Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

The Hamas-Israel conflict and “disproportionate use of force”

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel

There is no moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel

Dina tweeted this editorial in the radically leftist UK Guardian, of all places.

Excerpt:

Hamas’s charter includes the aspiration that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”. While many concentrate on its death-cult worship, its bloodthirsty killing of adversaries, or its contempt for women, Christians and homosexuals, it is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. This is the primary reason why Hamas, the governing regime in Gaza, will never recognise or accept a peace accord with Israel in any form.

Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, thousands of rockets have rained down on Israeli cities and towns in deliberate contravention not just of international law, but all humanity and morality.

[...]Every rocket from Gaza is a double war crime. First, the rockets are aimed at civilians; second, they are fired from built-up civilian areas, often close to schools, mosques and hospitals. And about 10% of Hamas rockets fired from Gaza don’t reach Israel, exploding in Gaza. Mohammed Sadallah – a four-year-old killed on Saturday, his body displayed in a press conference with Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader – was, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, most likely killed by an errant Hamas rocket.

Hamas leaders frequently declare that their people actively seek death. Fathi Hamad, a senior member of Hamas, stated in 2008 that “for the Palestinian people, death became an industry, at which women and children excel. Accordingly we created a human shield of women, children and elderly. We seek death as you [Israelis] desire life.”

[...]Israel has successfully targeted in excess of 1,300 weapons caches, rocket launchers and other elements of Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure. Yet despite this, the number of Palestinian casualties remains around one for every 13 strikes, the majority killed being active members of Hamas and combatants.

There is no moral equivalence here – one side is good and the other side is evil. It’s a black and white issue.

When I was in graduate school, I was partnered up with an exchange student from Egypt. She said that Israelis were terrorists because they killed civilians while using force. I told her that terrorism is the intentional targeting of civilians for attacks rather than military targets. Therefore, Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorists, and Israel is not. Israel uses arms in self-defense, and they try to minimize civilian casualties by giving warnings of strikes. Islamic groups intentionally target civilians – schools and hospitals. The Islamic groups are terrorists and the IDF is acting in self-defense against unprovoked rocket attacks.

If Islamic terrorists laid down their arms, then tomorrow there would be peace. But if Israeli Defense Forces laid down their arms, then tomorrow, Israel would be destroyed, and every Jew in it. That is why the IDF has to do what the IDF has to do. And this time, I hope that they don’t use half-measures to stop the flow of rockets into Israel. They must use the appropriate force necessary to stop the rocket attacks.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Haitian man who could not be deported kills three people in Florida

From the Miami Herald.

Excerpt:

When burglar Kesler Dufrene became a twice-convicted felon in 2006, a Bradenton judge shipped him to prison for five years. And because of his convictions, an immigration judge ordered Dufrene deported to his native Haiti.

That never happened.

Instead, when Dufrene’s state prison term was up, Miami immigration authorities in October 2010 released him from custody. Two months later, North Miami police say, he slaughtered three people, including a 15-year-old girl in a murder case that remains as baffling today as it did the afternoon the bodies were discovered.

DNA on a rifle found inside the house and cellphone tracking technology later linked Dufrene to the Jan. 2, 2011, slayings.

But North Miami detectives never got to interrogate him. Just 18 days after the murders, Dufrene shot and killed himself when he was cornered by Manatee County sheriff’s deputies in Bradenton after an unrelated break-in and shooting there.

The episode is a black eye for U.S. authorities, who by law could not detain Dufrene indefinitely after the Obama administration ordered a temporary halt of deportations to the island nation. 

[...]The failure to deport Dufrene infuriates the victims’ family members. “This guy shouldn’t have been in America,” said Audrey Hansack, 37, who moved back to her native Nicaragua after the murder of her daughter Ashley Chow. “I’m so upset with the whole situation. Because of immigration, my daughter is not alive.”

Just to be clear, the policy of the Obama administration is a backdoor amnesty.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration is taking steps to grant what amounts to amnesty to as many as 300,000 illegal aliens.

In a recent announcement on a sleepy August Friday in Washington, D.C., the Department of Homeland Security directed immigration enforcement officials to start dropping cases against as many deportable alien lawbreakers as possible.

The administration is clearing out removal cases wholesale.  Despite insisting that it will give them case-by-case treatment, an interagency committee is charged with finding all the cases it can to grant relief.

This backdoor amnesty broadens and encourages use of “prosecutorial discretion” on behalf of foreigners who face removal orders.  Not only will potentially thousands of illegals be allowed to remain in the United States, but the administration has also confirmed that those aliens can obtain work permits.

