So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Culture good; culture bad.

In a day and age when honouring culture is one minute laudable and the next deplorable, one might be forgiven any confusion over the apparent hypocrisy solidifying in Canadian politics, academia and the media.

It seems oddly contradictory to elevate cultures more recent to North American shores while denigrating the cultures that arrived earlier. In the case of the latter, they are condemned for the harm they did to aboriginal cultures. In the case of the former, the recent arrivals are heralded as virtuous and given summary protection from this or that phobia, even while much of the ideological baggage dragged along with them constitutes a substantive threat to enlightened dialogue, democracy and culture. Any opinion that does not appreciate that there are necessary distinctions to be made between just and unjust cultures is a useless contribution to the conversation which, if there is to be a real meeting of minds and a hope of discovering common ground in the truth, must be founded upon a critical assessment of the facts.

As a person of Aboriginal, African-American and English ancestry, having learned from my elders the Gospel's wisdom of forgiveness and a humble appreciation for facts (the spiritual, the historical, scientific and the genetic records, for starters), it is this blogger's contention that no matter who was here first, i.e., first to what is now North America, we have all arrived from somewhere else, whether by walking across a land bridge from what is now called Asia to Alaska or by boat or by plane or by hot air balloon... or by DC-8-like spacecraft if you believe the Scientology story about Xenu.

Let's not pretend that all was a bed of roses before European immigrants and others arrived on North American shores. Anyone with an ounce of honest formation can accurately appreciate the historical (oral and written) record. There were devastating wars which decimated entire populations long before any of the colonial powers set foot on North American soil. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Let's stop pitting one culture or race against the other in some vain attempt to create a victim more legitimate than another.

Injustice is overcome by unconditional forgiveness. In this era of self righteous indignation elevated to a virtue, however, forgiveness is often merely commodified by a never ending demand for reparations of one kind or another and thus reduced to a hollow forgiveness, another form of revenge. How much longer will people be forced to pay for the 'sins of their fathers'? Sure, settle land claims; honour treaties. But, when does the victimization (committed in the name of justice) end?

Let's speak to the truth, oppose injustice in the here and now, promote forgiveness and move forward in charity for the sake of the common good.

There are plenty of contemporary injustices which require immediate redress. The attitude of a militant secular media toward Christians, for one, is an ongoing shameful circumstance which begs attention.

And, what of recent examples of hatred imported to this continent? The CBC reports.
Imam calling for Jews to be killed in sermon at Montreal mosque draws police complaint
Larger Muslim community wants apology from mosque and wonders why controversial imam was invited to preach
—by Brennan Neill, Stephen Smith with files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak and CBC reporter Sarah Leavitt.
A Montreal mosque is facing a police complaint and rebukes from the larger Muslim community after a video of an imam delivering a sermon in which he asks for Jews to be killed surfaced online.
The sermon took place at the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in the city's Saint-Michel neighbourhood on Dec. 23, 2016.
The video was posted to the mosque's YouTube channel three days later. The imam in the video is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr — he was reportedly an invited guest of the mosque.
In the video, the imam recites in Arabic the verse: "O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him."
CBC independently verified the speech and its translation.
The controversial verse comes from a religious text known as a hadith, which interprets the words and actions by the Prophet Muhammad. 
The hadith in question deals with end times and tells how stones and trees will ask Muslims to come and kill Jews hiding behind them.
CBC Montreal has reached out to the Dar Al-Arqam mosque for comment and was told no one was available.
Accused of inciting violence
The video was brought to the attention of B'nai Brith Canada, which filed a complaint with Montreal police on Monday.
The organization said it is totally unacceptable that a mosque would allow this to go on.
"This is inciting violence, and this is inciting radicalization," said Harvey Levine, regional director of B'nai Brith in Quebec.
"It's against the law and has to be stopped," he said, adding that the complaint was filed with the Montreal hate crimes unit.
Montreal police confirmed they received a complaint, but would not provide any more information.
Mosque should apologize, says Muslim council
The president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, wants to know why the imam was invited. He says the mosque should apologize.
He added that the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque is not one of the more than 40 institutions the council represents.
Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects told CBC Montreal's Daybreak Thursday that he was also mystified as to why the cleric was invited to preach.
"I do not understand how this person was invited to come and give a sermon and spread this hatred in Montreal against any community," he said. (What's not to understand? Is it accurate to say that some in the muslim community consider Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr's teaching worthy of a hearing?)
The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.
"To use the themes of the Prophet to spread hatred is actually something that is disrespectful towards the Prophet himself," Asali said. (There is no one authority in Islam which can speak for all muslims regarding the interpretation of the Qur'an and other islamic texts. Thus, one imam's teaching may very well be as authoritative, i.e., binding, as another, no?)
There are mosques in Montreal, the imam said, that embrace a more extremist message.
"These people, not only do they show hatred towards non-Muslims, they even show hatred to us Muslims," he said. (Given the above observation concerning authority, who's to say who's interpretation is right and who's is wrong? That is, who's to say who is better living Muhammad's teaching?)
Other complaints
Levine said this is the second complaint against a Montreal-area mosque filed with the Montreal police's hate crime unit in just over 40 days. Another imam in Canada: Muslims will eventually kill all “evil” Jews
He said the police are still investigating that first instance but says they are not taking action soon enough.
"This is totally unacceptable. We want to know why the hate crimes unit has not done something to date yet. This person should be arrested and charged for hate crimes," said Levine.
CIJA Quebec, an organization that advocates for the Jewish community, said it has a close relationship with the Montreal police and has been following the two complaints.
"We know the Montreal police are seriously and diligently investigating these sermons," said David Ouellette, deputy director for CIJA Quebec (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs).
He added the group believes the police are close to completing their investigation of the first complaint.
Given M-103, Canada's new anti-islamophobia motion, is it islamophobic to identify hateful speech originating from the mouths of islamic clerics?

Unlike contemporary Canadian politics, the Catholic Faith, among many true things, embraces reason illuminated by faith. While secular Canadians, militant islamists (of the Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr variety), and liberal religionists may fear truth and reasoned dialogue, Catholics cannot shy away from the responsibility to engage in rational discourse in order to promote and preserve the truth for the sake of the common good.

The Holy Gospel as taught by the Catholic Church, unlike the highly questionable teachings of other religious entities that purport to be Christian, is the only way forward for any society which hopes to enjoy order, justice and authentic progress founded upon the rule of law, law that conforms to the natural law. Any society which hopes to enjoy (and protect) inalienable rights that come from the Creator should give a hearing to the Church's social doctrine:

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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