What sort people of faith do we want to be

In this ungodliness world we do find also several people who claim to be Christian but do not seem to worship the God of the Nazarene man Jeshua. They seem caught or tricked by human doctrines or do prefer to belong to the world and its traditions.

We may find ourselves being surrounded by people who do not believe in a god or in the right God above all gods. Though we should be able to find many examples of people of faith in the past. They are mentioned in Scriptures. As such we can read about men and women, like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Sarah and Abraham, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah a.o. who all heard a Voice of an Unseen person and where not afraid to follow His Guidance and do as He wished.

Many Christians forget to look at those men and women who did not follow other men or worldly or human traditions. Though today so many who call themselves Christian do prefer to keep all those human traditions and do not spend much time in the Word of God nor do not go often to worship services.

Western Europe, where Protestant Christianity originated and Catholicism has been based for most of its history, has become one of the world’s most secular regions. This is proven by the fact that we see many empty churches or churches now being used as libraries, community centres but also as entertainment houses or discotheques.

Big problem in West Europe is that the vast majority of people still let their children being baptised by the Roman Catholic church and get that church still inn the church taxes though they do not have so many active members as other churches which do receive no payment from the government or church tax.

When talking to those people who say they were baptized, today though many do not describe themselves as Christians. Some say they gradually drifted away from religion, stopped believing in religious teachings, or were alienated by scandals or church positions on social issues, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey of religious beliefs and practices in Western Europe.

The survey shows that non-practicing Christians (defined, for the purposes of this report, as people who identify as Christians, but attend church services no more than a few times per year) make up the biggest share of the population across the region. In every country except Italy, they are more numerous than church-attending Christians (those who go to religious services at least once a month). In the United Kingdom, for example, there are roughly three times as many non-practicing Christians (55%) as there are church-attending Christians (18%) defined this way.

Non-practicing Christians also outnumber the religiously unaffiliated population (people who identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” sometimes called the “nones”) in most of the countries surveyed.1 And, even after a recent surge in immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, there are many more non-practicing Christians in Western Europe than people of all other religions combined (Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.).

By those non-practicing Christians we do find that the majority are not really believers in the Most High God, but that some might belief in all sorts of fairy tales, like when dying becoming a star or going to heaven or transforming in an animal or in an other person. Not many of them believe that we shall be able to find a Kingdom of God here on earth. Lots of them are doubting that there is such an Eternal Spirit Being that would help them in this life, though some do not mind to believe in a godly man or in God having incarnated and having done that He was tempted (because God cannot be tempted) and who would have faked His death (because God can not die), but do not know or understand why that god would have stayed for three days in hell,because they believe hell is an eternal torture place were all the bad people would come.

Not many of those non-practicing Christians nor many of other Christians have their eyes fixed on the real Jesus who should be the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured all that bullying and an impalement until death took place. That Nazarene master teacher thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering. The short period he taught, he declared his heavenly Father and showed people how they could come to God, him being the way. Jesus also spoke often about the way of righteous people and how man could have hope for a better life but also should be careful not to lose it. His many parables should be a warning for us all that though the grace may be given for free, without works our faith shall be dead.

Prophets in the ancient times spoke about the promised one who would come and bring salvation. The first time there was spoken about him in the Garden of Eden. More than once is being referred to that person God was going to send. Many people in ancient times believed in that promise of a sent one from God. But today not many believe or are willing to put their hope on such a guy of which they even doubt his existence. They should know that no matter if they believe or not in God or Jesus, Jeshua or Jesus from Nazareth is a real political figure born in 4 BCE. For those who believe in the Bible to be the infallible Word of God, this man is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne. The world should think constantly of him enduring all that sinful men could say against him and people should have believe in him, accepting his as son of God and not a god son, even when so many would like them to believe differently and want to take away their purpose or their courage. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

After all, the lovers of God and lovers of Christ, who want to fight against sin should know that this battle against sin has not yet meant the shedding of blood. From the survey we may see that not many are interested in God and that many have lost sight of that piece of advice which reminds man of their sonship in God. (Hebrews 12:4-6)

We must look in to the past and remember the many people who did not loose faith. We should see how they did not despise the chastening of the Most High. Even when we are confronted with empty churches and not finding many believing people around us, we should not be discouraged when we are laughed at by acquaintances or people at work. But we should not loose interest in God when we do not directly feel Him or His presence.We also should endure suffering as a way of discipline, looking at it as God dealing with us as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? (Hebrews 12:7)

We must always remember that our ancestors won God’s approval by their faith. (Hebrews 11:2) We also should not be afraid to let others know that we trust the Most High of Who we believe made all things and allows all things to happen.  By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen had not been made out of things which appear. (Hebrews 11:3)

The men spoken off in the bible freely admitted that they lived on this earth as exiles and foreigners. Men who say that mean, of course, that their eyes are fixed upon their true home-land. If they had meant the particular country they had left behind, they had ample opportunity to return. No, the fact is that they longed for a better country altogether, nothing less than a heavenly one. And because of this faith of theirs, God is not ashamed to be called their God for in sober truth He has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

So also for us who want to share the same faith as these men, there is the prospect of a city in a better world. by faith we shall be able to live at a time when Jesus shall have send others to their second death.

Longing for a better country, we should put our hope on Christ Jesus to become our King of kings and be grateful that we may look forward to the return of Christ and the entrance to the Kingdom of God for the faithful.

In this world where many hold on the material site of life, do you want to be a lover of human traditions and human teachings, or do you want to be a person who like those men of faith only believed in the One True God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Who is One?

