Christian Persecution on Ancient Faith Today — Sunday, October 13 at 8pm Eastern | 5pm Pacific

ancient-faith-today – Host Kevin Allen talks with Faith McDonnell and Ralph H. Sidway about the rising tide of Christian intolerance and genocide—the intentional killing of people for their Christian faith—and why global Christophobia is rarely covered by Western media or addressed by the United Nations.

Faith McDonnell is the Director of Religious Liberty Programs at the Institute for Religion and Democracy and the author of the book Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children. Her blog is titled “Juicy Ecumenism.” Ralph H. Sidway is the author of Facing Islam and the blog of the same name.



  1. Peter Pipsos says

    Well it’s obvious; we need all Christians to carry guns!

  2. Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

    Where were you when the Iraqi Christians were being abolished?
    Compared to the silence of the American Churches and the media on that topic the news of persecution and killing of Christians is FLOODING the country!!!!

  3. Sean Richardson says

    In America today, the only group that seems to be immune from political correctness and persecution is the Christian Church. One dare not make a single comment against the Muslims or the Jews, against any racial or ethnic group, yet it is open season against Christians. Unfortunately, this shades over into our foreign policy where our government does not care to protect Christians abroad, because our society does not care to protect Christians at home. I pray that this changes, yet I am not encouraged by our current state of affairs …

    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

      So, Sean, more should be done to protect Christians from negative comments by other Christians? I’m under the impression that there are a hundred fold more outrageous statements against Muslims on, for example, Facebook than against Christians, and no one is being prosecuted for that. There are new anti-Muslim entities being organized every day here. One Russian Orthodox Christian in California posts two or three excerpts every day from various ideological sites supporting the marriage of church and state or Netanyahu’s drive for “Lebensraum”. Who supported or protected the ancient Christian communities of Iraq? Who supported or protected the Christian Palestinians? But when Christians are persecuted in Syria which has failed to oppose Iran that’s another matter, right? Keep right on working for AIPAC while being deluded into thinking you are providing any REAL support to the Christians of the Middle East. How expert are we on the slaughter of Muslims in Burma and the Philippines?

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        “How expert are we on the slaughter of Muslims in Burma”

        Exaggerate much? I have to hand it to the “religion of peace” for provoking even Buddhists to abandon pacificism in fulfillment of Genesis 16:12: “he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

        Tensions between Buddhist and Muslim ethnic groups flared into violent clashes in Meiktila on March 20th and continued until the 22nd, killing at least 40 and wounding 61 people. The violence started on March 20th after a Muslim gold shop owner, his wife, and two Muslim employees allegedly assaulted a Buddhist customer and her husband in an argument over a golden hairpin. The situation further escalated when a local Buddhist monk was dragged from his bicycle, doused in petrol, and burnt alive by six Muslim youths at a nearby mosque.

        On the 29th of May, violence broke out in Lashio, in Shan state bordering China, after reports that a 48-year-old Muslim man named Ne Win poured petrol on a young Buddhist woman with whom he was arguing and set her on fire. In response, a Buddhist mob armed with machetes and bamboo poles torched a mosque, a Muslim orphanage, and several shops after the police refused to surrender Ne Win. The Buddhists and Muslims continued to fight into the next day and at least one person died.

        August riots in Kanbalu

        On the 24th of August, violence once again flared up in Htangon village, 16 kilometers south of Kantbalu in the Sagaing Region, after the alleged attempted rape of a Buddhist women by three Muslim men. Local monks led the enraged Buddhist villagers to retaliate by burning down Muslim owned businesses and the village mosque.

        • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

          Oh,”Ladder of Divine Ascent!” “Provoking EVEN Buddhists?” Buddhist monasteries were often armed and belligerent. Read a little, oh, Japanese history to learn of how Buddhists terrified even Samurai from time to time with their militias! The main victims of violent, fanatical, deviant Islam have been, though, ordinary and moderate Muslims in numbers far far exceeding the comparatively minuscule number of Christian casualties. It is the action of western powers, mostly American, that has energized the fanatics and even aided their recruitment programs, while other Muslims are slaughtered. You have to give them one thing, though, they’ve never waged a Thirty Years War against each other. Why, Christian hatred of other Christians has lasted right up to our times in the Balkans! However I think the Muslims are a little more polite as a rule. While the mean-minded like to mock ALL Muslims by their use of “Religion of Peace” as sarcastic mockery, the Muslims have never retaliated by calling us “So-called followers of the Prince of ‘PEACE.” Oh, did you know that Muslims usually refer to Jesus as the Messiah?

        • I am confused. You believe the Buddhists were right to be provoked to violence because of a couple uninvestigated allegations?

          What do you think lynchings were in the South? These are universally condemned now even though they were not typically full pogrom-like riots targeting Blacks indiscriminately. But this behaviour is fine if the alleged perpetrators are Muslim because they are probably guilty anyway?


          Ahh, Buddhists rioting against Muslims in Burma fulfills Genesis 16:12? What kind of cult peddles such prophecies?

          How is this different from “Rev” Hagee’s provocations?

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            Thomas S. “Ladder of Divine Ascent” believes exactly that!

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            Hey, people actually stated on this website that the Copts are/were provoking the Muslims in Egypt and thus partially/fully to blame for their own persecution. The Orthodox in Syria likewise deserved it… for benefiting from non government approved persecution under Assad. Likewise his grace, +Tikhon, lumps heresy and Orthodoxy together, and calls it “Christianity,” which he deems violent, and blames Islamic violence on us. He goes to the far reaches of the world to tells us of the “slaughter” of Muslims, as if a total of 40 dead (on both sides of mutual fighting), in response to six brave Muslims dragging a Buddhist monk off a bike and setting him afire at the local mosque (nothing alleged about it). You then link Burmese resistance to pious Koranic behavior to the lynchings of blacks in the old South. You’d do better to concern yourself with things ongoing at home, Mexican ethnic cleansing of blacks, black violence against whites (“White Girl Bleed A Lot”), blacks against blacks, in the USA. The PC blowhards won’t touch these, although they dwarf Burma, because don’t fit their narratives. I know full well the reality of Buddhism, but the “even” Buddhists being provoked comment is perfectly merited, because Buddhists being peaceful is a PC truism far closer to truth than that of Christianity (especially Orthodoxy) being the source of all evil and oppression and Islam being peaceful, benevolent, and tolerant.

            “The main victims of violent, fanatical, deviant Islam have been, though, ordinary and moderate Muslims in numbers far far exceeding the comparatively minuscule number of Christian casualties.”

