How Many Holocausts?





Photo credit: TFP Student Action (Creative Commons)

FRONT ROYAL, VA — On January 22nd, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators will take part in the forty-first annual March for Life in Washington. They will be dutifully ignored by Big Media (well, the Post might send an intern), but it’s clear that the City of Man wishes they would go away.

They won’t. And while their very presence might be offensive, their message often offends even more, especially when the Thought Police get involved.

Pro-lifers often refer to the hundreds of millions of unborn children killed by abortion worldwide as “the Holocaust of the Unborn,” or simply “the Abortion Holocaust.”

This introduces into the public square a battle over language, anthropology, and history.

Consider: the motto of the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s “Comprehensive Campaign” is “Never Again.”

The pro-lifers marching to end the Abortion Holocaust most certainly agree with that sentiment, but others assert that they are trespassing on private property.

Opponents of abortion must find another term, they insist. The only “Holocaust” was the death of six million Jews in Hitler’s death camps. That historical reality is unique.

Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, sets the stage. After the death of New York Cardinal John O’Connor on 2000, Mr. Foxman talked to the New York Observer about his relationship with Cardinal O’Connor: “That was a relationship that took a while,” said Mr. Foxman. “When Cardinal O’Connor first came, he compared abortion to the Holocaust. But, you know, he learned.”

Having observed Cardinal O’Connor in action over the years, the Rubble is not so sure.

Nonetheless, Mr. Foxman is not alone: Earlier this month, the Israeli Knesset gave preliminary approval to a bill banning the use of “Holocaust symbols” if they were not used for “educational or historic purposes.”

The bill’s supporters are evidently spurred by what they perceive as a “rise in anti-Semitism” around the world.

In reporting the story, the New York Times wryly notes that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other politicians routinely invoke the Holocaust in warning against the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Some are apparently permitted to employ the term, while others are not.

Are We All Guilty?

When Pope John Paul II in 1998 canonized Edith Stein, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who died at Auschwitz in 1942, Mr. Foxman complained to the Times, “It’s an unnecessary and painful act. It’s another step towards Christianizing or universalizing the Holocaust. By saying everybody was a victim, it’s a way of saying the church had no role or responsibility.”

Responsibility?

Yes indeed. The allegation of Catholic responsibility for Hitler’s death camps has circulated for years, especially in anti-Catholic circles.

Countless books and articles routinely blame popes,”Christian” Nazis, and the allegedly complicit Catholic Church for the crimes that have no equal.

The notion of Christian guilt is so thoroughly bound up in that version of the Holocaust that to question it is forbidden.

In fact, complaining about collective guilt is not enough. Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israeli office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, once insisted that “a public pronouncement of an acknowledgment of guilt by Christians is important, but it’s equally important to combine such declarations with active work in education to demonstrate feelings of remorse.”

Here, the Holocaust emerges both as a cherished proprietary symbol and a theory of history. So the defense of the term is intrinsically bound up with a scathing offensive against those who would purloin it.

Christ As The Perfect Holocaust

Catholics need not plead guilty to Mr. Foxman’s charge.

Those pro-life marchers – among whom there are many Jews – believe that commemorating the murder of fifty million helpless unborn innocents in America in no way diminishes the suffering or the dignity of six million innocent Jews murdered in Nazi prison camps.

All those helpless, innocent murder victims are dear to Our Lord in His infinite love.

Yet, like so many issues in our “diverse” culture, the controversy brings to mind the admonition of Confucius that we must strive to restore the proper meaning of words.

And in its silence, the Catholic Church has contributed to this deterioration of language.

After all, Mr. Foxman addresses a Church in which the central truth of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as understood by the church fathers and the saints of old is rarely taught.

This teaching views Christ’s Passion and Death on the Cross as the “Perfect Holocaust.”

At every Mass, we pray that this sacrifice of Christ, the unblemished victim, “may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.”