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Please read Hebrews 11-12

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Preceding

Religious matters

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

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Additional reading

  1. Words in the world
  2. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  3. Looking at an American nightmare
  4. Casual Christians
  5. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #1
  6. Being Christian in Western Europe at the beginning of the 21st century #2
  7. Non-practicing Christians widely believing in a god or higher power
  8. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  9. Views on relationship between government and religion
  10. What makes you following Christ and Facebook Groups
  11. Inner voice inside the soul of man
  12. Not following the tradition of man
  13. Focussing on the man Jesus and the relationship with God
  14. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  15. To find ways of Godly understanding
  16. Written by inspiration of God for our admonition, to whom it shall be imputed if they believe
  17. Believing in the send one and understanding that one does not live by bread alone
  18. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church

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  4. Belief & When Americans Say They Believe in God, What Do They Mean? #PewResearch
  5. 18-17 Segment 2: Religion in America’s Prisons
  6. Come Sunday
  7. Massimo Introvigne: Visual Artworks of The Church of Almighty God Convey a Very Deep Message
  8. Hooray! No Taxes For Churches!
  9. Walk with me
  10. Former President Carter Writing Book About Religious Faith
  11. Baptist Army Chaplain Faces Punishment for Religious Beliefs
  12. The biblical definition of ______________
  13. Tell about your father’s spiritual or religious beliefs.
  14. Activity 1-1: How (Dis)Similar Are Muslims and Christians?
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  16. Pistis ( πίστις)
  17. By faith Enoch
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  21. It is impossible to please God without faith. (today’s verse) 
  22. A List Of Ten Things That God Is Pleased About
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  24. The Seen And The Unseen
  25. When You Want to Step out but You’re Afraid to Fail
  26. Personal Victories
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  29. Holding on to God
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Autumn traditions for 2014 – 6 Bonfire night

After the gathering of witches and calling the spirits on the 31st of October, people loved to be busy with the dead on the following days, celebrating All Saints and All Souls people want to frighten the spirits away. This, according many cultures can be done with making as much noise as possible and bringing flashy nights. On the other hand many find it necessary to bring the ‘sacred days for the dead’ to a good end by bringing all the death material back to dust by fire. At the end of the Autumn holiday or All Saints holiday bonfires may lit in several places.

Anti Catholic sentiment

Portrait of Henry VIII, King of England

Portrait of Henry VIII, King of England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many there is also an anti-Catholic sentiment which found its origins in the English and Irish Reformations under King Henry VIII and the Scottish Reformation led by John Knox. The Act of Supremacy 1534 declared the English crown to be ‘the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England‘ in place of the pope. Any act of allegiance to the latter was considered treasonous because the papacy claimed both spiritual and political power over its followers. The Scottish Reformation in 1560 abolished Catholic ecclesiastical structures and rendered Catholic practice illegal in Scotland.

Pius V and Elizabeth I

Pius V and Elizabeth I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having Pope Pius V wanting to depose Queen Elizabeth with the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis, he declared her a heretic and the servant of crime. The pope released all of her subjects from any allegiance to her, and excommunicated any who obeyed her orders. By this bull the queen found herself forced to have the believers choosing for the pope or for her, becoming part of the ecclesia anglicana, or Anglican faith. The Elizabethan Religious Settlement was set out in two Acts of the Parliament of England. By the Act of Supremacy of 1558 the governement managed to get back the control over the churches in the reign. By re-establishing the Church of England‘s independence from Rome, with Parliament conferring on Elizabeth the title Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the Act of Uniformity of 1559 outlined what form the English Church should take, including the re-establishment of the Book of Common Prayer.

On the question of images, Elizabeth’s initial reaction was to allow crucifixes and candlesticks and the restoration of roods, but some of the new bishops whom she had elevated protested. The determination to prevent any further restoration of “popery” was evidenced by the more thoroughgoing destruction of roods, vestments, stone altars, dooms, statues and other ornaments.  Puritans delivered sermons regarding the perceived dangers of popery, while during increasingly raucous celebrations common folk burnt effigies of popular hate-figures, such as the pope.

A devout and militant Catholic

Guy Fawkes (a.k.a. Guido Fawkes), cropped detail from a contemporary engraving of the Gunpowder Plotters. The Dutch artist probably never actually saw or met any of the conspirators, but it has become a popular representation nonetheless. - National Portrait Gallery, London

Guy Fawkes (a.k.a. Guido Fawkes), cropped detail from a contemporary engraving of the Gunpowder Plotters. The Dutch artist probably never actually saw or met any of the conspirators, but it has become a popular representation nonetheless. – National Portrait Gallery, London

Travelling soldier—mercenary would be the wrong word, Guy Fawkes (1570–1606), a devout and militant Catholic, brought in on a plan to blow up Britain’s Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. The family Fawkes with father Edward Fawkes (sometimes spelled Faux), a judicial court official, was required, under the state Church of England religion (now known as Anglicanism, with the Episcopal Church as its American branch), to swear an oath pledging that they were Protestants. Fawkes’s mother, Edith, like many other Catholics, put up a Protestant facade, but her nephew became a Jesuit priest and some of her relatives were recusants — English Catholics who refused to attend Protestant church services. When Edward Fawkes died, when Guy was eight, his mother showed her true sympathies by marrying another recusant, Denis (or Dionysus) Bainbridge, described by an acquaintance (according to the Gunpowder Plot Society) as “more ornamental than useful.” The family moved to a home near the village of Scotton in North Yorkshire. From that point on, Fawkes likely began to come in contact with devout Catholics who were working through official channels and also by underground means to safeguard and advance the rights of Catholics under the country’s increasingly entrenched Anglican regime.

St. Peter’s School in the city of York though having a nominally Protestant headmaster, John Pulleine (or Pulleyn), was likely a hotbed of Catholic resistance. One local noblewoman, according to Gunpowder Plot historian Antonia Fraser, called the school “Little Rome.” Fawkes, according to one source, married Pulleine’s daughter Maria and had a son, named Thomas, in 1591. Other early accounts of Fawkes’s life make no mention of the marriage, which could suggest that it was very short (perhaps with mother and child dying in childbirth) or that it did not occur at all.