            Minuscule: a joke. Violent, fanatical Islam as deviant Islam: intellectual dishonesty. Islam has being a boot stomping the bloody face of martyred Christians, endlessly forever, from the get go, because its founder was a violent, fanatical man.

            The Triune Christian God is the only God, there is no salvation in Islam which Satan used to unite the Ismaelites under Islam into a “great nation” just as our God said He would by His will allow to occur. The blessed/cursed Jews, against all odds, have continued to exist down through the ages and have been returned to Israel for the End Times. Orthodox as true Israel, and the Jews as physical seed, have always been, and have always will be at odds with Ismaelites/Islam, and God is on our side even when he allows our persecution. Everything is as is it was foretold to be, thousands of years ago, amazing proof of God.

            • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

              Oh, my! To think I once opined that “Ladder of Divine Descent” was the nom de plume of Metropoolitan Jonah Paffhausen!!!! Whatever anyone might ever say about the latter cleric, one could never call him a semi-addled ignoramus. He writes clearly and calmly and when he ha something negative to put forward, it is not in anything resembling feverish excitement and half-truths of the entity hiding behind the name of a periodical—hiding in order to not risk the awful embarrassment of being identified as the source of so much.
              By the way, the Lord is God and God is the Lord. We cannot comprehend God and we cannot forbid Him from revealing Himself as HE pleases and not only to a dogpatch of country in an out -of-the way edge of the civilized Middle Eastern world, but to places such as North and South America or China far beyond the borders of one civilization, the Roman Empire.
              Here’s a question for you, ladder: . Please document (among several lying canards) ANY ;statement by ANYBODY here on Monomakhos that indicated that Copts were “partially/fully to blame for their own persecution!,”
              Are you a recent immigrant? I wouldn’t think so, but I hate to think that natural born and educated Americans would not understand that you can slaughter two people and it’s still slaughter.
              How can you not recognize that the overwhelming majority of the victims slaughtered in Syria today are Muslims? Can’t you read or understand numbers over ten (10)? Can you not recognize that the overwhelming ,majority of human beings slaughtered in Afghanistan were Muslims? In Egypt? in Palestine? Do you just shut those deaths out as being “deserved?” I feel that if you lived in Christ’s time on earth, you’d be one in the forefront of those blaming Christ for associating with Samaritans, i.e., Jews who worship on the wrong hilltop..
              I like talk about God being “on our SIDE.” Does that mean beside us? I think you think that history of man is a matter of belonging to the right team:;;Our Side against Their Side. it’s not, O Ladder!! Who is ahead in the ONLY real battle, “Ladder”, the battle within you. Which side, warring within you, is God on? Keep fighting and pay attention to what Thomas S. teaches you here!

      • Thank you, Bishop Fitzgerald! It is obvious that you can make extraordinarily offensive and threatening statements towards Muslims and at most be considered “in bad taste” in contemporary America. Of course, there are politically-correct thought police who protect only minorities and permit insults towards Christianity while both the Red and Blue teams censor any even mild criticism of Jews. The proper answer to this is to accord the proper respect to Islam and Judaism both and to treat Muslims and Jews in the most Christ-like manner possible without treating them as beyond criticism or compromising on the false claims of their religions.

        Unfortunately, it seems some want to import Orthodoxy into the neocon-theocon camp which believes that provocations aimed (uniquely) at Muslims are somehow appropriate. They appear to think American Orthodoxy should be aligned with Pat Robertson and AIPAC rather than the official positions of the Patriarchates.

        I believe the AFR programme went better than it could have considering there was no sense of balance whatsoever. Sidway was very inflammatory, stating that “radical Islam is 1,400 years old” (i.e., so all Islam is ‘radical Islam’ – a recipe for eternal conflict). McDonnell was much milder in her approach though her opinions appeared to not differ from Sidway’s. Note, however, McDonnell represents the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a neoconservative outfit on whose board Fr Johannes Jacobse sits (and who, I believe, was her link to the programme).

        The IRD was founded in the early 1980s basically to support the Contras and chastise liberal Protestant churches that were neutral or supported the leftist governments in the region. Its original board included many neoconservative staples like Fr Neuhaus, George Weigel, Michael Novak, later Fred Barnes, as well as Penn Kemble from the Social Democrats USA (ex-Trotskyites who became warmongers). It consistently supports wars in the Middle East and elsewhere and chastises churches (so far just Protestants) for any criticism of Israel.

        Fr Jacobse himself is quite political aside from the IRD, as many of us have seen. In principle, I do not think the Church should accept an artificial wall of separation between affairs of the State and the Church, otherwise we have already accepted extreme secularism. However, I do believe it crosses a line when, for example, he blogs as a priest in support of foreign policies that are dangerous to Orthodox Christians and opposed by basically all jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church. Given that many priests speak of how they had to receive their bishop’s blessing to run a simple blog or podcast, does Jacobse not also need official approval for AOI and OrthodoxyToday? Are their views not problematic, given that they carry the name ‘Orthodox’ and he signs his own articles as a Greek Orthodox priest? Does this really have approval?

        • George Michalopulos says

          Thomas, your attempt to exonerate Islam at all costs from its atrocities by trying to align the IRD with neoconservatism/theoconservatism is getting thread-bare. These atrocities pre-date the founding of Israel for one thing and they do go all the way back to Mohammed. And as the commentators said, Christian dhimmis living within the Ottoman Empire were only given more freedoms because of pressure brought to bear by Russia, England, and France (among others).

          It does no one any good to whitewash the past regardless of who is doing the whitewashing or which side is being whitewashed. The truth is the truth. Most of us bear no personal animus towards Muslims and I myself rather admire much of the medieval Caliphates but to suggest that this was a time of unicorns prancing under rainbows and crapping Skittles is ludicrous.

          • “Thomas, your attempt to exonerate Islam at all costs from its atrocities by trying to align the IRD with neoconservatism/theoconservatism is getting thread-bare”

            Odd, because I (a) have just posted once on the topic, and (b) don’t intend to make an apology for Islam, or at least real Islamic extremists. What I intend to communicate is that Islam does not equal Wahabbi extremists and that it is inappropriate to make an alliance with militant Islamophobes of the Robert Spencer-Bat Ye’or-David Horowitz-Pamela Geller network under the guise of overtly “Orthodox” media linked with an active Orthodox priest. It is no more appropriate to advocate foreign policies opposed by Orthodox bishops abroad seemingly only to make an alliance on the Red Team. Even Christopher Hitchens had a column published in OT and he is an infamous anti-Christian.