Democrats are soft on crime, and they favor amnesty for illegal immigrants. And this is the result of their views. Three dead people in Florida.

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Ground Zero: Why truth matters for preventing another 9/11-style attack

Philosopher Michael J. Murray wrote an interesting research paper that I think is relevant to the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center by Islamic terrorists. The title of the paper is “Who’s Afraid of Religion?”, and he begins by discussing why it is that people are so hesitant to talk about religion.

He writes:

…we would be perfectly happy to have a discussion of claims like…”Mahayana Buddhism emerged in the first century BCE with the appearance of the Mahayana sutras.” … It is OK to speak of religion… as a historical phenomenon or a socio-cultural influence. It is something altogether different to discuss religious commitments that one owns. That is the sort of religion that troubles us.

And:

…think about the last time you heard a devoutly religious person argue, on explicitly religious grounds, that gay marriage should be banned, or that intelligent design should be taught in the public school biology curriculum, or that abortion is murder and thus should be outlawed.

Why are religious commitments difficult to discuss? Well, I think most people think that religious convictions, no matter what the religion, are not rooted in logic or evidence. That’s the perception of religion that many people have. Even religious people have this idea that religion, no matter which religion it is, is not really something that people have arrived at by a careful process of investigation and study. Many people believe that religions are just stories that religious people grow up with and they “believe” those stories in order to get along with the families or their cultures.

The problem is that people often act in public on the basis of these religious convictions. Sometimes, they just vote in laws and policies that we all have to live by. But other times, they take over airplanes loaded with innocent people and fly them into buildings. What are we supposed to do when people act on convictions that are not rooted in logic or evidence? How should we respond to that?

So what’s the answer?

In his paper, Murray  argues that the evil actions of people acting on religion can be opposed by falsifying the underlying religion using reason and evidence. He points out that refuting of a religion is possible because religions all make testable claims. So, if we are afraid of the excesses of a dangerous religion, they we should argue that its testable claims are false.There is no reason to be afraid of expressions of religious belief when you are free to argue against the testable truth claims of that religion

Here are just a couple different claims made by different religions that can be opposed using widely-accepted facts:

  • Hinduism is committed to an eternally oscillating model of the universe, but this model has been falsified by the measurements from 1998 that showed that the mass-density of the universe was not sufficient to halt the expansion of the universe. That means the universe will expand forever, and there are no cycles of creation and destruction, as required by Hinduism.
  • According to the Secular Humanist Manifesto, atheism is committed to an eternally existing universe, (See the first item: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”). If something non-material brought all existing matter into being, that would be a supernatural cause, and atheists deny that anything supernatural exists. However,  eternal models of the universe have been falsified by the Big Bang cosmology, which requires that all the matter in the universe come into being out of nothing. The Big Bang has been confirmed by experimental evidence such as redshift measurements, light element abundances and the cosmic microwave background radiation.

So it’s quite easy to argue against an entire world religions like Hinduism and Atheism simply by using universally accepted facts.

How is it relevant to the 9/11 tragedy?

On the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, it might be a good idea for us to consider whether there is any similar evidence, accepted by virtually everyone, that falsifies Islam – the religion that motivated the 9/11 terrorists.

And it turns out that there is. The Islamic Scriptures contain the following verse that Muslims must accept in order to be Muslims.

Surah 4:157 from Quran.com:

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

They think that Jesus didn’t actually die – that he was never crucified by the Romans.

Now the interesting thing about this is that there is no non-Muslim historian who believes that Surah 4:157 is true. The crucifixion of Jesus is a fact that is acknowledged by atheist historians, Jewish historians, Christian historians, Buddhist historians, Hindu historians, and every other non-Muslim historian who has ever existed. There is not one shred of evidence that the Quran’s view, which is recorded hundreds of years after the death of Jesus, should supercede the attestation of Jesus’ death found in earlier Christian and non-Christian sources.

Eminent secular scholar E.P. Sanders of Duke University lists the facts about Jesus that the broad consensus of historians consider to be almost indisputable.

In his book, “Jesus and Judaism” (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985)., he lists the following almost indisputable facts about Jesus on p. 11:

1. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

2. Jesus was a Galilean who preached and healed.

3. Jesus called disciples and spoke of there being twelve.

4. Jesus confined his activity to Israel.

5. Jesus engaged in a controversy about the temple.

6. Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem by the Roman authorities.

7. After his death Jesus’ followers continued as an identifiable movement.

8. At least some Jews persecuted at least parts of the new movement . . . .

That book won the annual Grawemeyer Award in 1990 – a prize given to the best book in religion published that year.