Spain wanting to control Flanders and to invade England

Working as a footman to the Catholic nobleman Lord Montague, he may have met Robert Catesby, the originator of the Gunpowder Plot, through family connections during this period. Around 1593, he left England for Flanders (a Dutch-speaking region now divided among northern Belgium, France, and the Netherlands), which was then under the control of Spain, Western Europe’s great Catholic power, and he enlisted in the Spanish army. A military associate (quoted by David Herber) described Fawkes as

“a man of great piety, of exemplary temperance, of mild and cheerful demeanor, an enemy of broils and disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance upon religious observance.”

Spain’s feared Armada had tried unsuccessfully to launch an invasion of England in 1588 trying to expand its power in the willingness to conquer the whole of Europe. Serving under the command of the Archduke Albert of Austria, Spain’s ally, Guy Fawkes fought for the Spaniards in a battle at Calais, in western France, in 1595, and he may have been wounded at the Battle of Nieuwpoort in West Flanders in 1600. It was at the continent that his assignments brought him the experience for blowing up things, like a procession of military wagons. In both these campaigns he came to the attention not only of his Spanish and Austrian commanders but also of a group of English Catholic nobles sympathetic to the Catholic side. He was recognized not only for military valour but also for his virtue and general intelligence.

From protestantism to Catholicism

After the establishment of the Church of England under King Henry VIII and a temporary and gruesome return to Catholicism under Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”), Protestantism had become well entrenched under Elizabeth, as even the Spaniards recognized. They gave Fawkes a polite reception, but they were moving in the direction of a permanent peace with England, and Fawkes’s mission went nowhere. Meanwhile King James, suspicious of the intentions of English Catholics, sharpened his anti-Papist invective and imposed new fines on recusants.

In Brussels after his Spanish mission, Fawkes was introduced by Sir William Stanley to Tom Wintour, a Catholic soldier. Wintour or Stanley informed Fawkes of a plot under consideration by English nobleman Robert (or Robin) Catesby, whose father had undergone long imprisonment for his Catholic affiliation, and whose own militancy had deepened as he fell on hard times. Fawkes seemed the perfect foot soldier for the plan’s execution. He knew guns and explosives well, and since he had been away from England for many years, his name and face were unknown to Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury and the head of the English monarchy’s secret police.

Conspiracy

Conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. Very similar to one in National Portrait Gallery by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder

Conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot. Very similar to one in National Portrait Gallery by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder

At an inn in London’s upscale Strand distric Fawkes, Catesby, Wintour, and two other conspirators met in May of 1604 to swore an oath for carrying out Catesby’s plan: to throw England into chaos by killing its king and lawmakers in a massive explosion, to install King James’s young daughter, Elizabeth, as Queen and arrange her marriage to a Catholic monarch from elsewhere in Europe, thus restoring a Catholic monarchy.  The Westminster district in London’s West End was a crowded warren of streets and businesses at the time, and Fawkes/Johnson attracted little notice as he was installed as caretaker of an empty cellar of an adjoining building. By early 1605 the plotters had begun to fill the cellar with barrels of gunpowder. To disguise it they covered it with iron bars and bundles of kindling, known in British English as faggots. They had to replace the powder as it “decayed” or went stale.

November the 5th

Finally a date for the explosion was set: November 5, 1605, when King James, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons would all be in attendance in the same chamber. The Powder Treason began to unravel on the night of October 26, with the delivery of an anonymous letter to a Catholic nobleman, Lord Monteagle, advising him to concoct an excuse to avoid the opening of the Parliament session on November 5. Monteagle informed Sir Robert Cecil of the letter’s contents, and Cecil informed the King. Continuing uncertainty over who wrote the letter, together with signs that pointed to its being a forgery, have given rise over the centuries to theories that the Gunpowder Plot was devised not by Catholic militants but by Cecil himself, with the intention of permanently crippling Britain’s Catholics in the ensuing uproar. In this version of events (promoted in recent times by Francis Edwards), Fawkes and Catesby were double agents. The preponderance of historical opinion holds that the Treason was a genuine terrorist plot, but the debate continues.

Anti-Irish propaganda from Punch magazine, published in December 1867.

Anti-Irish propaganda from Punch magazine, published in December 1867.

Whatever the case, the cellars beneath the Parliament buildings were searched on the night of November 4, and Fawkes was discovered, along with the gunpowder. Described as a very tall and desperate fellow, he gave his name as John Johnson. King James, according to Fraser, ordered that “the gentler Tortures are to be first used unto him et sic per gradus ad ima tenditur [and so by degrees proceeding to the worst],” although torture was illegal in England at the time, and had been since the signing of the Magna Carta, the 1215 document that restricted the power of the English kings. Fawkes was hung from a wall in manacles and probably placed on the rack, a notorious device that slowly stretched a prisoner’s body until he lost the use of his limbs. After two days, Fawkes gave up the names of his coconspirators, all but one of whom were tracked down and executed or killed. Prior to his execution by hanging in Westminster’s Old Palace Yard on January 31, 1606, Fawkes was barely able to sign his own name on a confession. After dying on the scaffold, he was drawn and quartered.

Restrictions harsher than any they had yet experienced were placed on English Catholics by King James, and November 5 became a national holiday in England, known as Firework Night, Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Day. In the colonial United States it was celebrated as Pope Day, featuring a ceremony in which the Pope was burned in effigy, but the holiday was gradually absorbed into the Halloween festivities that occurred a few days earlier. Guy Fawkes Day evolved away from its roots in Britain, where the targets of the fire might include contemporary figures despised by the public. As part of a group of anti-terrorist measures, the cellars of the Houses of Parliament are still searched by guards each year before the legislature opens in November.

The execution of Guy Fawkes' (Guy Fawkes), by Claes (Nicolaes) Jansz Visscher, given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1916.

The execution of Guy Fawkes’ (Guy Fawkes), by Claes (Nicolaes) Jansz Visscher, given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1916.

