Obama Faith Adviser, and Ayers’ Friend: American Freedom and Justice are “Myths”

Obama Faith Adviser, and Ayers’ Friend: American Freedom and
Justice are “Myths”

May 5th, 2011

Aaron Klein, WND.com

Obama’s faith adviser, Eboo Patel

President Obama’s faith adviser, Eboo Patel, blasted what he called the
“myths” of America – describing them as beliefs that the country is “a land of
freedom and equality and justice.”

Patel explained how he used the “faith-based movement” to channel his rage at
America “in a direction far more compassionate and far more merciful.”

Patel, a Muslim activist from Chicago, further implied that had he grown up
in the 1960s, he may have joined the Weather Underground terrorist group led by
William Ayers.

Like Obama, Patel is deeply tied to Ayers, WND has learned.

In February 2010, Obama named Patel to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based
and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth
Core, which says it promotes pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on
service projects.

In a 2007
interview with NPR
to promote a book he wrote that year, Patel was asked
about his “affinity” toward the radicalism of Ayers, as described in the
book.

Patel replied that his own life story “is much closer to Bill Ayers,”
explaining he “grew up in the same hometown” that Ayers did.

Continued Patel: “I was kind of taught the same myths about America, a land
of freedom and equality and justice, et cetera, et cetera.”

“And then, when I got to college, I saw people eating out of garbage cans for
dinner, and I saw Vietnam vets drinking mouthwash for the alcohol, and I thought
to myself, this is not the myth that I grew up with. And, in a way, I was so, I
think, immature at that time politically, that all I could do was rage.”

Patel explained how he used religion to channel his rage toward America:

“And it was a faith-based movement that came into my life that kind of
directed that rage in a direction far more compassionate and far more
merciful.”

Obama’s faith adviser went on to say how he may have joined Ayers’ terrorist
group if he was around as an activist in the 1960s.

“One of the things that I write about in this book is, you know, had it been
one of the people involved in the Weather Underground, who were sitting at my
kitchen table when I was 18 years old and raging, my life could have been very
different,” he said.

“That I really thank God that it was a set of people who came into my life
with a very clear vision of justice. But a sense of justice emanating from
Divine Mercy.”

Patel has a much deeper relationship with Ayers than he admitted in the NPR
interview.

In 2005, he co-authored a book with Ayers’ adopted son, Chesa Boudin.

The book, Letters from Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out,
was co-written by several young radicals, including Ismail Khalidi, the son of
Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi.

Religious Rally Against Israel

Religious Rally Against Israel

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On June 11, 2010 @ 12:19 am In FrontPage | 18 Comments

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) tries to organize American religious opinion against Israel with relatively measured tones.  Its participants predictably include officials from the left-dominated Mainline Protestant denominations, liberal Catholic orders, and the Greek Archdiocese of North America, as well as the Antiochian Orthodox Church in the U.S.  Its official “friends” include more overtly anti-Israel diehards like Friends of Sabeel – North America, which essentially wants to dissolve Jewish Israel in favor of a multi-ethnic “Palestine.”   Various advocates of anti-Israel divestment, an otherwise largely defeated cause, are also “friends” to CEMP, including the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and the Methodist Federation for Social Action.

The star of CMEP’s annual “advocacy” conference in Washington, D.C. starting June 13 will be Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.  Comfortably liberal Episcopal refinement is exactly the sort of tone that CMEP often prefers to mask its more provocative agenda.  Bishop Schori is enmeshed in the melt-down of her own denomination, including lawsuits against departing local congregations, and its schism with the more theologically orthodox global Anglican Communion.  But denouncing Israel still merits her attention.

Last week, she wrote President Obama a relatively long, substantive and, by Religious left standards, temperate denunciation of Israel’s interception of the Gaza-bound flotilla. But the bias and preoccupation with Israeli sins, perceived or real, are still obvious, even if cloaked in Episcopalian politesse.  Admitting all the details of the flotilla event are still unclear, she still insisted:   “It is clear, however, that the deaths of civilians working to deliver humanitarian aid could not have happened absent the counterproductive Israeli blockade of Gaza.”  Ostensibly there are “far better ways to protect Israel’s security and promote moderate political leadership in Gaza than a blockade that intensifies human suffering and perpetuates regional insecurity.”