As the “Spirit of Vatican II” shifted the meaning of the Mass from “sacrifice” to a “shared meal,” however, few Catholics ever learned of the bloodless Sacrifice of the Mass as the “Perfect Holocaust.”

“Some postconciliar approaches” that present “the notion of the meal as the overriding category of understanding” are insufficient, explained Bishop Arthur Roche, of Leeds, at the 2005 Synod of Bishops in Rome.

“A theology of the Eucharist viewed predominantly through the lens of the meal is deficiently devoid of the Eucharist’s necessary and intrinsic link with Calvary and Christ’s sacrifice,” Bishop Roche explained.

There are many fundamental teachings – about the Sacraments, morals, and other basic truths of the Catechism – that millions of post-Vatican II Catholics have never heard of.

The latest issue of the Bellarmine Forum magazine helpfully addresses many of them.

Clearly, a vigorous and faithful renewal of the Church’s teaching is an indispensable preamble to the success of the “New Evangelization.”

Meanwhile, LifeSite News reports that the Knesset will soon approve legislation that will provide free abortions to Israeli women from 20 to 33 years of age.

It is unlikely that the Knesset will embrace the notion of the “Holocaust of the Unborn” any time soon.

 

From Under the Rubble is copyright (c) 2014 by Christopher Manion. All rights reserved. This column is sponsored by the Bellarmine Forum, and distributed by Griffin Internet Syndicate and FGF Books, www.fgfBooks.com.

Christopher Manion, Ph.D., is Director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae , a project of the Bellarmine Forum. See his biographical sketch and photo.

 

Photo credit: TFP Student Action (Creative Commons)





Students In Christian Schools: Transformation Or Indoctrination?





Photo Credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives (Creative Commons)

I have attended or taught in private Christian schools for well over two decades.  I presently teach in a Christian School in Columbus, Georgia.  My experience teaching in Christian education has been overwhelmingly positive.  I walked away from public education twelve years ago and dedicated myself to educational ministry.

A common complaint I hear from non-Christian public school students, as well as Christian school students, is that there isn’t a thimble full of behavioral difference between the two.  If this is true, it is tragic; if it is not true, then it is a perception that must be addressed.  This leads us to a most relevant question:  Are students who attend Christian schools being transformed by the redeeming truth of Christianity, or are they simply being spoon-fed a well-learned jargon that brings no transformation but rather produces a generation that exhibits a “form of godliness but denies its power.” (2 Tim. 3:5)

Students who have been spoon-fed a Christian worldview but have not been taught or permitted to ask the hard questions are often swept away when they get to college and experience an environment that is decidedly atheistic, but one that encourages enquiry and contrary opinions.  They often mistake the falsity taught in an open and challenging  atmosphere as truth, and conversely question the truth they learned in an atmosphere that discouraged consideration of the ‘hard questions’.

What is the mission of a Christian school?  Is it to evangelize those who are lost?  Is it to disciple those who have accepted Christ?  Is it simply to offer an alternative form of education and provide an escape hatch for those who are caught up in a culture saturated with promiscuous sex and illegal drug activity?  I think most Christian schools have elements of all of the above in their declared mission.

A statistic was released some time ago that rocked the Christian world.  80% of youth stop attending church after they graduate from high school.  Many reasons have been given:  They had planned to leave even before graduation.  They were sidetracked by atheistic professors touting PhD’s behind their names.  They were unprepared for the sudden flood of anti-Christian culture that simply swept them away.

After decades of involvement in Christian education, I have observed this phenomenon in Christian schools as well, though perhaps not quite so prevalent.  I believe the real reason students leave the faith may well be that they never were in the faith to begin with.  Christian school students often spend an entire twelve years learning the jargon of Christianity.  They know what words to use and exactly when to insert just the right phrases to convince their elders that they are, indeed, followers.

After years of teaching, mentoring, and observing young students in Christian schools, I have concluded that those many who leave the faith had never really enlisted.  Jesus gave a clear calling to His disciples to follow Him.  Only a few became true followers.  Some began to follow but were overwhelmed by the sacrifices they were asked to make.  Others turned back because they missed the comforts offered by their families and culture.