 

Remembrance night of terrorism acts or ‘bonefires’ as cleansing ritual

An effigy of Guy Fawkes, burnt on a Guy Fawkes Night bonfire

Celebrations are held throughout the United Kingdom (including non-Catholic communities in Northern Ireland), and in some other parts of the Commonwealth. In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, 5 November is commemorated with bonfires and firework displays, and it is officially celebrated in South Africa.*

Non religious people love to have a remembrance of the fires in which bones were burned. The “banefire” was the place were the dead were brought together to be burned so that no deceases could spread. It is the sheol or hell spoken of in the Bible, which was at the Biblical times a place outside the cities were the fire was kept burning day and night so that in case of a serious infection the spreading of the decease could stopped soon enough to avoid further deaths. Also the ones (bane) had to undergo a fast decay, which could be done by a fire.

In the ancient and present druid religions, bonfires were and are still held between 31 October and 5 November to celebrate Samhain and to burn the bones of the slaughtered livestock they had stored for the winter months. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. In several pagan circles the tradition of the bonfire is till kept alive. Some modern day Druids and Pagans see bonfire night as a significant celebration to end the harvest festival. In Belgium and Ireland they are mostly lit on the 31st of October. In those countries they are seen as a reaction against those who are religious and believe in Christ and/or in One Creator. Christian symbols are burned to give a sign to abolish them and with it the faith in such symbols or in what it represents. The burning cross should give a clear visible sign  to every one of how they hate the figure of Jesus Christ and everything around it. Pernicious weeds, diseased material is put on the bonfire to show how man can conquer the bad things in nature and how he can be stronger than the natural things which surrounds him. Lots of people find it a nice way to show the gods of nature and the bad spirits that they can control the earth and can frighten any spirit which they do not want to have around them, because if they would come close , they (man) would be there to put them in the fire.

For sure Christians do neither have to celebrate terrorism acts nor papal celebrations, nor feasts for making souls afraid or for giving gods a sign. Participating in such festivities as a sign of anti-catoliscism or a as sign of anti-protestantism would not give a sign of openness to other believers or other Christians and of forgivingness for what had happened in the past.

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* In Northern Ireland, the term “Bonfire Night” can refer to the Eleventh Night celebrations of 11 July. Like 5 November, this Bonfire Night also has its roots in the sectarian struggle between Protestants and Catholics. It celebrates the Battle of the Boyne of 1690, in which the Protestant William of Orange defeated the Catholic James II. The 23 June Bonfire Night in Ireland has its origins in a religious celebration and originally featured prayers for bountiful crops. {“Bonfire repair bill revealed”. BBC News. 15 July 2003. Retrieved 27 May 2011.; Haggerty, Bridget. “St. John’s Eve in old Ireland”. Irish Culture and Customs.}

 

Preceding articles:

  1. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet
  2. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  3. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans
  4. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  5. All Saints’ Day
  6. All Souls’ Day
  7. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 5 People, souls and saints in the news

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  • This Day in History: October 30th- A King, His Wife, and The Act of Supremacy (todayifoundout.com)
    Pope Clement feared Queen Katherine’s powerful nephew The Holy Roman Emperor right up the road a lot more than the King of England across the ocean, so he put off dealing with the situation.
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    The Protestants in the realm who thought they won a major theological victory were sorely disappointed, because the King deviated very little from traditional Catholic doctrine or ritual. Henry just wanted to be the boss – and to have access to all of the Church’s vast riches in his kingdom, which he plundered with great gusto.
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    How the King James Bible Came About
  • 2000 years of Christianity : what happened? – Part IV – 1200AD – 1600AD (biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com)
    1549: Book of Common Prayer released – At the death of Henry VIII, the archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, moved forward with the English reformation. Images were removed from churches, private confessions to priests were discontinued, and the clergy allowed to marry. But mass was still said in Latin. So Cranmer moved to create a liturgy that was pleasing to Protestants as well as Catholics. The book of common prayer was born.
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    1559: John Knox makes final return to Scotland – A Scottish clergyman and writer who was a leader of the Protestant Reformation, founded the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland, helping to write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church in Scotland called “the Kirk”.
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    With the sale of indulgences, the reformation would officially begin at the hand of Martin Luther and the likes of Ulrich Zwingli. Protestantism which spread quickly even with heavy opposition from the Catholic church, even leading to wars between the two groups, would also give birth to the Anglican Church in England, a separate entity from the church in Rome. While Calvin’s teachings were soaked in by Protestantism, a counter reformation was underway inside the catholic church which did not reform many of its earlier teachings. While the Jesuits traveled on missions programs with spain and portugal as they extended their land overseas, many reformers such as Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer were executed for their beliefs – but Protestantism could not be stamped out, and would become one of the largest sects in Christianity – distinctively different from Catholicism, although borrowing and having many of its roots in the teachings of Rome.
  • Repost for Today (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com)
    The king had declared himself Head of the Church in England and had repudiated its spiritual allegiance to the Pope. The suppression and spoliation of the Religious Orders followed, but the Knights of St. John were not at first included in the general ruin. In 1539, two knights of the English Tongue, Blessed Adrian Fortescue and Ven. Thomas Dingley, a nephew of Sir William Weston, Grand Prior of England, were martyred on Tower Hill for denying the Royal Supremacy. By Letters Patent 7th July, 1539, Henry reminded the knights of the English Tongue that he was a Protector of the Order : and it was his will that in future every appointment must be confirmed by him, and that he was to receive the first year’s revenue of the office.
  • The Fallibility Of Papal Infallibility (psalm115three.com)
    if papal infallibility has only been exercised twice, how can Catholic apologists claim that the canon of scripture, Christ’s deity, the Trinity, etc. have also been infallibly declared? How can they claim that some rulings of Popes and councils are infallible, while others aren’t, without having a reasonable and consistent standard by which to make such a distinction? For example, if Pope Pius IX’s Immaculate Conception decree is infallible, why wouldn’t Pope Boniface VIII’s Unam Sanctam decree, which errs repeatedly, also be infallible? Both decrees were issued by Popes, both decrees define doctrine, and both decrees use authoritative language. Or when the Fourth Lateran Council dogmatizes transubstantiation, why is that accepted as infallible, while the same council’s offering of indulgences to those who participate in a Crusade and “exterminate heretics” isn’t accepted as infallible? Catholics are unreasonable and inconsistent in how they define papal infallibility.
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    The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 5 – Psychological reasons
    Some Christians routinely advocate angry, hateful behavior. And if they see any vice among individual Catholics they arguably project their own anger – and other shortcomings – onto Catholicism as a whole. This type of Christian is self-perceived as genuine and true while Catholics are deemed invalid.
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    The self-righteous Christian may try to engage others in heated messaging wars over specific points of doctrine. With these individuals, the ideal of loving within the mystical body of Christ gets twisted into something more like negative attention seeking, stemming from an unresolved personal issue.
  • Douthat: Conservatives Will Take Their Ball and Go Home if Francis Changes “Their” Church (religiondispatches.org)
    If the church had been evolving doctrine in a more gradual, holistic manner over the past several decades, the changes being proposed now wouldn’t seem so dramatic. But a pair of popes—John Paul and his long-time doctrinal henchman Benedict—conspired to freeze the natural development of Catholic teaching. They took uber-conservative readings of key issues, like the ordination of women and the “intrinsically disordered” nature of gay Catholics, and then declared them virtually infallible, so that any future evolution was by its very nature heretical.To conservatives, Catholic doctrine has become like a game of capture the flag—if you can hold onto the flag long enough, you win, regardless of the advisability of the original teaching.
  • Biography : Robert Catesby (writedge.com)

