For the next day or two… I’ll be travelling into the surrounding rural areas (which means no internet access).
For the next day or two… I’ll be travelling into the surrounding rural areas (which means no internet access).
The Society of Biblical Literature Call for Papers (2014) is out.
I see it will be taking place in San Diego, CA.
Cape Town – A 10-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her mother with an air rifle her brother got as a Christmas present, Beeld reported on Friday.
The 45-year-old woman died in a Cape Town hospital on Christmas eve, following the accident in Oude Westhoff, Bellville.
The rifle was a Chrismas present for the girl’s older brother.
Police spokesman Lt-Col Andre Traut told Beeld they were investigating. -Sapa
How on earth can you buy a child an air rifle for Christmas?!
I saw this over at the Rosh Pina Project.
We had mentioned the hijacking of Christmas by anti-Israel activists a number of years ago, this year this bah humbug tradition against Israel continues as the Christmas spirit turns bad toward Israel again, reports Ynet.
The holiday season is traditionally a time for a good cheer, well wishes and fellowship. Season’s greetings, carols and decorations can make even the non-observer smile. Yet, in a new report issued by Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor, “‘Tis The Season 2013: How Anti-Israel NGOs Manipulate Christmas,” a less-cheerful side of the Christmas season is revealed – a pattern of radical non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that exploit the holidays for politicized attacks against Israel.
As shown in the report, these NGOs expropriate traditional Christmas messages and symbols, using offensive, inflammatory, and often blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric in Christmas carols, holiday cards, nativity scenes, verses, and prayers. These mediums are then used to promote anti-Israel themes and support Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) efforts.
Additionally, these groups often encourage boycotts of specific Israeli goods as part of the exploitation of American consumerism during the holiday season. For example, in 2013, Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) is running a campaign to “send a Christmas appeal to the SodaStream 14.” The effort sends letters to the chief executive officers (CEOs) of 14 major companies that sell SodaStream devices, asking them to discontinue sales. Going one step further, at its seventh annual “Anti-Apartheid Holiday Caroling at Leviev’s,” a fringe and marginal group known as Adalah-NY replaced lyrics of traditional holiday songs with lines reminiscent of classical anti-Semitism. Aimed at a New York jewelry store owned by Israeli businessman Lev Leviev, Adalah-NY provides an entire songbook of altered holiday songs for activists to use while protesting. The songs accuse Leviev of (to the tune of “Jingle Bells”) of “Building settlements/ On confiscated lands/ Selling di-amonds/ With blood on his hands.” Carols and gift-giving, usually happy symbols of the holiday spirit, are now transformed into vehicles for the promotion of anti-Semitism and blood libels, polarizing Jewish-Christian relations.
‘Wise Men queuing to enter Bethlehem’ This year, distorted stories, sermons, prayers, and the use of biblical figures, are especially prominent. These messages serve as alternative material for spiritual and educational purposes, making them especially pernicious. Indeed, the abuse of Christmas messages is part of a broad international campaign to introduce political warfare against Israel into churches. As seen in NGO Monitor’s “BDS in the Pews” project, Palestinian Christian NGOs consistently provide the theological and ideological frameworks for these attacks.
For example, in 2009, a group of 13 Palestinian Christian clergy drafted the Kairos Palestine Document. It calls for BDS against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and blames Israel solely for the continuation of the conflict. Its purpose is to rally churches globally to support BDS, delegitimization, and demonization directed at the State of Israel. This year, Kairos Palestine published a 50-page “Christmas 2013″ pamphlet, slated to be used as an educational hub for religious groups and gatherings. The pamphlet exploits traditional Christian sources, using religious figures and biblical stories as part of politicized messages: “Mary understands the right of return for refugees. Standing in the shadow of empire, Mary sees and still bears witness, sings to God the Savior… After 46 years of occupation and denial of all basic rights, can I continue joyfully witnessing and singing like Mary?” or “The Holy Family taking refuge in Egypt away from danger and death brings back memories of Palestinian families who sought a similar refuge in nearby villages and countries like Egypt away from the cruelty and destruction of war in 1948.”
Similarly, and perhaps more common is the use of the current political reality projected onto the stories of the New Testament. For example, UK-based Amos Trust in their annual Bethlehem Pack speculate: “If Jesus was born today in Bethlehem, the Wise Men would spend several hours queuing to enter the town…The shepherds, despite being residents of Bethlehem, would struggle to graze their sheep because their land would be annexed by the building of the separation wall and a lack of freedom to travel and restrictions on trade would make it very difficult for them to make a living.” These statements describe a one-sided version of the current political reality, conspicuously omitting the context of deadly terrorism and other violence against Israelis. Many of the NGOs use the image of the Israeli security barrier, in particular surrounding Bethlehem, in their holiday cards and messages, entirely ignoring the role this structure has played in preventing deadly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
These depictions, messages, and attacks, not only serve to misrepresent a complex political context. They also hijack the messages and warm feelings engendered by Christmas, debasing the very meaning of the holiday.
