against women or toxic masculinity. Likewise, no statement against violence emerged after the attack finally claimed Widholm’s life.

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens tweeted that Widholm “exemplified the can-do Windsor spirit and my most sincere condolences go out to her family for their loss.” It was as though she had died of natural causes, and no mention of the violent attack.

Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn, a crusader against bullying, never offered a statement on the case. Current Premier Doug Ford of the Progressive Conservative Party did not issue a  comment. News reports turn up no proclamations on the attack from Lisa Gretzky, a New Democratic Party MPP for Windsor, or from the NDP provincial leader Andrea Horwath.

I thought this was interesting about Trudeau, who likes to present himself as a great moral human being because of his tolerance:

Last January, an 11-year-old Toronto girl charged that a man had twice cut her hijab. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the attack, which turned out to be a hoax. The son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had nothing to say about the attack on Anne Widholm, which was not a hoax.

And the national media has been silent as well:

The one-year anniversary of the attack passed without notice in local and national media. Police and court authorities weren’t exactly keep the public posted about the case.

Last July, CTV news said AM800 News, CKLW, has learned that a date for Habibullah’s trial would be set sometime in January 2019, though no official court or police document was cited. The CTV piece came headlined, “Windsor man going to trial for alleged Ganatchio Trail attack,” and the story cited “an alleged vicious attack of an elderly woman.”  From the start, there was nothing “alleged” about it, and the report offered no insight on the attacker.

I can understand that it is compassionate to risk your own life for someone else, and generous to spend your own money on someone else. What I don’t understand is when politicians want to claim to be compassionate and generous when they risk other people’s lives and spend other people’s money.

Paul Copan responds to questions frequently asked by postmodern relativists

Lets take a closer look at a puzzle
Lets take a closer look at a puzzle

Four articles from Paul Copan over at the UK site “BeThinking”. Each article responds to a different slogan that you might hear if you’re dealing with non-Christians on the street.

“That’s just your interpretation!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Gently ask, ‘Do you mean that your interpretation should be preferred over mine? If so, I’d like to know why you have chosen your interpretation over mine. You must have a good reason.’
  • Remind your friend that you are willing to give reasons for your position and that you are not simply taking a particular viewpoint arbitrarily.
  • Try to discern if people toss out this slogan because they don’t like your interpretation. Remind them that there are many truths we have to accept even if we don’t like them.
  • ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’ is a statement that is presented as a fact. If it is just an interpretation, then there is no reason to take it seriously.

More responses are here.

“You Christians are intolerant!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If you say that the Christian view is bad because it is exclusive, then you are also at that exact moment doing the very thing that you are saying is bad. You have to be exclusive to say that something is bad, since you exclude it from being good by calling it bad.
  • There is a difference, a clear difference between tolerance and truth. They are often confused. We should hold to what we believe with integrity but also support the rights of others to disagree with our viewpoint.
  • Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. If I get onto a plane and sincerely believe that it won’t crash then it does, then my sincerity is quite hopeless. It won’t change the facts. Our beliefs, regardless of how deeply they are held, have no effect on reality.

More responses are here.

“That’s true for you, but not for me!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If my belief is only true for me, then why isn’t your belief only true for you? Aren’t you saying you want me to believe the same thing you do?
  • You say that no belief is true for everyone, but you want everyone to believe what you do.
  • You’re making universal claims that relativism is true and absolutism is false. You can’t in the same breath say, ‘Nothing is universally true’ and ‘My view is universally true.’ Relativism falsifies itself. It claims there is one position that is true – relativism!

More responses are here.

“If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Just because there are many different religious answers and systems doesn’t automatically mean pluralism is correct.
  • If we are culturally conditioned regarding our religious beliefs, then why should the religious pluralist think his view is less arbitrary or conditioned than the exclusivist’s?
  • If the Christian needs to justify Christianity’s claims, the pluralist’s views need just as much substantiation.

More responses are here.

And a bonus: “How do you know you’re not wrong?“.

Christian mother Asia Bibi is being hunted house-by-house in Pakistan

The sign the Pakistani men are holding should read "Hang Asia"
The sign the Pakistani men are holding should read “Hang Asia”

Have you heard about Asia Bibi? She’s the Christian woman who was imprisoned because of unsubstantiated charges made against her by her neighbors in Pakistan. Although she was finally found innocent, she remains in Pakistan. But she can’t live there because radicals trying to kill her. And they don’t want to let her leave the country.