    Robert Catesby is a well known figure in English History. He was born in 1673 and died in 1705 at the young age of 32. He was the son of Sir William Catesby of Lapworth and Anne Coughton. Catesby was directly related to the Richard III through his father. He was 6th in the line of succession.

    Catesby’s father was a staunch Catholic and a prime supporter of the Jesuit mission. His religious belief led to his arrest in 1580. Richard was only 8 years old at that time. His father was tried along side Lord Vaux and his brother-in-law Sir Thomas Tresham, for harboring of a Jesuit, Father Edmund Campion. This arrest and trial had a traumatic effect on Richard who grew up as a strong supporter of the Catholic mission.
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    Despite his religious inclinations Catesby was held in high esteem by both Catholics and Protestants and was part of the glamorous circle that surrounded the court. This affluence and popularity played a great part in protecting him from the rigors of recusancy.

    When Queen Elizabeth I fell ill in 1596, as a precautionary measure Catesby and some of his friends from his circle namely John Wright, his brother Christopher and Francis Tresham were arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

  • Death by Quill, the Parliamentary Act of Attainder (englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com)
    Thomas Cromwell simply did what Thomas Cromwell was highly regarded for. He drafted a law forbidding the foretelling of the monarch’s death, filing Acts of Attainder against the Holy Maid of Kent and her inner circle. How can one be convicted for violating a law before it actually became a law? Obviously, that mattered not. Parliament enacted sentence as judge and jury. Elizabeth Barton, Holy Maid of Kent and five men close to her subsequently condemned, they all were executed at Tyburn — problem solved.
  • Could We Please Have Better New York Times Columnists?: Historical Lack-of-Literacy Ediiton (delong.typepad.com)
    the sixteenth-century Catholic Church lost England not because Popes condemned Henry VIII Tudor’s marriage to Ann Boleyn as adulterous, but because Pope Pius V rejected the legality of the Third Succession Act:
    +
    Pope Pius V, in Regnans in Excelsis, rejected the legality of the Third Succession Act. He commanded Catholics on pain of excommunication to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I Tudor. Regnans in Excelsis declares that it is not the Crown-in-Parliament that decides upon the line of succession to the throne of England, but the Pope.

The imaginational war against Christmas

American debate on celebrations and holiday season

In the United States we see a debate is going on about the celebrations or holiday season. Several camps are claiming the 25th of December as their special event, belonging to their group.

English: Father Christmas on T. Armstrong & Co...

Father Christmas on T. Armstrong & Co’s Christmas float. – Do you see the connection with ice-bears and the birth of Christ? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The conservative Christians and the Tea Party members claim everything of Christmas is sanctified and belongs to the Christian community and may not defiled by the heathen atheists.

Call to encourage Christian people to worship God

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert wisely advised that if atheists want their country to be free and safe, they should encourage people to worship God. Gohmert, who has a penchant for tweaking people who do not believe in God, was delivering a speech about the lack of attention given to Christians who are persecuted around the world. Although he also declared that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, as an aside he argued that only nations that turned away from the Judeo-Christian God have ceased to exist.

“No country has ever fallen while it was truly honouring the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

“So if you were completely areligious, completely atheistic, but you wanted to have a free country, and you wanted to have it safe and protected, then it would sound like — from historical purposes — that it might be a good thing to encourage those who believe in God to keep doing so,”

Gohmert said.

“Because when a nation’s leaders honour that God, that nation is protected. It’s only when it turns away that it falls.”

Historicity of birth of Christ

According many historians it is proven that Jesus was not born on the 25th of December, so they wonder why so many Christians keep wanting to celebrate the birth of Christ on that day of the birthday of the goddess of light. Likewise I would like to ask those Christians, like Sarah Paling who says Father Christmas belongs to the Christians and is in honour of God, what this mythical elf had to do with the event which happened on the 17th of October 4BCE, when the Jew Jeshua (Jesus Christ) became the first-born in the family of Miriam (Myriam/Mary/Maria) and Joseph (Yosef/Iosíf/Josef), from the tribe of king David? What have all those Christmas trees to do with the land of Palestine or Bethlehem, were Jesus was born? (There were and are no such trees in that region).

Poster campaign against Christmas

In the United Kingdom there are also some fanatics from a banned Islamic hate group that have launched a nationwide poster campaign, but they go a step further than the American atheists because they denounce Christmas as evil.