The call to “Follow me” is exclusive.  Christ wants us to follow him and no other.  A bird can’t fly north and south at the same time.  A bulldozer can either push or pull, but it can’t do both simultaneously anymore than a person can follow Christ while simultaneously following a sinful, secular culture.  Most of those who ‘leave’ the faith were not saved in the first place.  They did not read their Bible regularly.  They blended in with their non-Christian friends rather than be distinguished from them.  They dated unbelievers, and they rationalized a participation in sex and experimentation with drugs and alcohol.  They gave mental assent to the Christian worldview they were being taught, but they never gave their heart to it.

Christian educators must strike a balance between simply being an educator and being a spiritual mentor.  It is not enough for students to learn the twelve tribes of Israel and be able to recite last week’s memory verse.  The fact that they have mastered Christian lingo doesn’t always indicate that they have accepted and embraced those truths into their hearts.  They are very skilled at reciting biblical truth, but have they learned to make practical application of those recitations?

Some Christian school students walk away from the faith because they never distinguished the difference between accepting Christ as their personal Savior and simply accepting Christ as the Savior of their parents or their teachers.  The paradox is that Christian educators want very much for their students to have a personal relationship with Christ; but when we package the message in the atmosphere of the institution, it is perceived to be very impersonal.

Students often make an unfortunate parallel between Christianity and the policies of the educational institution.  They are given a list of rules to follow regarding academics, dress code, and behavior.  They can then make an easy transition to interpret Christianity as simply a set of rules to keep.  They attempt to experience a personal relationship with Christ by keeping a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’.  The rap on college students who come from Christian schools is that the ones who get wild get really wild.  It may be because of the exhilaration they feel when they are freed from the weight of trying to abide by the rules using their own effort, rather than relying on the grace of God.

We often go shallow when teaching Christian principles to our students.  We want them to learn seven steps to successful dating or five ways to financial success.  In so doing, we offer them no more than they can find in the self-help section of Barnes and Noble.  They can get ‘an inch deep and a mile wide’ anywhere.  We find ourselves giving them what they want rather than what they need.  We allow them to stay in the shallow end of the pool rather than explore the treasures that can only be found in the deep.  Those who learn and then embrace the deep truths of the gospel are those who become great warriors and kingdom builders for Christ.

Christian teachers are tempted, just like all teachers, to entertain rather than educate.  Students would much rather hear stories from your personal life than study trigonometry or Shakespeare.  But succumbing to this temptation in Christian education is perilous to their educational as well as their spiritual development.  More often than not, we fail to challenge them because we underestimate them.  They are usually capable of diving much deeper than we realize.  Make no assumption that their intellectual capabilities are limited because their behavior is foolish.

I have learned over the years that there are treasures deep in the souls of my students that are not revealed in mere words.  Some are actually unaware of the gifts they harbor deep within. As an educator, I am dedicated to helping them discover what they are capable of; but as a Christian educator, I also want them to dedicate these discoveries to Christ the Savior.  They will then become great warriors for Christ and skilled builders of His kingdom.

I am so blessed to be a Christian educator.

 

Photo Credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives (Creative Commons)





Video: Israeli Minister: Kerry’s Proposal “Not Worth Paper It Was Written On”





Washington is expressing outrage at comments by Israel’s defense minister calling U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry obsessive and messianic. Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon is quoted as saying in private meetings: “The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it’s written on. It contains no peace and no security.”





Backlash To Pro-Mandela Coverage





Photo credit: Paul Jacobson (Creative Commons)

British comedian Rowan Atkinson makes people laugh as the humorous “Mr. Bean.” But his brother, Rodney Atkinson, a political writer and commentator, isn’t laughing about the attempt by the media to make Nelson Mandela into a savior of South Africa.