            I do not know what atrocities you are referring to that pre-date the founding of Israel since we were not discussing any specific ones. If you mean Islam has committed lots of atrocities historically, yes, we all know Muslims have committed atrocities in the name of Islam. Christians have done the same in the name of Christianity, although I would say in both cases these were usually excuses to cover for the normal causes of war – the conquest of land and resources, or, if you will, Satan.

            So who is whitewashing what? Who is covering for what? You want to get us angry about the Ottomans? There is no more Ottoman Empire, although Turkey has taken advantage of its membership in NATO to be good strategic allies of the US and Israel both, so there are stirrings of neo-Ottomans but they are pawns of our secular politicians. Do you want me to get mad about Salafism? The neocons launched a war on Ba’athist Iraq (whose Foreign Minister was an Orthodox Christian, remember) instead with the silent blessing of all the Gulf Arab extremists. Fr Jacobse appears to have supported this from all indications on AOI and Orthodoxy Today and chastised the war’s opponents lumping them together with leftists and anti-Semites (<if they invoked 'neoconservatism' or the Israel lobby).

            Were any of the patriarchs even neutral on Iraq War? I don't believe so. In any case, the actual Islamic extremists of today are not the targets of this AIPAC-neocon network. The recent targets have been Hussein, Qadhaafi, and Assad (all Arab nationalists), even if a split has just now opened between the political neocons (pro-war with Syria) and the ultra-Islamophobes (anti-war). The next targets are Iran and Hizbollah, the latter being, by the way, in alliance with parties for whom most Christians in Lebanon vote, and if you don't like it, the alternative is backed by the Saudis.

            So I did not say anything great about the Ottomans or any Caliphate that nobody is actually on the verge of reviving. To the contrary, what bothers me is people who cannot tell the difference between different types of Islam and different Muslims (or deliberately ignore this) and hype up some mythological clash with Islam in general (an excuse for permanent war) while making an alliance with people who could not care less about Christians and who often employ radical Islamists themselves to achieve their geopolitical aims.

            And, at the very least, if someone has these opinions, they should not be published in 'Orthodox' media as the Church does not need to be dragged into this ridiculous conflict by evangelicals and secular neoconservatives.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Well, once is enough. Besides, you align yourself with a sizeable contingent of Western and Orthodox Islamophiles whose stock-in-trade is doing exactly what I described: exonerating Islam at all costs.

              As for atrocities? Just read any good history book. Just because Pamela Geller, Bat Ye’or, and Robert Spencer are anti-Islamists (and pro-Israel) doesn’t mean that they are wrong.

              I’m not “angry” at the Ottomans. As an empire they were no worse or no better than any other empire. Case closed. All I said was that MacDonald and Sidway were correct: the plight of Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire only became ameliorated because of the Western Powers who pressured the Sublime Porte. That’s unobjectionable.

              As for the IRD, sure there are Neocons there, but not all are Neocons. Fr Hans certainly isn’t. And anyway, if you think we were wrong on Iraq, then you have to question all of our foreign “entaglements” as George Washington warned us about in his Farewell Address. America First anyone? Sign me up!

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                George, this statement of yours is historically uninformed:
                ” … the plight of Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire only became ameliorated because of the Western Powers who pressured the Sublime Porte. That’s unobjectionable”
                “Western Powers” exerted no influence on the Sublime Porte until the last, declining years of that sick old Empire, sick through being corrupted by western powers’ money. From the very beginning of Islamic military and polical power, the conquered people had all the money. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchates were ALWAYS filthy rich. Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Syrians, and Egyptians monopolized the taxing functions, the banking functions, and the trading functions of Arabic and Turkish governments until the 20th century. “Dhimmi” status (the word means protected) meant that the conquerors were so poor and short of cash, that to kill them would impoverish the conquerors further. They protected them like a farmer protects his herd, they were always the cash cows of, for example, the Ottomans. In exchange they were allowed to keep their synagogues and churches and continue to rake in the profits. When ROMAN CATHOLIC power conquered Islamic Spain, Spain’s now PERSECUTED Jews (called Sephardim after the Hebrew name of Spain,”Sepharda”, fled for refuge to the Sultan in Constantinople, who received them enthusiastically and let them settle any where they wanted: North Africa, Greece, and so on. This was not the result of your ameliorating pressure by the “Western Powers!” For most of its existence, the Ottoman Empire-“The Sublime Porte”, etc., was a source of outright terror in Western Europe, especially when they reached the gates of Vienna.
                The Jews and Greek Orthodox of Jerusalem were protected by Muslim rulers (one of the most far-famed for his generosity was Saladin the Great (a Kurd). When the “Western Powers”—England France Rome—launched their First Crusade and conquered protected or “dhimmi” Jerusalem,these prototypical “Western” Powers burned the Jews alive in their synagogues, and slaughtered Greek Orthodox ‘schismatic” Greeks, men,women (including pregnant ones) and children right alongside the Muslim inhabitants of the city!
                George, here are some facts about Islam in the Islamic Republic of Iran:
                CHRISTIANS: 200,000-500,000 adherents; Active Churches:600; representatives in parliament 2
                and they have their own newspapers, schools, and clubs.
                JEWS: 20,000-25,000 adherents; active synagogues 25; representatives in parliament 1, and they have newspapers, schools,and clubs.
                ZOROASTRIANS: 20,000-25,000 adherents; 6 major fire temples and dozens of small fire temples; representatives in parliament 1, and they have their own newspapers, schools,and clubs.
                These minorities, George, are all well off, without any pressures from “Western” Powers.
                With a population of 79,000,000, 70,000,000 of whom are Shia Muslims, it’s rather surprising that the religious minorities have ANY elected representatives in parliament.
                Iran is the only country in the world, I believe that is officially and formally called Islamic.
                Iran is a big thorn in the side of the Israeli State, but NOT an enemy of Jews or Judaism.
                George, I am an Orthodox hierarch, very conservative where the Faith and the Church are concerned, but I am a liberal Democrat who, like Nat Hentoff and others, is militantly opposed to abortion. and DIVORCE. However I try not to control the moral habits of non-Orthodox American citizens at all. WHO, George, are these (sizable in number!) “Orthodox Islamophiles”? Please name some of them. I love Jews and Muslims, but I detest Israel and Saudi Arabia, who seem to be secret lovers….