What are the alternatives to counteracting Hamas rule in Gaza short of a partial blockade against it?  Like most Israel critics, Bishop Schori does not say.  And as with other professions of supposed concern about Israel’s “security,” Bishop Schori and other clerics who publicly pontificate about the Middle East almost never offer substitute proposals for whatever Israeli defenses they reject.  The security wall is supposedly an outrage, but what else will impede suicide bombers?  Israel’s continued security oversight of the West Bank is purportedly oppresses the Palestinians.  But since most Palestinians still seem to reject a Palestinian state existing peacefully alongside a Jewish Israel, what are the other options?  Religious and secular complainants insist that removal of Jewish settlements from the West Bank is prerequisite for peace.  But the abrupt closure of all Jewish settlements in Gaza hardly generated good will and instead seemed only to stimulate appetite for more Israeli concessions.  Browbeating Israel into endless accommodations that only feed an inexhaustible expectation by Palestinians for further Israeli retreat and eventual Arab/Islamist triumph seems to be the Religious Left’s main strategy for Middle East “peace.”

“Instead of enhancing Israel’s security, the blockade has harmed its international standing and imposed an inexcusable humanitarian toll on the people of Gaza,” Bishop Schori insisted in her letter to Obama.  ”While Israel has allowed a very limited amount of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, the restriction on basic goods for agriculture, fishing, and infrastructure construction has caused poverty and joblessness to soar.”  This may be true, but why is Israel exclusively at fault for Gaza’s suffering?  How was Gaza faring before to the blockade, and under the rule of the Palestinian Authority?  What evidence is there for Palestinian leadership genuinely interested in responsible governance rather than indefinite conflict?

Bishop Schori provided details about the number of trucks with supplies entering Gaza per day. The concern is partly admirable, if sincere.  But why is a U.S. Episcopal Bishop obsessed with living standards for Gaza, or the Palestinians, when hundreds of millions globally live in far greater poverty?  Would Palestinian GNP, in Gaza or the West Bank, interest liberal U.S. bishops at all, absent Israel as the targeted culprit?  How many anti-Western dictators have blockaded or literally starved hostile populations much larger than Gaza, without a murmur from Bishop Schori or the Religious Left?

Rather than tacitly backing an ill-advised blockade, the U.S. should work with its ally, Israel, to promote constructive new policies toward Gaza that serve the aims of peace and security,” Bishop Schori lectured.  The former oceanographer and teacher wants “continued efforts to halt violence, and credible long-term strategies to support Palestinian leaders who are actively working for peace,” while also drawing “support and legitimacy from across Palestinian society.”  She suggests “political reconciliation so that a future Palestinian government can draw strength both from its internal support and from its external actions on behalf of peace.”  How does the Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop, unable to reconcile the divisions within her own denomination of tea sippers and Volvo drivers, propose to reconcile Hamas with other Palestinians, much less Israel?

For Schori, the goals for the Middle East are simple.  The Episcopal Church has “repeatedly” supported a “secure Israel with defined borders, whose right to exist is universally recognized; a sovereign, independent and secure state for the Palestinian people; and shared custody and protection of the holy sites in Jerusalem held sacred by the three great Abrahamic faiths.”  This rhetoric appeals to Episcopalians snugly secure in their New England hamlets.  But how many Palestinians, even outside Hamas, share this vision?

Schori instructed Obama to shift our nation’s posture” towards “lifting the blockade,” while also “robustly” encouraging “long-term peace.”  She also expects “direct negotiation between the parties,” i.e. apparent recognition for Hamas.  How will abandoning the Gaza blockade and recognizing Hamas, which would surely inflate that Islamist group’s prestige and ambitions, advance peace?   In the rarified and often beautiful world of Episcopal liturgy, noblesse oblige, gothic spires, and ancient endowments, simply demanding “long-term peace’ may seem quite attainable over a lunch at the country club.  In the real world of guns, power, and even more ancient hatreds, appeasement often only breeds greater conflict.

Bishop Schori’s pleas to appease Hamas were relatively more thoughtful than other Religious Left voices.  United Methodist lobbyist Jim Winkler histrionically bewailed Israel’s “high-seas piracy” against the “Freedom Flotilla.”  But her appeal to Obama, and her likely commentary to Churches for Middle East Peace later this week, are just as feckless, and, if heeded, just as dangerous.

Casting the First Stone

Casting the First Stone

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On June 4, 2010 @ 12:20 am In FrontPage | 30 Comments

The Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) has yet really to condemn the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia 35 years ago.  Or the Marxist orchestrated famine in Ethiopia that killed almost as many during the 1980’s.  It never directly condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  Saddam Hussein’s hundreds of thousands of murdered victims also failed to arouse the WCC’s concern across 25 years. Nor has the multitude of crimes by Iran’s theocracy across 30 years interested the WCC.  North Korea’s slave state for the WCC is a place of pilgrimage but not criticism.  Even North Korea’s recent unprovoked torpedoing of a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors three months ago, has not caused the WCC to peep.