The radically leftist UK Guardian says:

The family of Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who spent eight years on death row in Pakistan for blasphemy before being acquitted three weeks ago, claim they are being hunted by extremists going house to house with their photographs to try to track them down.

Bibi’s family have been in hiding since her acquittal by the country’s supreme court. She is in protective custody as part of a deal between the government and a hardline Islamic party, under which violent protests were called off while a review of the court ruling was undertaken.

Bibi’s lawyer, relatives and supporters have appealed for the family to be given asylum in a European or north American country.

Although the United Kingdom has taken in millions of unskilled immigrants from the Middle East – including many who started sex-trafficking rings  using underage British girls – they don’t want to take in Bibi. Why not?

A few months ago, I added the book “The Strange Death of Europe” to my reading list on the blog. It talks about the immigration policies of all the European nations, and what happens to people who question those policies. Not just to their careers, but to their lives. That book was written by Douglas Murray, and he wrote a column about Asia Bibi in National Review.

He writes:

Her case has had ramifications throughout Pakistani society in the years since. For instance, it provoked the statement by the brave governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, which led to his own murder by one of his own bodyguards. In the days since her release from jail, there have been mass protests in Pakistan where thousands of enraged fanatics have called, literally, for Asia Bibi’s head.

[…][T]oday there are reports that the British government has said that it will not offer asylum to Asia Bibi. The reason being “security concerns” — that weasel term now used by all officialdom whenever it needs one last reason to avoid doing the right thing. According to this report, the government is concerned that if the U.K. offered asylum to Bibi it could cause “unrest among certain sections of the community.” … The “community” that the British government will be scared of is the community that comes from the same country that has tortured Asia Bibi for the last eight years.

The government is right to expect a backlash. There have been cases before of this “community” expressing its views. From the book-burnings and protests over The Satanic Verses affair in 1989 to the mass protest against cartoonists, which was the “community’s” response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015, the Pakistani Muslim community in the U.K. has never been shy of expressing its views. Occasionally you even get a case like that at Easter 2016, when a Muslim from Bradford drove up to Glasgow to kill another Muslim (a shopkeeper called Asad Shah) because Mr. Shah came from a minority Muslim group that his killer deemed heretical. Which you might say is another example of “diversity.”

These days, many people are voting for policies on the basis of how it makes them feel about themselves, or how it makes them look to others. As long as they aren’t spending their own money, or risking their own safety, these feelings-based voters want to be very  generous. Very generous spending other people’s money. Very generous risking other people’s safety. Is that real generosity?

We should definitely have a system that allows highly-skilled immigrants to come here to work. And if they prove that they are hard-working and law-abiding, then they should be able to apply for permanent residency. But we also need to be careful about bringing people in who will not respect basic human rights, like Asia Bibi’s right to religious liberty. That’s not compassion, it’s foolishness.

By the way, don’t expect Western feminists to say anything about Asia Bibi’s situation. That would be going against their “intersectional” allies – something they aren’t willing to do.

Tad Hopp accumulated $100,000 of college debt, now he wants a taxpayer bailout

Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com
Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com

Here’s an interesting editorial from a “Christian” left blog. (H/T Acton Institute via Lindsay)

The author, Tad Hopp is graduating a PCUSA seminary – an extremely liberal, left-wing denomination.

He writes:

I graduated college in 2007.

[…] I majored in English, not exactly what most people consider a ‘marketable’ or ‘practical’ degree…

[…]I went to a somewhat expensive private school…

[…]I did what many students in their last year of high school do: I went to the school where I felt I was being called…

[…]I do not regret my four years at my undergraduate institution one bit.

[….]When I graduated college, I owed nearly $50,000 in student loan debt and was unemployed for almost six months before I finally found a low-paying office job.

[…]“Can’t find a job? Well, you should have majored in something more ‘practical’, like economics or business or medicine.” Yeah, that would be great…if those were the subjects where my skills and passions lie. They’re not.

[…]I felt called to go to seminary.

[…]I will graduate seminary with close to six figures worth of student loan debt.