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Your Grace, while it is true that the Greek Phanariotes of Constantinople (a tiny minority) were wealthy, that doesn’t mean that the Greeks of the Anatolian countryside or the Greek mainland were. If anything, those people were dirt-poor. Yes, both Alexandria and Constantinople were largely Greek, just like Baghdad and Thessalonica were largely Jewish, and yes. vibrant Greek and Jewish cultures were evident in those cities, respectively, that doesn’t mean that life for dhimmis under Islam was or is a walk in the park.

                  What we are finding out instead is that wherever Islam penetrates, freedom, democracy and multiculturalism invariably withers. We see this in the great cities of Europe.

                  Now, I don’t fault Islam for this phenomenon, it is what it is. I do fault our hostile elites who by bringing in these people en masse into our native lands, to what end? to displace the native population?

                  As for the strange sub-rosa alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia, what can I say? Politics makes strange bedfellows?

                  As for Iran, I rather think that the “Islamic” part of its name is more for decoration at this point. That nation-state (probably the oldest in the world) is far more democratic than any of the Arab states (save perhaps for Tunisia).

                  • I think we can agree on American First, just so long as Muslim foreign influences and immigration are not treated so differently from, say, Hispanic and East Asian ones (as an aside, if you travel maybe you notice that it is in British and American airports that the fewest number of people actually speak English).

                    Iran is an “Islamic republic”, the Islamic part is still quite apparent in the fact that a council of clerics vets candidates because they can appear on a ballot. That said, they have more people on the ballot than the US, which uses arcane laws, corruption, and legal costs to control the number of candidates, so I am tired of hearing how the Iranians are some extra-special totalitarian dictatorship (…not that it would even be relevant if they were).

                    At the end of the day, there is a Hizbollah-Gen. Aoun-Syria-Iran alliance with the general backing of Russia and China and the sympathy of Iraq, the PLO, and some Latin American countries vs. Israel-Gulf Arabs-Saad Hariri clan-Lebanese Forces-Muslim Brohterhood-“Al-Qa’ida”-Hashemite-Turkey alliance with the close support of the political establishments in Washington, London, and Paris, and the reluctant support of the rest of the EU. The first of these alliances is clearly better for Christians in the Middle East, especially the Orthodox, and I dare say it is far less aggressive than the latter alliance.

                    If we (the US) were even just vaguely neutral in this conflict, I do think the Christians in the region would be relatively secure.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    This statement by our George M. is quite true—as far as it goes: “Your Grace, while it is true that the Greek Phanariotes of Constantinople (a tiny minority) were wealthy, that doesn’t mean that the Greeks of the Anatolian countryside or the Greek mainland were. If anything, those people were dirt-poor.”
                    Neither the Greek Phanariotes nor the Greeks of Anatolia, Pontos, etc., were poorer than their Turkish neighbors—on the contrary. Those ‘dirt poor’ Greeks were still financially better off than their Turkish friends and neighbors, and no poorer than the the poor Greeks of Greece!

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    George M., your statement here: “Your Grace, while it is true that the Greek Phanariotes of Constantinople (a tiny minority) were wealthy, that doesn’t mean that the Greeks of the Anatolian countryside or the Greek mainland were. If anything, those people were dirt-poor.”
                    I agree that those “dirt-poor” Greeks of the Anatolian countryside and the Black Sea coastal Pontos were dirt-poor. However the Muslim people living beside them were even poorer, although i recognize that some geneticist-racists would attribute that to bad genes.

            • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

              It’s true that American involvement in Egpyt and Libya opened up a rift in conservative circles, but the neo-cons grew silent only after democratic structures did not spontaneously appear as they thought it would. The liberals are still interventionist as we saw with Obama and Syria where only public outcry and some deft diplomacy by Putin stayed his hand.

              As for the IRD, there are probably some neo-cons on board but conservatives are the safer bet as Obama’s near miscalculation in Syria makes clear (neo-con and liberal foreign policy is virtually identical). Faith McDonnell, a staff member of IRD for many years, was one of the first in Washington to sound the alarm that American interventionism would bring great suffering to the Christians in the mid-east. She deserves credit for this and events have proven her correct.

              My involvement with the Orthodox Peace Fellowship and Iraq began when they attempted to marshal opposition to the effort with moral reasoning drawn exclusively from liberal anti-war ideology. I argued then that OPF opposition to the Iraq war was too dependent on the reasoning of the secular left, particularly moral relativism.

              Maybe I made an impression because OPF’s reasoning for opposing American involvement in Syria was free of the moral relativism I critiqued several years ago. I signed their petition.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Thank you for setting the record straight Fr.

                For my part, from now on I will call the Neocons and the Neoliberals who favor foreign entanglements, intervention, and ramming democratic government down the throats of foreigners unable to understand what it takes to be democratic “Wilsonians” or “Demojihadists” or some such locution.

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                George, you wrote: “The liberals are still interventionist as we saw with Obama and Syria where only public outcry and some deft diplomacy by Putin stayed his hand.” When did public outcry and Putiniac diplomacy influence President Obama to consult with Congress and the public before proceeding in Syria? What we saw, George, was the opposite of interventionist Bush and his fellow interventionists in launching Shock and Awe without deigning to indicate a Congress exists.

                • Thy Grace,

                  Bush received blanket authorisation for Afghanistan and famously did go to Congress for authorisation before Iraq, which was voted for in October 2002. 58% of Democrat Senators and 39% of Democrat House members voted ‘Yea’, including the ’04 presidential candidates Kerry, Edwards, (obviously) Lieberman, and co-sponsor Gephardt. The Democratic leadership was entirely complicit in the Iraq débacle and anyone with sense knows the same charade would have been repeated, if possibly sold a little differently, under a Gore-Lieberman administration. (Note: Bush apologists recite what I just said as “proof” everyone went along with his agenda at first – no, most Congressmen are simply compromised cowards.)

                  Obama avoided Congress entirely concerning Libya (which was the same deal as Syria, folks, Islamic terrorists armed by the West fighting on the ground alongside a few soldiers from the Qatari army). Even while promising to give Congress a vote, Kerry was telling Congressional committees Obama did not need their authorisation and could act anyway.