But the WCC needed less than 24 hours to condemn Israel’s “deplorable” interception of a “peace” flotilla trying to bust the blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.  The 9 anti-Israel “peace” activists killed after the Israelis were resisted with metal poles and other weapons, were apparently more sacred to the WCC than the millions of victims slain by communism, Islamists and other anti-Western tyrannies over the last 4 decades.

“It is with great distress that the World Council of Churches received the news that the Israeli naval forces stormed a Gaza-bound vessel carrying humanitarian aid in international waters before dawn on Monday, killing at least 10 civilians and injuring many more,” immediately bemoaned WCC chief Olav Fykse Tveit.  A Norwegian Lutheran theologian, Tveit seems steadfastly committed to the WCC tradition of bashing only Israel and America.  ”We condemn the assault and killing of innocent people who were attempting to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza, who have been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.”

Why has Gaza been blockaded by Israel, and, though unmentioned by the WCC, also by Egypt?  Could its rocket-firing Hamas regime be part of the explanation?  The WCC is not interested in such details. “We further condemn the flagrant violation of international law by Israel in attacking and boarding a humanitarian convoy in international waters,” Tveit continued.  ”We pray for all those who are affected by the attack, especially the bereaved families.”

Tveit demanded Israel repatriate all of the flotilla’s activists, release the impounded ships and, naturally, end the blockade of Gaza.  He also wants a “full” United Nations investigation into Israel’s “assault.”  For that, Tveit almost certainly will get his wish.  He concluded:  ”The deplorable events which occurred yesterday off the coast of Gaza remind us yet again of the pressing need for an end to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories.” But of course, Gaza is not Israeli occupied.  It is governed by its Islamist “liberators,” Hamas.  And most of the West Bank is governed by the Palestinian Authority.  It’s never entirely clear what the Religious Left means by “occupation.”  But certainly it ignores the considerable problems created by Gaza’s and most of the West Bank’s ostensible liberation from direct Israeli control.

The WCC’s major U.S. member, the Presbyterian Church USA, also chimed in quickly over the Gaza flotilla in slightly more measured tones.  ”A severe blockade of Gaza by Israel in response to the free election of Hamas representatives in 2006 and the military incursions of Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009 have dramatically increased the already acute humanitarian need,” surmised the church’s Stated Clerk, Gradye Parsons. “We grieve the killing and injuring of participants in the humanitarian effort, as well as the injuring of members of the Israeli military forces that occurred when the Israeli forces stormed one of the ships and those on board resisted.”

Parsons noted that the Presbyterian tradition is “not strictly pacifist,” which is surely an understatement, but “honors peaceful resistance, including nonviolent disobedience to unjust government policies and actions.”  He opined that the flotilla could have been a “powerful” instrument for peaceful resistance.  And he warned,  ”These actions sometimes incite violent responses,” but the “long-term success of this kind of resistance requires a nonviolent response on the part of the demonstrators, even when they are under attack.”  Parsons sounds like a Presbyterian Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem-based Sabeel, a center for Palestinian Liberation Theology with Western affiliates, including Friend of Sabeel – North America, has quickly issued a prayer litany of solidarity with the failed Gaza flotilla.  ”The Israeli attack on the Gaza Flotilla resulted in numerous deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of arrests,” Sabeel bewailed.  ”Almighty God, comfort the bereaved, heal the injured, and grant freedom to the prisoners. We pray that you will strengthen each of us to do what is necessary to end the siege on Gaza. Help us to recognize and to fight the structures of oppression, wherever we may encounter them.”

Do these “structures of oppression” include the Hamas regime in Gaza, or its chief patrons, the Islamist theocrats who tyrannize Iran?  If so, Religious Left groups in the West, who are Sabeel’s main patrons, will not say so audibly.  Maybe the WCC is praying quietly, very quietly, for Hamas’s victims.  These silent prayers are perhaps similar to the inaudible prayers that the WCC and rest of the international Religious Left may have lifted up for so many otherwise unacknowledged victims of tyranny and oppression over the last 40 years. Apparently only Israel’s and America’s victims can benefit from the Religious Left’s very loud prayers.

Bashing Arizona Immigration Law Supporters

Bashing Arizona Immigration Law Supporters

Posted By Mark D. Tooley On May 3, 2010 @ 12:04 am In FrontPage | No Comments

The Religious Left has discerned that Christianity and Judaism demand virtually open borders by the United States, if not by other nations.  So naturally, many liberal church elites have quickly and angrily lashed out at Arizona’s new immigration law, ascribing to its backers the contempt that much of the Religious Left seems itself to have for many average Americans.