Let’s take stock of what he’s said so far:

  • he studied English, a language that he already spoke, which has one of the lowest employment rates
  • he was warned by people who knew something about earning and saving money not to study English
  • he went to a school he couldn’t afford to go to, and he graduated with $50,000 in debt
  • he went to seminary, another subject that doesn’t pay, and added another $50,000 or so of debt
  • he says that he doesn’t have to study subjects that lead to a career because he isn’t “passionate” about them
  • he “followed his heart” by going to the school that he had mystical, emotional, intuitions about = “calling”

My advice to Tad at this point would be for him to take the Bible seriously when it says this:

2 Thessalonians 3:10:

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

And 1 Timothy 5:8:

8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

The Bible is giving us the goal of working. So what should we do to be able to reach that goal? Why should anyone hire us? What is working really about? It’s those kinds of questions that should guide what we study in school, and what jobs we pursue.

We know what careers have the highest starting salaries and mid-career salaries:

Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)
Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)

(Source)

Why do some people get paid more than others? The answer is supply and demand. Prices are a way of determining what is most valued by your fellow man. Business owners pay more to people who offer their customers more value. If you really want to serve your neighbor, you have to learn something they really want, but can’t easily obtain. And then you will be paid more. You can’t do what makes you happy. You have to do what makes customers happy. That’s how the free market works – you make money when you provide something of value to others. You make money when you serve others. This is something that is very hard for self-centered, feelings-driven young progressives to grasp. But it’s something older Americans all know.

More Tad:

Is the PCUSA doing anything to address this crisis?

[…]What has our government done to address this issue?

[…]I, like so many in my generation, voted for Obama…

[…]It seems to me that we’ve bought into the lie that student loan debt is brought on by the individual person…

[…]You know what I think might stimulate the economy? Automatically cancelling every single outstanding student loan!

He insists that the results of his own choices aren’t his fault. But didn’t he make the choices about what to study? Didn’t he make the choice to follow his heart? Didn’t he disregard the advice of people who urged him to be practical? Who is to blame, if not he, himself?

Tad needs to push away all his friends who told him to “follow his heart” and stick close by his friends who told him to focus on providing value to others. Don’t look for advice from dreamers, look for advice from doers. Dreamers talk. But doers have demonstrated the ability to create plans that work to achieve results.

By the way, some of you might be wondering how serious this person was about his Christianity. Well, in another post, he comes out as gay. So clearly the Bible is being interpreted in a way where feelings are overturning the plain meanings of words. People who read the Bible closely never come away with the message that they should follow their hearts.

Are all sins equally bad? Or are there degrees of severity for different sins?

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

This question came up recently so I did some digging on theology web sites to find what Bible verses applied to the question.

Here’s what Ligonier said:

It’s clear that we have different degrees of sin when we consider the warnings of Scripture. There are at least twenty-two references in the New Testament to degrees of rewards that are given to the saints in heaven. There are different levels, different rewards, and different roles in heaven. The Bible warns us against adding to the severity of our judgment. Jesus said to Pontius Pilate, “He who delivered me over to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11). Jesus measures and evaluates guilt, and with the greater guilt and greater responsibility comes the greater judgment. It’s a motif that permeates the New Testament.

The idea of gradation of sin and reward is based upon God’s justice. If I commit twice as many sins as another person, justice demands that the punishment fits the crime. If I’ve been twice as virtuous as another person, justice demands that I get more of a reward. God tells us that entrance into heaven will be only on the basis of the merit of Christ, but once we get to heaven, rewards will be dispensed according to works. Those who have been abundant in good works will receive an abundant reward. Those who have been derelict and negligent in good works will have a small reward in heaven. By the same token, those who have been grievous enemies of God will have severe torments in hell. Those who have been less hostile will have a lesser punishment at the hands of God. He is perfectly just, and when He judges, He will take into account all of the extenuating circumstances. Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt. 12:36).

A while back, my friend Dina sent me a sermon where that exact passage (John 19) was brought up by the pastor.

I think the correct position is that any sin is enough to separate you from God, but some sins are more severe than others in God’s objective standard of right and wrong.

OK, that was fine and good, but then I noticed a few days later that Michael Krueger had also blogged about this “all sin are equal” view, too.

Krueger says this:

First, to say all sins are the same is to confuse the effect of sin with the heinousness of sin.  While all sins are equal in their effect (they separate us from God), they are not all equally heinous.

Second, the Bible differentiates between sins. Some sins are more severe in terms of impact (1 Cor 6:18), in terms of culpability (Rom 1:21-32), and in terms of the judgment warranted (2 Pet 2:17;  Mark 9:42; James 3:1).