                  So, no, this is not a partisan issue, although I’m wary of the lingering neocons who really want to attack Syria and Iran and who criticise Obama simultaneously for allying with “the Muslims” and for not showing the “strong and decisive leadership” necessary to make “tough decisions” and “defend his/our credibilty” as “leader of the Free World”. It comes across as an odd blend of damage control and mind control.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    Thomas, I didn’t remember that Bush went before Congress and asked for authorization to .invade Iraq Sorry. I apologize. And I’m fully aware that the Democratic leadership was fully supine to “the usual suspects” that keep America at war. Democrats were always interventionists,but true, conservative Republicans were always against war and other foreign interventionists. I’m sure that Taft and Vandenberg are just thrashing around in their coffins nowadays at the antics of peoplewho call themselves Republicans. Todays “:conservative Republicans would want to hang Bismarck or burn him at the stake if he were an American today. Bismarck, the Great Conservative, would be called the “Demonic Father of Entitlements” today in the U.S., because he was responsible for IMPOSING social security on the Kaiser’s Germany and the Junker class. I feel that this IS a partisan issue, and it’s most powerful engine is the party of the Israeli State. We had a mostly two party electorate for many years, Republican and Democratic, and there were liberals and conservatives and other ideologues in both parties. We are now much more a two-party state, for and against sedition. Listen to Sarah Palin and you’ll hear the sort of thing that overthrew the Liberal Government of Russia and replaced it with the Bolsheviks. She’s come close, over and over,to the classic Marxist Cheer. With her it goes like this: “Patriots and Vets and True Ordinary People, arise! You have nothing to lose but your chains. Oh, she (and many another like her) was born way too late. She’s got the Bolshie agitator style down pat.
                    She whipped up some of our veterans while accusing the President of using the vets as “political pawns.”
                    But, yes, the Democrats have always been the war party. Anybody who imagines that a President Hilary Clinton would be a force against America making war is seriously deluded.
                    But as you know, it was the Bush team that manufactured and propagated the lie about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons. They didn’t have to resort to today’s stomp-out-Islam rhetoric, though, Ms Rice’s mushroom cloud did the trick.

                    • Bismarck was a true conservative – he believed in maintaining social order and stability but sought to find mechanisms for doing so while allowing the economy to modernise. Gaullists and earlier generations of Christian Democrats offered much of the same – as well as some politicians in both US parties in the 40s-60s. That is all gone now and I find it rather incredible how so many pseudo-intellectuals (maybe a few real ones, too) nowadays try to mesh traditional religion with Austrian economics, a tradition particularly rooted in atheism.

                      Regarding Palin, however, I think she is half-fool, half-tool, but I cannot condemn revolutionary rhetoric out-of-hand. That it may parallel Bolshevik rhetoric is not particularly troubling since it surely also echos many other radical movements with all sorts of positions on the Church. The Tea Party was originally a welcome development, but was quickly co-opted by the Red Team, Inc. via FOX, Beck, Palin, and Koch money. Now it has turned into older people who watch FOX all day and take their SS, Medicare, and Veterans benefits cheering paid-for rallies of party hacks in support of more war and the (later) privatisation or liquidation of all the benefits they already get.

                      The main tragedy is the difficulty to mobilise any independent political action (the Dems flirted with Occupy but shut it down when they could not control it). As this concerns veterans, I’d say those who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan (not Korea or WWII) are treated like dirt, and I’d hope they’d rise up. “True ordinary people” can rise up as well, once we figure out what that means. I’d hope it means overcoming some cultural differences and uniting people who seemingly have no future in the current system. Of course, that is not what a Palin means, she seems to mean rural America, which has real grievances, should rise up in order to … put in place policies even worse than what we already have for the people who would be rising up!

                      To economise, you asked in a different comment whether “Islam, like us, teaches that God deliberately created man as someone who could choose evil if we wanted to”. My understanding is generally yes. I am, however, not in the least educated in Islamic studies, though I have an upper-intermediate reading level of Arabic. From my observations and a few things I have read, contemporary Islam resembles mainstream evangelical Protestantism (e.g., Southern Baptists) on the matter of free will. That is to say, it clearly has a doctrine of free will but there is also rather harsh predestinationist/determinist rhetoric floating around and of course Oriental culture is infamously fatalistic. There is also a Calvinistic emphasis on God’s extreme power and sovereignty, which begets confusing statements from some who think emphasising this divine power is a mark of piety.

                      This is really the greatest irony of all to me in these contemporary pseudo-religious conflicts….evangelicals, not least Calvinists, are the most likely among Christians to profess outright hatred for Islam and sometimes Muslims themselves while being the most theologically similar to Muslims, particularly extreme Sunni Muslims. I just do not understand why any Orthodox would be tempted to join them, unless this is just an American problem caused by political alliances.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Thomas, thank you for your reasoned response. I take issue however with your assessment of the Tea Party and its supposed hypocrisy, specifically that a significant portion of its members take Social Security, Medicare, and Veteran’s benefits. This is true as far as it goes but there are two problems with your criticism:

                      1. People who pay federal income taxes have to pay into SS and Medicare (unless they want to go to prison), It’s not something they necessarily want to do but its part of a societal contract in which both parties agree to certain terms.

                      2. These plans are “socialist” only in the Bismarckian/social conservative sense: people pay into them and expect to receive their benefits when they are due. The difference between productive taxpayers/servicemen and malingerers and other criminal lay-a-bouts is night and day.

                      3. Therefore you cannot lump these benefits in with the Welfare State that gives rise to the malingerer class that contributes little to society and goes on looting binges when the EBT cards don’t work.

                      4. Palin is no fool. She knows what she’s doing. If the GOP listens to the Chamber of Commerce types then it will likely implode. She’s keeping her powder dry.

                      5. The so-called Red Team is where “revolutionary rhetoric” has set up its tent. But it’s not your type of revolutionary rhetoric but an American “Spirit of ’76” type rhetoric, one which established a conservative, law-based Republic as opposed to the Jacobin terror unleashed by the French Revolution and later by the Bolsheviks. The sadness you feel about the failure of the Occupy Movement leads me to issue this criticism. If I am wrong, please correct me.

                      6. Regarding the Occupy Movement, it was not a genuine, American revolutionary movement but a Jacobin-type upheaval which sought to increase the leveling by spreading the misery around equally. The Tea Party hearkens back instead to an Enlightenment based republicanism based on Liberty and ordered society, one governed by the rule of law.

                      7. I appreciate your discursus re Islam. Much to think about. My only quibble is that the antipathy that exists between the American Christian groups (and this would include American Orthodox) is not based on the things you describe but on something more basic. It’s more civilizational and racial. As Rudyard Kipling said “For East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” For my part, the tyrannical societal structures that arose in the East and gave rise to men like Saddam Hussein and the Assad family are necessary because only a dictatorial brutality can keep these peoples’ violent passions in check. For those of us in the West, these are antithetical to us because we have developed different group-evolutionary strategies to maintain our respective societies.