Arizona’s Episcopal Bishop Kirk Smith huffily declared:  “Today is a sad day in the struggle to see all God’s people treated in a humane and compassionate manner.”  And he tut-tutted:  “It seems that for now the advocates of fear and hatred have won over those of charity and love. Arizona claims to be a Golden Rule State. We have not lived up to that claim.”

It’s doubtful that the Episcopal Church in Arizona has been very successful in broadening it’s WASPy flock to include many immigrants.  Still, Bishop Kirk presumes to be their spokesman and moral leader on behalf of the Golden Rule:  “We will continue to work as hard as we can to defeat this law and to work toward just and fair laws that protect the rights of all human beings. We all know that our immigration system is broken, but it cannot be fixed by scape-goating the most vulnerable of those among us.”

Not content to defer to the local bishop, the Episcopal Church’s lobby office in Washington, D.C. also irritably chimed in against the Arizona law, bemoaning that the “lack of fair and humane immigration reform opens the door to misguided and divisive state and local attempts to address immigration enforcement.”  Of course, the Episcopal lobbyists want a national amnesty that would override state attempts at immigration enforcement:   “We urge Congress to provide a solution to a broken immigration system that separates families, spreads fear and keeps millions living in the shadows. Every day, members of our congregations see the unacceptable consequences of our broken immigration system.  We urge the Senate and House to enact bipartisan immigration reform that reunites families, protects the rights of all workers, and provides an opportunity for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status.”

Of course, like the rest of the Religious Left, the Episcopal lobbyists simplistically portray their open borders policy as “Christians…[who] are called to embrace the stranger and to find Christ in all who come to us in need.”  And like the Religious Left, they assume that solutions to vast social problems can be solved by sweeping legislation.  “With strong leadership in Congress, we are confident we can solve the broken immigration system.  We encourage members of Congress to join faith leaders to stand up for immigration policies that renew the dignity and human rights of everyone.”

But what if the open borders and amnesty that the Religious Left typically advocates in fact do not “renew the dignity and human rights of everyone” and instead only create more social disruption whose chief victims are ultimately low income native born and immigrants who lack the economic privileges of most Religious Left elites, especially Episcopalians?  In typical fashion, the Religious Left does not ponder unintended consequences and instead assumes that good intentions and political correctness are sufficient.

Evangelical Left Sojourners chief Jim Wallis wants evangelicals to follow the old Religious Left in distilling the Gospel down to the Left’s latest political demands and prejudices. “The law … is a social and racial sin, and should be denounced as such by people of faith and conscience across the nation,” Wallis intoned. “It is not just about Arizona, but about all of us, and about what kind of country we want to be. It is not only mean-spirited — it will be ineffective and will only serve to further divide communities in Arizona, making everyone more fearful and less safe.”

Arizona’s new crack down on illegal immigration may or may not have faults, but will it make lawful Arizonans “less safe?  Security and effective law enforcement are not typical strong emphases for Wallis or the Religious Left generally.  Instead, they often prefer name calling and charges of bigotry. “This legislation feels reactionary and hateful,” claims Church World Service chief John McCullough, who heads the National Council of Churches’ relief arm.  “It is a clear representation of the politics of division and exclusion.”

Even more hyperbolic was National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference chief Samuel Rodriguez, who has also successfully pressed the National Association of Evangelicals to adopt a liberalized immigration agenda.  “Today, Arizona stands as the state with the most xenophobic and nativist laws in the country,” he pronounced, almost as a curse.  “We need a multi-ethnic firewall against the extremists in our nation who desire to separate us rather than bring us together. Shame on you Arizona Republicans and shame on you Senator John McCain for endorsing the legislation.”

Rodriguez claims to represent virtually all Hispanic evangelicals, and naïve Anglo evangelical churchmen obligingly accept his claims, not considering that many Hispanic and other legal immigrants also have concerns about law enforcement, security, and open borders’ impact on their own ability to advance economically.  Instead, the Religious and Evangelical Left idealize immigration as merely a bumper sticker social justice issue dividing forces of light from bigoted forces of darkness.   Contrary to their claims, the Almighty has not directly revealed His preferences for U.S. immigration policy.  But traditional Christian and Jewish moral teachings about human nature and statecraft offer better guidance than the slapdash pseudo-thinking of the Arizona law’s seething religious critics.

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