He is quoted in the London Daily Telegraph as saying, “Mandela and his ANC [African National Congress] were about to turn South Africa into a Marxist, communist country when they were bought off by the American Democratic Party and big multi-national business who showered the new black rulers with wealth and power, and, above all, with favorable international media coverage, in the lead on which was, of course, the BBC, despite its treatment by that other genocidal racist Marxist, Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.”

It’s true that leading Democrats, such as former President Bill Clinton, have been raising money for the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Meanwhile, Jim Allister, who represents a unionist political party in Northern Ireland, said, “I think the uncritical hysteria following the death is verging on propaganda.” He added, “Mandela had been blessed with a long life, drawn to a close only by natural causes—something brutally denied to the victims of his ANC and the victims of the IRA, which his ANC so avidly supported!”

On December 6, he posted this comment: “When Baroness Thatcher died the BBC fell over itself to show balance; Mandela dies and BBC eschews anything approaching balance.”

The British Daily Mail reports that the BBC aired more than 100 programs about Mandela in one week, and that a total of 1,834 viewers and listeners had complained “as the airwaves continue to be flooded with tributes disrupting radio and TV schedules.”

The BBC responded, “Nelson Mandela was one of the most important world leaders of the 20th century whose long and complex life story represents a moment of historical change for people in South Africa and around the world. His death was something we regarded as sufficiently significant both to break into our scheduled coverage and extend our news programs. His political and cultural influence was global and as both a UK and international broadcaster it is important that we reflected that, and the range of reactions to his death, to all our audiences.”

Some complaints are being directed against U.S. media coverage of Mandela, who was depicted even by some conservative commentators as a George Washington-type figure or a freedom fighter.

Going beyond this fawning coverage, NBC’s usually reliable foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, turned in a strangely positive story about a rising South African political figure by the name of Julius Malema, who has singled out white people for racist treatment and confiscation of their property.

Engel reported, “When Julius Malema was a teenager he was in the crowd cheering for Nelson Mandela. Now he’s running for president as champion of the have-nots. His plan is a radical redistribution. White South Africans, just 10% of the population, own most of the land.” Malema told Engel, “They [the whites] must give a portion of their land to black people.”

Malema is the head of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which Engel forgot to mention is openly Marxist-Leninist. He used to run the Youth League of Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC). The group is a self-declared “radical, leftist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement with an internationalist outlook anchored by popular grassroots formations and struggles.”

The EFF manifesto includes “Expropriation of South Africa’s land without compensation for equal redistribution in use.”

A recent EFF event featured banners declaring the “Honeymoon is over for white people in South Africa,” and, “To be a revolutionary you have to be inspired by hatred and bloodshed.”

Rather than portray Malema as a serious threat to the white population, Engel depicted the whites in charge of the “white-owned farms” as backward thinking and fanatical in their determination to protect their land through force. Some were labeled as “white extremists” for training with weapons for self-defense.

The EFF also has a foreign policy that declares, “…we call on the Apartheid state of Israel to end its racist occupation of Palestinian lands, and join on the call for the international isolation of the Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions until they end the occupation. Furthermore, we join the international call on the release of the Cuban Five and lifting of the trade embargo on the Cuba and its people. We also believe that all economic sanctions on Zimbabwe must be lifted and the people of Zimbabwe must be given a chance to enjoy in the wealth of nations.”

The Cuban Five are Castro’s spies imprisoned in the U.S.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, under fire for human rights violations and even accused of genocidereceived “thunderous applause” from thousands of black people who turned out for the Mandela memorial service.

Instead, however, media attention has focused on a sign-language interpreter who was a fraud, and a “selfie” photograph joined in by Obama.

The prospect of “white genocide” in South Africa, however, is a non-story.

 

This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

 

Photo credit: Paul Jacobson (Creative Commons)





Video: Who Said Crime Doesn’t Pay?





It was reported by The Blaze that the Palestinian Authority just gave $50,000.00 bonuses and promotions to terrorists…