The death of Jesus is corroborated in every source inside the Bible and outside the Bible, up until the Quran is written about 600 years after the death/non-death is supposed to have taken place.

Watch it disputed in debates

The best way to assess this testable claim made by Islam is by seeing how well Muslim scholars can defend this claim in formal, academic debates with non-Muslim scholars.

Here is a debate on the question “Was Jesus crucified?”:

And here’s a debate on the resurrection of Jesus featuring a Muslim scholar, which has a substantial discussion of the crucifixion:

So it turns out that there is a way for us to make sure that another terrorist attack like 9/11 never happens, quite apart from national security or foreign policy concerns. And the way that we do that is by arguing against religions and ideologies like Islam that can cause harm, using logic and evidence. There is no reason to treat religious ideologies- and non-religious ideologies – as being somehow above inquiry and investigation.

Related posts

Apologetics Bloggers Alliance collaboration for the tenth anniversary of 9/11:

Links not yet available:

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Why the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) should be rewritten

Phyllis Schlafly explains. (H/T Ruth Blog)

Excerpt:

Ignoring the mountain of evidence that women initiate physical violence nearly as often as men, VAWA has more than 60 passages in its lengthy text that exclude men from its benefits. For starters, the law’s title should be changed to Partner Violence Reduction Act, and the words “and men” should be added to those 60 sections.

The law should be rewritten to deal with the tremendous problem of false accusations so that its priority can be to help real victims. A Centers for Disease Control survey found that half of all partner violence was mutual, and 282 scholarly studies reported that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men.

Currently used definitions of domestic violence that are unacceptably trivial include calling your partner a naughty word, raising your voice, causing “annoyance” or “emotional distress,” or just not doing what your partner wants. The law’s revision should use an accurate definition of domestic violence that includes violence, such as: “any act or threatened act of violence, including any forceful detention of an individual, which results or threatens to result in physical injury.”

Women who make domestic violence accusations are not required to produce evidence and are never prosecuted for perjury if they lie. Accused men are not accorded fundamental protections of due process, not considered innocent until proven guilty, and in many cases, are not afforded the right to confront their accusers.

Legal assistance is customarily provided to women but not to men. Men ought to be entitled to equal protection of the law because many charges are felonies and could result in prison and loss of money, job, and reputation.

Feminist recipients of VAWA handouts lobby legislators, judges and prosecutors on the taxpayers’ dime (which is contrary toSection 1913 of Title 18, U.S. Code), and the results are generally harmful to all concerned. This lobbying has resulted in laws calling for mandatory arrest (i.e., the police must arrest someone; guess who), of the predominant aggressor (i.e., ignore the facts and assume the man is the aggressor), and no-drop prosecution (i.e., prosecute the man even if the woman has withdrawn her accusation or refuses to testify).

I think this is something that most people never even think about. But we could agree that violence against women is terrible, but still not endorse the feminist-inspired VAWA law as the solution to the problem.

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Is lenience towards women increasing domestic violence against men?

First of all, let’s see what’s happening with domestic violence rates.

Excerpt:

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

The 2008-09 bulletin states: “More than one in four women (28%) and around one in six men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims.”

In addition, “6% of women and 4% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the past year, equivalent to an estimated one million female victims of domestic abuse and 600,000 male victims”.

Here’s a typical case: (from the same article)

Ian McNicholl, 47, has painful memories to remind him of the terror he endured when he found himself a male victim of domestic violence.

His then fiancee, Michelle Williamson, punched him in the face several times, stubbed out cigarettes on his body, lashed him with a vacuum cleaner tube, hit him with a metal bar and a hammer and even poured boiling water on to his lap. That at 6ft he was almost a foot taller than her made no difference. He still has burn marks on his left shoulder from when she used steam from an iron on him. Williamson, 35, is now serving a seven-year jail sentence for causing both actual and grievous bodily harm.

During the trial last year McNicholl told the court that, during more than a year of attacks and intimidation, he had lost his job, home and self-respect. He had been too scared to go to the police and had considered suicide. She was only arrested after two neighbours saw her punch him.

Sentencing her at Grimsby crown court last year, judge John Reddihough told Williamson: “Over the period of time you were with him you destroyed him mentally and seriously harmed him physically, leaving him with both physical and mental scars.”