A scary place to be a Christian. The Tablet:
More than thirty five people have been killed and others wounded in a series of bomb attacks on Christians in Iraq on Christmas Day.
A car bomb, detonated outside St John’s Catholic church in the Dora area of Baghdad, killed at least 26 people and wounded 38 others as they left a Christmas day service, officials said on Wednesday.
Earlier two bombs at a market in the al-Athorien district, a majority Christian area, killed at least 11 people and injured 21 more.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Christians have been victims of escalating violence in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The former Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, and his driver were kidnapped by gunmen on 24 December 2013, but released unharmed later that day after he convinced his captors he had no money to pay a ransom.
Press reports from Nigeria have offered a confused account of the archbishop’s ordeal, variously stating a daughter of the archbishop was also taken, that the archbishop was freed after a gun battle between police and kidnappers, and that the police rescue team was led by the Ogun state governor.
What can be established so far is that at approximately 3:00 pm on the afternoon of Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013, the retired leader of the Anglican Communion’s largest province left the offices of the Peter Akinola Foundation Centre for Youth Industrial Training in Abeokuta, the capital of Western Nigeria’s Ogun State.
Shortly after his driver pulled onto the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a car carrying four gunmen cut off the archbishop’s Toyota Primera and fired pistols into the air. The archbishop and his driver were pulled from the car and then forced to lie face down on the floor of the back seat as one of the kidnappers held them at gunpoint while another took the wheel of the car.
The car was driven west towards Nigeria’s border with Benin while the bandit who held the archbishop at gunpoint demanded a ransom payment for his safe release. Archbishop Akinola told the bandits he was a retired clergyman and could not pay their demands.
The kidnappers stopped in a deserted area near the Benin border and searched the car and the archbishop for money. Frustrated at not finding a hidden stash of cash, the kidnappers then released the archbishop and his driver.
In a Christmas Day interview with the Premium Times, Archbishop Akinola said after the bandits’ fruitless search for hidden valuables , “the gang then asked us to go into different directions into the bush.”
“I took to the right hand side, while my driver took to the left hand side, and we had to use our hands to clear the bush, while the gang later left with the car. I just kept praying for safety,” he said.
The archbishop made his way through the bush to a road where he “saw a police vehicle coming and there were gunshots, and the police team later came to rescue me from the spot.”
The archbishop had high praise for the police and for Governor Ibikunle Amosun. “I have to praise them, and I appreciate the governor who left his work to the bush looking for us. It’s unprecedented for a governor to personally lead a team into the bush. He risked his life and yet he didn’t mind that. I’ am deeply touched and impressed,” he told the Premium Times.
In September 2013 the Dean of the Church of Nigeria and archbishop of the Niger Delta Province, the Most. Rev. Ignatius Kattey and his wife were kidnapped as they were driving their car to Port Harcourt in Southeastern Nigeria. The two were released unharmed as police closed in on their kidnappers also.
In September 2010, the Bishop of Ngbo, the Rt. Rev. Christian Ebisike was stopped at a roadblock as he was driving to Owerri. The next day the bishop was released by his abductors on the Ontisha – Owerri road. It is not known if a ransom was paid.
On 24 Jan 2010 the Rt. Rev. Peter Imasuen, Bishop of Benin was also kidnapped at his home in Benin City, the capital of Edo State in Southern Nigeria.
Bishop Imasuen was abducted by armed gunmen who followed home after Sunday services at St Matthew’s Cathedral. As his car entered the walled compound of his home, bandits forced their way inside, overpowering a watchman. The bishop was bundled into a car by gunmen and driven away. A ransom of £200,000 was demanded, and the bishop was released unharmed four days later.
The Church of Nigeria was quick to report the news of the abduction. Shortly after word of Archbishop Akinola’s kidnapping was received in Abuja, the Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh released a statement urging prayers for the safety of Archbishop. Past kidnappings had been met with silence by the church in the belief that publicity would spur further crimes or harm the captive clerics.
A naked FEMEN protester ruined Christmas mass at the main cathedral in Cologne.
The woman climbed onto the altar and started screaming.
Details and a video here.
Nothing is sacred to these people. Pravda reported:
An activist of FEMEN women’s movement staged a protest action during a Christmas mass in the main cathedral of Cologne, Kolner Dom. The topless girl climbed onto the altar of the cathedral in protest against the Vatican propaganda of criminalization of abortions.
The woman displayed a slogan “I am God” written on her body.
“FEMEN demands Vatican elders and their fanatical followers should stop producing medieval chimera and bring religious dogma in line with the modern world and human rights,” a press release from the movement said.