                    • Dear George,

                      I agree with point 1. I agree with point 2. I agree with the factual content of point 3, though possibly not with the emotional content. I disagree with point 4, though our varying assessments of Palin’s intellect are not very important. Numbers 5 through 7 are more complicated and I will discuss them below.

                      Any semblance of “revolutionary rhetoric” within the two main parties tends to be lodged within the opposition party of the time. Relatively radical anti-war rhetoric was generally within the Big Blue Tent ten years ago, but once the party took power and paid no attention to these people, they nonetheless became docile, since their funding and organisational mechanisms were controlled by party loyalists. This is why I say one must distinguish between the original Tea Partiers and the Tea Party, Inc. Ron Paul is not the same as Sarah Palin. Justin Amash is not the same as Michele Bachmann (who voted against his anti-NSA spying bill).

                      The point is that the self-appointed leaders of Tea Party, Inc. are party loyalists who are not across-the-board suspicious of the government. They are rather huge supporters of the warfare state (Palin has called for attacking Iran at several TP rallies) and the national security state and they tend to single out poor people and the unemployed for being parasites without proportionate attacks on much larger parasites (indeed, sometimes calling to increase their money flow). I believe the sort of new generation of “Tea Party” politicians (Cruz, Rand Paul, etc.) may be in some ways better than the Country Clubbers or Chamber of Commerce types, but they do not properly represent a 1776-patriot movement nor an entirely grassroots one of any sort. The goal of their financial backers is profit from economic collapse (debt default > liquidation/ privatisation of everything, to be preyed upon by hedge funds).

                      This is really the point about SS/Medicare recipients at Tea Party rallies, not that the elderly are parasites but that they won’t be happy with what they would get if their preferred candidates ran the whole government. Whereas there is a perfect opportunity to advance a patriotic conservative agenda, they are going to get extremely unpopular economic policies, more wars, and virtually unlimited H1B visas.

                      As for OWS, I fail to see how it is Jacobin particularly as opposed to the TP, but in any case, it flopped due to a lack of leadership and lack of élite sponsorship. As I said, the Dems pulled the plug after flirting with it. The media blacked it out and coverage went from something that could be used to hammer the Republicans with to something associated with petty crime and hobos. In reality, OWS polled very high approval ratings, similar to the early TP’s before the 2010 election. Also, very few people (including Republican voters) trust Wall Street even though the TP, Inc. thinks they should not be regulated *at all*.

                      I’d say the real issues that face America are debt at all levels (possibly student debt is the most important since it has become a type of slavery for some), unemployment which is related to the immigration problem that almost all politicians (R&D) want to make worse, low wages which again are related to immigration and also to increasing welfare expenditures, the disproportionate power of finance capital over the economy, and government spying. No Dem or mainstream GOP politician addresses any of these at all, while TP politicians talk about some but wish to make others worse. A Hobson’s choice.

                      If you have travelled to the Middle East, you may have noticed that family is almost the only institution that matters – the concept of society is underdeveloped. People’s homes are pristine and they are keen to treat guests but they treat the road like a garbage can. Despite the imposition of nation-states, tribal loyalties are still stronger which is why Assad may have a Sunni wife and some Christian ministers but nearly the whole mukhabarat is Alawi. Ironically, I think the reason their dictatorships are brutal is because the State (and its supporting society) is less secure, less powerful than we like to think. I know I cannot imagine these Libyan and Syrian-style rebellions getting anywhere in the US because the omniscience and omnipresence of the State is stronger. So I agree that there is a sort of civilisational-evolutionary element but not necessarily racial-cultural, especially if you mean to imply that Westerners are above torture (we just outsource torture!) and other brutality (we just give them some DU and white phosphorus, it’s what democracies do).

              • To be clear, I think it is great and important work to point out atrocities against Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere and political correctness should play no part in holding us back from reporting on these matters (nor should it interfere in discussions of Jews and Judaism, Buddhists and Buddhism, Hindus and Hinduism, etc.).

                Every time the US government initiates or comes near initiating a war (or “kinetic military action” or whatever they call it these days) against a mostly defenceless country, both liberal and paleoconservative opponents of these wars suffer from the fact that they usually swallow the majority of the government’s war propaganda and reiterate it (either by lazy acceptance or fear of appearing out of the mainstream) but then call for caution and prudence. If everyone agrees Hussein/Qadhaafi/Assad/Milosevic or whoever is a Hitler-wannabe, the anti-war crowd starts to look just like the pro-war crowd wishes to paint them (weak, morally relativists, cowards, rigid pacifists, etc.). I personally think this undermines their credibility and permits governments to sell their wars, eventually, to the majority.

                I know I told people back in that time that the case for war was full of lies and while that may have only evoked angry, emotional responses from some people, I had more credibility with them later and they were more able to doubt that everything was an honest mistake. It is necessary to fight moral relativism, however, relativism cannot be defined as equivocating armed occupation with dictatorship, as if we (I guess, being Americans??) are supposed to automatically agree that an occupation involving our troops could not possibly be as evil and violent as a foreign dictatorship, which had been enabled by that same supposedly morally superior government about to attack it. I am not sure how the same argument, entirely secular itself and rooted in pride, would not work for attacking Assad whose government is no less brutal…

                Iraq is old news, so I won’t go on further about this except to say that it is extraordinarily difficult to see anything but a consistent pro-war line by OT in the early Iraq War years, the “moral relativism” of some aside, with all the standard attacks on the anti-war side, and if one has come around to reject many of the same arguments for pre-emptive war with supposed “totalitarian regimes” (i.e., standard dictatorships), then welcome and I hope this new position survives the Obama administration (if we survive it).

            • Michael Bauman says

              Mr. Thomas: “If you mean Islam has committed lots of atrocities historically, yes, we all know Muslims have committed atrocities in the name of Islam. Christians have done the same in the name of Christianity,…”

              Here is the big difference. Most of the atrocities committed in the name of Islam were/are justified by the Koran. None of the atrocities committed by Chrisitans are justified by the Bible or Jesus Christ.

              That is a big difference and one that you seem to ignore.

              • Of course, if you mean (in your view): “***I*** think all Muslim atrocities are justified by the Qur’an and ***I*** think, being a Christian, none of the Christian atrocities are justified by the Bible”, then I cannot argue with you.