Organisers plan to put up thousands of placards around the UK claiming the season of goodwill is responsible for rape, teenage pregnancies, abortion, promiscuity, crime and paedophilia. They hope the campaign will help ‘destroy Christmas’ in that country and lead to Britons converting to Islam instead. though those Muslims should also notice many Islamic families also put the Christmas tree in their living room and give each other presents in this so called Christian holiday season. I do agree also by that population we see the pagan rituals have won above faith and they took over the western traditions, saying the same thing like Christians say about Halloween,

“It is just for fun”.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation and America Atheists in the United States also started a campaign to give non-believers a voice in a Christian dominated space and taking back something what belongs to them and not to Christianity.

Holiday season rooted in pagan festivals

Real Christians should make use of the holiday season to make clear to the Christians who celebrate the Yule fest or “Kerst-mis”, “mass of Kerst” (later made in “Christ” in Anglo-Saxon countries), Yuletide or Christmastide and to Muslims that Jesus is the son of God, who is really born, whilst God can not be born nor die, because He is an eternal Spirit.

In West Europe, before the population was christened they celebrated the end of the year and the dark period and remembered the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Modranicht, (Old English “Night of the Mothers” or “Mothers’-night”). It was an event held at what is now Christmas Eve by the Anglo-Saxon Pagans where a sacrifice may have been made, and for the Germanic people (like in Belgium) the Germanic Matres and Matrones, female beings attested by way of altar and votive inscriptions, nearly always appearing in trios, to which the Roman Catholic Church placed their Holy Trinity. The earthly spirits and natural spirits where transformed into the natural spirit Jesus who came in the place of the goddess of light and became the Light itself, but would also be the same person as the air spirits or heavenly spirits, becoming the Holy Spirit who at the same time would be God the Father and God the Spirit. Though the Divine Being God Who is One Himself is Spirit according to the Holy Scriptures.

“God is Spirit; and those who worship him must worship spiritually and truly.” (John 4:24 TCNT)

God Himself is not immaterial; He has a Spirit-body (ie 1Corinthians 15:44-54; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 1:7; Matthew 28:2-4), a Being full of Spirit power, a body with parts. Jesus contrary is a man of flesh and blood who really could be tempted (God can not be tempted) could be tortured to death and was made higher than angels to whom he was lower, but God was, is and always shall be the Most High, Almighty Who knows everything, whilst Jesus had still to learn everything and even did not know when he would be coming back.

“For he (Jeshua/Jesus Christ) is the radiance of the Glory of God and the very expression of his Being, upholding all creation by the power of his word; and, when he had made an expiation for the sins of men, he ‘took his seat at the right hand’ of God’s Majesty on high,” (Hebrews 1:3 TCNT)

“To this Peter and the Apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men.  (30)  The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging him on a cross.  (31)  It is this Jesus whom God has exalted to his right hand, to be a Guide and a Savior, to give Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins.  (32)  And we are witness to the truth of this, and so is the Holy Spirit–the gift of God to those who obey him.” (Acts of the apostles 5:29-32 TCNT)

“He appeared among us as a man, and still further humbled himself by submitting even to death–to death on a cross!  (9)  And that is why God raised him to the very highest place, and gave him the Name which stands above all other names,  (10)  So that in adoration of the Name of Jesus every knee should bend, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth,  (11)  And that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ (originally יהושע Messiah) as Lord (Master) – – to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11 TCNT)

Christians having to choose either to belong to pagan world or to have their own religious world

The Christians should know that they may live in this world but do not have to be active in al the things of this world. As children of God we should not differ from God His best servant, Jesus who is lord of all. As long as that man who did not know when he would return (remember: God knows everything) we should follow the Master teacher, the tutors he trained and the stewards till the time appointed by the Father. So also we, when we were children, were in servitude under the rudiments of the world;  but when the fullness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem those under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  Having now become sons we should no longer be a servant of this world, but a son; and if a son, also an heir of God.  Formerly, not knowing God a Christian may have served beings which are not really gods;  but when converted and baptised they should Now know God, what He likes and what He does not like. Once a person came in the faith he or she should take care not to turn again to the weak and imperfect rudiments, keeping to the traditions of heathen people or gentiles.

The apostle Paul writes:

” My point is this–As long as the heir is under age, there is no difference between him and a slave, though he is master of the whole estate.  (2)  He is subject to the control of guardians and stewards, during the period for which his father has power to appoint them.  (3)  And so is it with us; when we were under age, as it were, we were slaves to the puerile teaching of this world;  (4)  But, when the full time came, God sent his Son–born a woman’s child, born subject to Law–  (5)  To ransom those who were subject to Law, so that we might take our position as sons.  (6)  And it is because you are sons that God sent into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, with the cry–‘Abba, our Father.’  (7)  You, therefore, are no longer a slave, but a son; and, if a son, then an heir also, by God’s appointment.  (8)  Yet formerly, in your ignorance of God, you became slaves to ‘gods’ which were no gods.  (9)  But now that you have found God–or, rather, have been found by him–how is it that you are turning back to that poor and feeble puerile teaching, to which yet once again you are wanting to become slaves?” (Gal 4:1-9 TCNT)

Christians should remember that their rabbi Jeshua (Jesus Christ) charged his followers to follow his Fathers instructions and to love one another. Jesus warned them that it could well be that the world would hate them because of their (our) choice to follow him. We should know that the world hated Christ before us.  We either have the choice to follow the traditions of the world and showing them that we not only are part of the world but also want to be in the world; Or if we were of this world, the world would be a friend to its own; but because we are not of the world the world hates us.  We should remember the word which Jesus said to his apostles that a servant is not greater than his lord and that if they have persecuted the send one from God (Jesus the Messiah), they will also persecute his followers; if they have kept Jesus his word, they will also keep ours.  But all these things they will do to us, on his account, because they know not Him that sent Jesus. and that is the whole problem. They do not want to know God who sent his prophet to save the world. Today the world should have no pretext for their sin.  It is true that those who hate Christ Jesus also hate his Father. In Christ we should put our hope because we have seen the Works of God in his hands. The whole world has received the opportunity to get to read the Words of God, to listen to them, to study them and to get to understanding for those Words came from the God Who does not tell lies.  so when He says ‘This is my only begotten beloved son” it up to us, living in this world to either accept that Nazarene Jew as the son of God or to make him like so many pagan do with the nature elements and other man of the world (Presley, Spears, Maradonna, Madonna, Jackson, Cyrus, Cano, 1D a.o.)
With Jesus the promise in the Garden of Eden became fulfilled, and the Word of God became a reality, which the world can face now. Jesus came to live in this world so that the word written in their law may be fulfilled.  After Jesus died (remember God can not die) his Father, the Only One God gave them light from His Power, the Pneuma or Holy Spirit. When this Comforter had come, whom Jesus as mediator between God and man, had send them from the Father, the Spirit of truth which proceeds from the Father, he testified of Jesus and the apostles also started to testify without fear about their teacher, because they had been with him from the beginning and had seen all the things Jesus had done in the name of his Father, the God of Abraham.