Why is this happening? Well, even women who seem to be nice on the surface can turn violent when they placed under stress (like from work or pregnancy or their periods) that they are not prepared for, and when they perceive that there is no cost to becoming violent with a man. This is especially problematic when the man has no leverage in the relationship to negotiate with because of anti-male bias in social programs, police and courts. How is a man supposed to negotiate with someone who holds all the cards? She can just do whatever she wants, and the whole system is rigged against him.

Look at this news story.

Excerpt:

Judges have been told to treat female criminals more leniently than men when deciding sentences.

New guidelines declare that women suffer disadvantages and courts should ‘bear these matters in mind’.

The rules say women criminals often have poor mental health or are poorly educated, have not committed violence and have children to look after.

‘Women’s experiences as victims, witnesses and offenders are in many respects different to those of men,’ according to the Equal Treatment Bench Book.

‘These differences highlight the importance of the need for sentencers to bear these matters in mind when sentencing.’

The controversial advice comes from the Judicial Studies Board, which is responsible for training the judiciary.

[...]The Bench Book tells judges that the problem ‘consists mainly of violence by men against women’. It adds ‘the reality is that some of the most physically violent incidents are committed by men on female partners’.

The document also suggests that aggression against men by women is rare, saying that ‘men and partners in same-sex relationships might also be victims of domestic violence’.

[...]Updated guidance on how to sentence female criminals was distributed in April in a new section on ‘gender equality’.

It told judges: ‘Women remain disadvantaged in many public and private areas of their life; they are under-represented in the judiciary, Parliament and senior positions
across a range of jobs; and there is still a substantial pay gap between men and women.’

On women accused of crime, the guidance quoted Judge Baroness Hale, the only woman among the 11 at the Supreme Court, who describes herself as a ‘soft-line feminist’.

She said: ‘It is now well recognised that a misplaced conception of equality has resulted in some very unequal treatment for women and girls.’

The rules were prepared by a team headed by High Court judge Dame Laura Cox.

She wrote: ‘It is hardly revolutionary that judges should know of the matters central to the lives of those who attend courts and to aim to provide judges with that knowledge.’

And you can can easily see this in the divorce courts of Western nations where men are regularly taken to the cleaners. (Women get custody 90% of the time, 70% of all divorces are initiated by women, with 80% of them for no other reason than insufficient happiness – despite the fact that they made a vow to love that man forever). When you total up the costs of the marital home and property, alimony and child support, it really is prohibitive. The risks are too high!

And in more extreme cases you get things like this case.

Excerpt:

Three Missouri women convicted of murdering their husbands years ago learned today that they will be released from prison on parole because of claims of spousal abuse.

Vicky Williams, 55, and Roberta Carlene Borden, 65, will be released on Oct. 15, according to their lawyers and relatives. Ruby Jamerson, 57, will be released in 2013. All were serving life sentences from cases that date to the 1970s or 1980s.

[...]Borden was convicted in 1978 of conspiring with her lover to shoot her husband, Delbert, as he lounged in a chair in his Springfield, Mo., home. Jamerson was accused of hiring two teen boys in 1988 to stab her husband, Horace, to death in their north St. Louis County home. Williams was convicted of hiring someone to shoot her husband, Gilbert Lee, as he made his rounds as a security guard in a Chesterfield industrial park in 1979.

Lawyers for the three women later claimed that they had suffered years of mental and physical abuse, including vicious beatings. (See the attached link for more details on the cases.)

Many relatives of the slain spouses have disputed the claims of abuse and argued that the women were only conning their way to freedom.

The problem is that these charges of abuse are used regularly in divorce courts to tilt the table against the man – the charges of abuse are used to get custody of the children, but they never go to trial. The warrants for restraining orders are sworn out before the charges of abuse can be investigated, and custody rights are granted. Later on, the charges are dropped. But the damage has already been done – the woman has already been granted sole custody. Similarly, there is not history of abuse in many battered wife cases – the lawyers make them up after the fact to get their clients released. Sometimes, after only a few months in jail for murdering their husbands! And they get custody of their children after a few more months. Or sometimes women just take men to court to have their daughters groundings overturned. And the courts do it.

Men understand these things, and it causes them to stay clear of relationships with women that are regulated by the state. So, you may get a lot of men hooking up with women for sex, but men will not marry women and take the chance of coming under the authority of judges who think that women are always victims and should never be blamed or held accountable – even if they make false rape accusations or kill their husbands (that they freely chose to marry!). Some women believe that violence against men is justified because they have been indoctrinated to perceive themselves as victims. The victim attitude allows them to blame men for invented wrongs even when women themselves are the aggressors. And this is why men don’t commit to marriage anymore. It’s not cowardice. It’s that women have priced themselves out of the commitment market.

Related posts

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