                Of course, that is a silly thing to say. It is only proper to measure how people justify atrocities in the eyes of those committing them, not in yours or mine. I did not claim Christian atrocities were justified in any way, but it is obvious that you can take even the New Testament far enough out of context to justify offensive violence, and you cannot deny that it has been done before. It is even easier to use to the Old Testament, especially if you are Jewish and take a tribal-nationalist reading of it not so far out of context to justify violence against outsiders.

                Of course, the settler movement does this all the time today but they are beyond reproach to the extremist Geller-Bat Ye’or-Spencer-Horowitz, etc. network, with the apparent argument that all encounters with Islam are “kill or be killed”, a great justification for pre-emptive violence and eternal war. You don’t have to gather and evaluate evidence over a specific incident, just like in the Burmese Buddhist example above, for we know a priori who is guilty.

                Why can’t we just agree that such sentiments are wrong on any side and that their justification in their own traditions is questionable *at best*, not single out one group and take your own personal readings of its holy writings to claim its most violent faction most correctly represents the whole religion?

              • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                Michael Baumann. It seems you are making a Muslim mistake. Instead of comparing Muslim ethical practice with Christian ethical practice, you boil everything down to “Their Book vs Our Book.”
                However, you forget that ‘Their Book’ and Muslims show veneration and respect for the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures, quote from them, and venerate Jesus as Holy prophet and Messiah, believe in the Virgin Birth, and expect to see Jesus returning on the clouds as the sign of the End. Imagine you quoting the Qor’an!!! Imagine you calling Muslims, “people of the Book!” These are all facts, and admitting them does not make anyone an “Islamophile”. I’ll ask Thomas S. for clarification,but I wonder if Islam, like us, teaches that God deliberately created man as someone who could choose evil if we wanted to. Insofar as they believe in the Genesis narrative that Ezra gave us, I would suppose they do.

                • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                  The Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch has withdrawn ALL Antiochene participation in these canonical Assemblies of Bishops worldwide: it announces:
                  “The Fathers discussed the crisis caused by the election of the Church of Jerusalem an Archbishop on Qatar. They sadly contemplated the persistence of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem’s violation, in spite of all the initiatives and mediations conducted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Government of the Hellenic Republic in order to resolve this crisis in accordance with the ecclesiastical laws and in a peaceful spirit. The Synod Fathers reiterated their desire to give priority to the peaceful solution over other solutions. However, they stressed the need to find a solution to this crisis in no later than two months from today’s date. They delegated His Beatitude, in the event of lack of response from the Church of Jerusalem to the rightful demand of the Church of Antioch to remove the aforementioned violation on its canonical territory, to take all necessary measures including severing of communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Synod also decided to suspend the Church of Antioch’s participation in all the Assemblies of Canonical Orthodox Bishops abroad (in the Diaspora) until the removal of the violation of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

                  • Michael Bauman says

                    I guess we will find out the extent of our bishop’s obedience.

                    • Archpriest John Morris says

                      The Patriarchate of Jerusalem violated the canons by placing a Bishop in Qatar, which is in the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Antioch as proclaimed by Session VII of the Council of Chalcedon in 451

                      The most magnificent and glorious judges said:…The arrangement arrived at through
                      the agreement of the most holy Maximus, the bishop of the city of Antioch, and of the most
                      holy Juvenal, the bishop of Jerusalem, as the attestation of each of them declares, shall remain firm for ever, through our decree and the sentence of the holy synod; to wit, that the most holy bishop Maximus, or rather the most holy church of Antioch, shall have under its own
                      jurisdiction the two Phoenicias and Arabia; but the most holy Juvenal, bishop of Jerusalem,
                      or rather the most holy Church which is under him, shall have under his own power the
                      three Palestines, all imperial pragmatics and letters and penalties being done away according
                      to the bidding of our most sacred and pious prince.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      I hope the Patriarch of Antioch will have better luck with Qatar than the Patriarchs of Moscow have had with the Northern Lands, Estonia, and Finland, invaded illicitly, like Qatar.!

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      The idea of Moscow claiming “illicit invasion” of the “Northern Lands” is a somewhat sweet irony.

                • Michael Bauman says

                  No, the difference in scripture is just one difference. The main difference is the fact that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, the way, the truth and the life. Mohammed was a violent war lord with a twisted sexuality.

                  Islam lies when it purports to 1. Be greater than Christianity and 2. Says its “prophet” is greater than our Lord God and Savior. Since it is impossible to create a belief system without any truth or to totally surpress man’s longing for God, there are those in Islam who follow God to some degree.

                  Islam itself however is a lie. It is a violent mysognistic theocratic system that produces misery as its fruit. There is simply no moral or spiritual equivalent between Christianity and Islam although I have no doubt one could find Muslims who are better men than I.

                  But that does not mean they will gain salvation without Jesus Christ.

                  • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                    That’s right, Michael Baumann! If God wants to save Muhammad and Muhammadans there’s nothing you can do about it. You cannot demand that God only save the right-believing.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      Mr. Bauman states something quite fundamental, that all salvation is through Jesus Christ. Is this not basic to our faith?

                      I don’t see that Mr. Bauman is suggesting, much less making demands, about how that is brought about!

                    • Michael Bauman says

                      “No man comes to the Father except by me”.

                      “Unless you eat of my Body and drink of my Blood, you have no life in you”

                      “You shall have no other Gods except me”.

                      Allah is another God, Mohammed was not Jesus Christ and there is no communion in Islam only submission. The “onlies” of Christianity and Islam cannot be harmonized only puesdo-rationalized for the sake of obsfucation. No less a Father than St. John of Damascus called Islam “the prelude to the anti-Christ”.

                      Yet despite that Jesus finds ways to draw Muslims to Himself. That does not mean there is moral or spiritual equivalence and the attempt to create that equivalence sows confusion and erects road blocks where there should be none.

                      I have always been taught that Orthodox means right worship, right praise predicated on right belief, yet in and of itself, none of that saves. Only union with Christ.

                      Hard to accomplish it seems to me if we first don’t reject Satan and all his works.

                      I don’t demand anything.