” I am giving you these commands that you may love one another.  (18)  If the world hates you, you know that it has first hated me.  (19)  If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world–that is why the world hates you.  (20)  Remember what I said to you–‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have laid my Message to heart, they will lay yours to heart also.  (21)  But they will do all this to you, because you believe in my Name, for they do not know him who sent me.  (22)  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have had no sin to answer for; but as it is, they have no excuse for their sin.  (23)  He who hates me hates my Father also.  (24)  If I had not done among them such work as no one else ever did, they would have had no sin to answer for; but, as it is, they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.  (25)  And so is fulfilled what is said in their Law–‘They hated me without cause.’  (26)  But, when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of Truth, who comes from the Father–he will bear testimony to me;  (27)  Yes, and you also are to bear testimony, because you have been with me from the first.” (Joh 15:17-27 TCNT)

A pent-up woman using strong men for the opposite they believed in

Sarah Palin addressing a Labor Day rally sponsored by the Tea Party Express (Manchester, NH), September 5, 2011

The American politician, commentator, author, former youngest person and first woman to be elected half-term Governor of Alaska and failed vice presidential candidate, registered Republican since 1982, Sarah Palin, née Heath, said

“Today, in too many respects, it’s politically incorrect to acknowledge that Jesus is the reason for the season and Christ is the main part of Christmas,”

If Thomas Jefferson were alive today he would probably go on Fox News to complain about the war on Christmas.

The freedom of the Constitution of the United States

Page one of the original copy of the Constitution

Page one of the original copy of the Constitution of the United States, the supreme law of the United States of America, Created September 17, 1787, Ratified June 21, 1788

She told the audience of students that the U.S. Constitution was written by and for moral and religious people, and that nonreligious people probably were incapable of appreciating its principles.

“If you lose that foundation, John Adams was implicitly warning us, then we will not follow our constitution, there will be no reason to follow our constitution because it is a moral and religious people who understand that there is something greater than self, we are to live selflessly, and we are to be held accountable by our creator, so that is what our constitution is based on, so those revisionists, those in the lamestream media, especially, who would want to ignore what our founders actually thought, felt and wrote about in our charters of liberty – well, that’s why I call them the lamestream media,” Palin said.

Adams who was sixty-one when he took office and by whom theological uncertainty had turned him toward a secular vocation also was not so sure about the divinity of Christ and being the God born on the 25 of December. He was a real searcher and wanted to discover as much he could in the books of law, political theory, moral philosophy, or economy from classical Greece and Rome to Enlightenment Europe. No theoretical works could escape his critical eye. and we can imagine he was also very critical of what churches said and what the Bible said. He was not an abstract political thinker; rather, he read and wrote to understand and solve the problems of society in his own day. At the outset of the Revolution he believed that the superior virtue of the American people would prove sufficient to maintain a balance between liberty and order in the new republics being formed by the states. In his Thoughts on Government, written early in 1776, and in his draft of the Massachusetts Constitution three years later, he advocated popular governments with checks on the abuse of power adequate to maintain their republican purity. I think it would be in-acceptable for him that a political party took the country in banishment like the Tea Party does. what that movement does is also against the idea of Jefferson who wanted a a free and democratic government and wanted to avoid the weakness of the Old World standards. Closely associated with liberal, enlightened circles in ParisThomas Jefferson sympathized with the revolutionary impulse but sought to direct it into moderate and pacific channels of reform.The sorting and synthesizing habits characteristic of Enlightenment thought, having a state free of the connection with religion, formed the core of his thinking.

The challenges posed by the American Revolution (1775–1783)—creating a new nation, defining its form of government and politics, and shaping the kind of nation that the United States would become and the kind of people it would have—lent practical urgency to Jefferson’s investigations of the natural, social, and political world. {International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences | 2008 |}

Two of the three key measures of Jefferson’s lawmaking had to do with the life of the mind and individual liberty; all three embodied his devotion to Enlightenment ideals. Arguing that any alliance between church and state was dangerous to individual liberty and the health of the political realm, Jefferson insisted on strict separation of church and state, denying government any power to direct what citizens should believe or do in matters of religious belief and observance. Jefferson’s proposed system of public education embodied his view that an informed citizenry was essential to the success of republican government. Finally, his measure for proportioning crimes and punishments reflected the profound influence of Marquis Cesare di Beccaria’s (1738–1794) Treatise on Crimes and Punishments (1764), in particular Beccaria’s commitment to humanizing law and setting aside old barbarous punishments as inconsistent with a modern, just legal system. {International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences; 2008}

Although he never confused France with America, Jefferson became an ardent friend of the French Revolution and in time assimilated some of its radical doctrine into his political philosophy. He sought to engender amiability and, wherever possible, to grasp “the smooth handle.” Business was conducted through day-to-day consultation with the secretaries. The cabinet met infrequently, but when it did, usually on critical foreign problems, Jefferson invariably managed to produce a consensus. He led without having to command; he dominated without ruling. {Merrill D. Peterson; A Reference History; 2002; Peterson, Merrill D.}

Liberty of choice and combination of theism, materialism, and determinism

As he viewed the American experiments in government from Europe during the 1780s, Adams lost faith in the political virtue of his countrymen. He saw them repeating the mistakes of Europe, especially in the feverish pursuit of luxury, with its inevitable social and political corruption and its nurturing of class antagonisms. Today we can see how the Tea party and the Republican Party are aiming to go back to the 18th century European tradition and would like to steer to the same mistakes the men in charge of that time had taken.