Even more Bible references, so we’re not on the wrong track.

So then why do some people insist that all sins are equal? It turns out that it is coming from the secular ideal of non-judgmentalism.

Krueger explains:

We should begin by observing that this phrase does not come from Scripture.  People do not use it because it appears in the Bible. Why then do they use it?

One reason, as noted above, is that some Christians use this phrase to uphold the seriousness of sin. It is viewed as a way to remind people not to be dismissive about their sin or regard it is a triviality.

Others use this phrase as way to “flatten out” all sins so that they are not distinguishable from each other.  Or, to put it another way, this phrase is used to portray all human beings as precisely the same.  If all sins are equal, and all people sin, then no one is more holy than anyone else.

In a world fascinated with “equality,” this usage of the phrase is particularly attractive to folks. It allows everyone to be lumped together into a single undifferentiated mass.

Such a move is also useful as a way to prevent particular behaviors from being condemned.  If all sins are equal, and everyone is a sinner, then you are not allowed to highlight any particular sin (or sinner).

Needless to say, this usage of the phrase has featured largely in the recent cultural debates over issues like homosexuality.  Yes, homosexuality is a sin, some Christians reluctantly concede.  But, they argue, all sins are equal in God’s sight and therefore it is no different than anything else.  Therefore, Christians ought to stop talking about homosexuality unless they are also willing to talk about impatience, anger, gluttony, and so on.

Krueger also posted this fascinating follow up post, where he looks at how the phrase is being used by people on Twitter.

Look at these tweets:

  • All sins are equal. People tend to forget that. There is no bigger or smaller sin. Being gay and lying, very equal.

  • all sins are equal in God’s eyes. whatever you’re doing, is no better than what someone else is doing.

  • If you have sex before marriage please don’t come on social media preaching about the wrongs of homosexuality. All sins are equal

  • Need people to realize that all sins are equal… don’t try to look down on me or question my faith just cuz you sin differently than I do.

  • Don’t understand why you’re so quick to judge me, when all sins are equal. So much for family..

  • if you think being gay is a sin, let me ask you something, have you not done anything wrong in your life? all sins are equal. we’re sinners

  • Nope no difference at all. All sins are equal no matter what you’re running for. The bible says do not judge lest ye be judged

  • A huge problem I have with religion is the notion that all sins are equal. Like pre-martial sex and murder are the same amount t of bad.

  • people do bad things because they believe that all sins are equal and ~god~ loves y’all equally so he’s going to forgive you naman ha ha ha

  • It a sin to condemn another sinner and their actions. All sins are equal. So what makes you better than the person you’re condemning?

  • I think so b/c having sex before marriage doesn’t make you less of a women then if you waited until marriage.. all sins are equal soo

  • friendly reminder, all sins are equal in gods eyes so you’re not better than I am in any way. please worry about your own sins before mine.

  • People don’t like when I suggest abortion as an option. This is a free country and all sins are equal so mind your business!!!

  • What I do is no worse than wat you do… all sins are equal no matter what it is… a sin is a sin

  • to god all sins are equal so you have no right to compare your sins to someone else’s bc in the end it doesn’t matter

The first thing that I noticed is that premarital sex and homosexuality are the most popular sins. I would think that divorce and abortion would be up there in the rankings, as well.

Something strange has happened in our society such that more and more people want to be led by their feelings, rather than be bounded by rules or standards. When people get caught breaking moral rules, rather than be accountable, they attack the person judging them. They would rather escape the judgment of their peers than admit fault and try to fix the mistake, and do better next time.

It’s so bad now, that the people who have morals and who make moral judgments are seen as the real bad people. The immoral people are on the offense, and even trying to ban people from being able to disagree with them. We’re seeing that with people who are being attacked for defending natural marriage against divorce and redefinition of marriage. In France, they want to make speech critical of abortion a criminal offense. And in Canada, they’ve now made speech critical of the gay agenda a criminal offense. (It’s already a human rights tribunal offense)

What is even more interesting is when the people who push the “don’t judge me” line try to justify it from the Bible. Very strange, but we seem to have forgotten the value of setting moral boundaries. Now moral boundaries are “evil”. Instead, having compassion for people who break the moral boundaries and harm themselves and others is “good”.