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Well, of COURSE all salvation is through Jesus Christ, but YOU and I and other Christians and clergy MAY NOT and CAN NOT prohibit Jesus Christ from saving whomever HE wills. YOU cannot hold God to anything whatsoever. He does whatever He wishes, and I hope you know that.
                      Do you imagine that the Zoroastrian Emperor, Cyrus the Great, whom GOD calls My Christ (MY Anointed), according to OUR Holy Prophet Isaiah, and who returned the Jews to their former country, if they wanted to go there, and rebuild the Jerusalem Temple and pay for it, and who never ever heard of Jesus Christ, is not dwelling in Abraham’s bosom?
                      Michael, “Allah” is the Arabic word for God, and our Arabic, Syrian and other Eastern
                      Christian brethren all address Him as God (“”Allah”) in their Arabic prayers. On the other hand, while Persian has incorporated many Arabic words after the Arabic conquest of the Persian Empire, including the Arabic word ‘Allah,” the common Persian word for ‘God’ remains: “khoda,” not Allah. (Persian has no capital letters) To say Good-bye (or, originally, God be with ye) one says “khoda hafez” or “God protect.” Technically to translate the common Arabic statement of belief as “There is no God but Allah” is viciously inaccurate but traditional anti-Islamic practice.. Their statement of belief sounds to them like this and is: “”There is no God but God and Muhammad is His prophet.”
                      Please, produce the exact reference in the writings of St. John (Mansur) of Damascus for the saying you made up ‘Islam is the prelude to the Anti-Christ,’ remembering that St. John was the Vizier of the Caliph of Baghdad, as was St. John’s father before him. By the way, everyone alive today, including you, is part of the “prelude to the Anti-Christ.”
                      Do not try to place limits on God’s actions. That’s sinful.
                      Muslims do not believe that Muhammad OR Christ is God;however they believe both of them are Holy. They believe that God never begat a son off a young human female and feel it’s pagan to even imagine it. However they believe that God caused the birth of Jesus Christ and all human children. Most of them believe that Jesus Christ was preserved from death on the Cross and taken directly up to Heaven.
                      While Christian missionaries historically, over the centuries, especially monarchs have offered non-Christians the choice to either accept Jesus Christ or die, Islamic missionaries, historically, over the centuries, especially monarchs,have offered non-Muslims the choice to either accept Islam or pay taxes.

                    • @Bauman,

                      Christian clerics are pestered all the time with the question of whether non-Christians can be saved. The great majority of Orthodox clergy refuse to take a hard position on this. One must say, from our point of view it is possible, but we cannot know the answer.

                      As Bp. Tikhon has pointed out, Allah simply means ‘God’ (in the definite singular) in Arabic and Christians pray to Him as well. I have some Arabic Byzantine chant here in front of me with the lyrics! If you say ‘Allah’ is a dæmon, you are actually being heretical. Here is a little philological lesson: Allah is cognate to Elohim, which you know from the OT. However, if you know any Hebrew, you will note that Elohim, unlike Allah, is a grammatical plural (the cognate set is Eloh- and Allah-; -im is a Hebrew plural). I am not suggesting the Book of Genesis was written by pagans but proto-Canaanite religion was polytheistic and singular cognate to Elohim was the creator god. In any case, you should understand that of which you speak.


                      Nobody suggested that Islam can be favourably compared with Christianity or that it is anywhere near the same. The only argument is that you have no basis to single it out for being a particularly heretical and dangerous religion compared to all others, much less for coarse hatred. You certainly have no basis for considering Islam wholesale as Satanic.

                  • None of us here like Islam. We all hold it to be a false religion – repeating this constantly is immaterial. Judaism and Buddhism are also false religions. If we could invent some sort of scale to quantify the falseness of other religions, I do not think Islam would rank terribly high on the list. Then again, maybe we would be better served critiquing ourselves…

                    The fact that Islam is a false religion, one of many in fact, is not justification for your singling it out and disproportionate hatred of it. I would hypothesise that your emotions in this matter are rooted in political culture, that is to say, that a disproportionate focus on Islam is en vogue in certain quarters in order to justify otherwise unjustifiable and self-defeating policies.

                    • Tim R. Mortiss says

                      I don’t think I have ever actually heard Judaism referred to as a “false religion”. I do read its Scriptures rather frequently myself.

                    • @Tim,

                      Yes, contemporary Judaism is a false religion. The Jews were to have received the Messiah and those who continue as Jews consciously reject Him. If you wish to argue it is more true than Islam, this could easily be countered by the fact that Islam holds Christ in higher regard than Judaism. I may also add that Islam is universalist – it is exceedingly easy to join (like evangelical Christianity, you can join with a statement). Most schools of contemporary Orthodox Judaism, however, are race-obsessed. If you are interested in conversion, most sects will take this with varying degrees of hostility, some permitting conversion after 7-10 years, others not at all. With Islam, belief is paramount and with Judaism, bloodlines.

                      So yes, both Islam and Judaism are false. Even if we have the Old Testament (I doubt you read the Talmud…), a religion that can be seen as an extreme-Arian heresy (and also has the OT, for what it matters) could be said to be closer than one that rejects Christ. But I can settle for saying they are both false 🙂

                    • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

                      Thomas S. Relative to your remarks about the plural name (or definition) of
                      God, ‘Elohim”, I note that Persian has incorporated the Arabic word, “Elohe” which it defines as (presumably pagan) “goddess.” Is “Elohim” a masculine plural, a feminine plural or a gender-neutral plural? I know no Semitic language at all.
                      As a fun-loving retired Bishop, I feel I should mention here that the proper names Esther and Mordecai are considered to be Hebrew versions of Ishtar (“Astarte”) and Marduk,respectively.

                    • Your Grace,

                      -i:m is a masculine plural ending in Hebrew. I have only formally studied Arabic and Ugaritic of the Semitic languages, just self-studied Hebrew a bit so maybe someone knows better. As far as I understand, the Biblical stage of Hebrew has already eloah (Arab. ‘ila:h) as the full stem of the singular form of elohim (but rarely used).

                      ‘Elohe’ is the construct form of ‘elohim’ (meaning, it is used in genitive constructions among other things, like Arabic/Persian iDaafah/ezafe…in this case usually: “God of..”).

                      The point is I do would not know whether Farsi ‘elohe’ is taken from ‘eloah’ or a feminine version of ‘allah/ilah/eloah’.

                      Are you seriously suggesting that the Pope created Easter to celebrate Esther rather than Astarte?

  4. cynthia curran says

    Palin wass never serious about overthrowing the US, its Ron Paul who is a member of the Lew Rockwell gang that supports breaking the US into several states or having the south or Texas become an independent country. Bishop Tikhon is right the Palestinian and Iraq Christians didn’t get their support

  5. Please see (orthodox Christian) Terry Mattingly’s column about the Christ of Sinai icon and St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt: “…with potential chaos in Egypt, with the perseccution of Orthodox believers and other religious minorities, many Christians are concerned about the future of the world-famous St. Catherine’s Monastery and the treasures contained inside.”



    Kondradic plead guilty . . .