The French Revolution had further strengthened Adams his belief that political freedom could be preserved only by a balanced government effectively controlling the natural rivalry of men for wealth and distinction and that state and religion should be kept separate. Therefore I do find it so strange Palin is always waving with those bright founders of the American constitution to get the Americans believe in her system which totally opposes the ideas of the founders of the United States of America. It is true that he believed that the quest for equality would inevitably bring chaos and the loss of the freedom that the French revolutionaries sought. He clearly sought constitutional separation of powers.

The Adamses had also been fond of Joseph Priestley, the English scientist and political radical, who attempted to combine theism, materialism, and determinism, a project that has been called “audacious and original”. They where well aware of this man his ideas about Jesus not being God and our task not to worship him like a god. They strongly believed in the free and open exchange of ideas, advocated toleration and equal rights for religious Dissenters, which also led Priestley to help found Unitarianism in England.

So very strange some very conservative Christians who are very devout Trinitarians today use those names to get their ideas in favour and have people to celebrate pagan festivals as their own Christian festivals.

Secularists and their look at religious themes in Christmas celebrations

She seemed to imply that Jefferson, who spent his summers at a home not far from the present-day site of Liberty University, may have been inspired by the religious college founded in 1971 by televangelist Jerry Falwell.

“Thomas Jefferson and his thinking, I believe that much of it fundamentally came from this area, having spent his summers here, having spent influential years here, two miles away from Liberty University,” Palin said. “Man, there’s something in the water, perhaps, around here – again you are fortunate you get to taste it.”

Palin said Jefferson would likely agree that secularists had set their sights on destroying the religious themes in Christmas celebrations.

“He would recognize those who would want to try to ignore that Jesus is the reason for the season, those who would want to try to abort Christ from Christmas,” she said. “He would recognize that, for the most part, these are angry atheists armed with an attorney. They are not the majority of Americans.”

Protection of atheists

Palin said there was a double standard that protected atheists at the expense of the religious.

“Why is it they get to claim some offense taken when they see a plastic Jewish family on somebody’s lawn – a nativity scene, that’s basically what it is right?” she said. “Oh, they take such offense, though. They say that it physically even can hurt them and mentally it distresses them so they sue, right?”

“But heaven forbid we claim any type of offense when we say, ‘Wait, you’re stripping Jesus from the reason, as the reason for the season,’ but heaven forbid we claim any type of offense,” Palin said. “So that double standard, I think Thomas Jefferson would certainly recognize it and stand up and he wouldn’t let anybody tell him to sit down and shut up.”

Though, Thomas Jefferson did not believe in Jesus being God and wanted a free America were people of different opinions could share the land and live in peace together, respecting each-others believes. He believed in a beneficent natural order in the moral as in the physical world, freedom of inquiry in all things, and man’s inherent capacity for justice and happiness, and he had faith in reason, improvement, and progress.

Jefferson’s political thought would become the quintessence of Enlightenment liberalism, though it had roots in English law and government. The tradition of the English constitution gave concreteness to American patriot claims, even a color of legality to revolution itself, that no other modern revolutionaries have possessed. Jefferson used the libertarian elements of the English legal tradition for ideological combat with the mother country. He also separated the principles of English liberty from their corrupted forms in the empire of George III and identified these principles with nascent American ideals. In challenging the oppressions of the empire, Americans like Jefferson came to recognize their claims to an independent nationality. {Encyclopedia of World Biography; 2004}

Was it not the intention of the founding fathers of America to get rid of all the boundaries they had to endure in their different countries at the European continent? Was their intention not only to protect those who had certain believes, be it in the Supreme High Being, in spirits of the world, or in nothing of that sort? And did they not want to protect atheists not at the expense of the religious, and protect the religious not at the expense of atheists ?

Defending her believes in Christmas

EXPRESS-TIMES

Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin signs her new book “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas” and greets customers during an appearance at Barnes and Noble on Nov. 12, 2013, in Bethlehem Township, Pa.

The former vice-presidential candidate has also written a book, Good Tidings and Great Joy – Protecting the Heart of Christmas, published by HarperCollins, about the real meaning of Christmas.

She writes:

A tree is best felled if you do it yourself, preferably from your neighbour’s plot or your own. If you do have to buy a commercial tree, watch out for the ones sold as “holiday”, “pine” or “fir” trees. These are not Christmas trees, and Christmas is all about Christmas! Keep the saw handy: after Christmas you can chop up the tree for your burner.

Buy some felt. Collect some fur from whatever pelts you have about the house. For a really wild “frontier flair”, ask a parent to saw buttons from antlers: any species will be fine. Hoohah! “You won’t find that on Pinterest!”

A gun is a great gift because it opens up a whole world of accessories.

Every year buy the Guiness Book of Records and read aloud from it. One year, you might be in it (as, for example, 2008’s most searched name on the internet).

You may wonder how a Christian can advertise to have guns and how it would not harm to point your 30-06 rifle to an other human being.

Perseverance in retaining enjoyable memories

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palin recounts news stories from recent years—such as a North Carolina college temporarily banning students from selling “Christmas” trees—to mount evidence that there are Americans trying to “destroy” the holiday. She generally refers to her foes as “secular leftists” and waffles between how formidable they are, saying “these guys aren’t just a few malcontents with lawyers” and dismissing them as a “few haters and cranks.” Palin prebuttals critics who would say she’s tackling a “non-existent problem” but doesn’t present any shattering new statistics to move the perennial debate.

A central trope in the book is Palin’s disgust and frustration at people saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” While hitting on various points about the commercialization of the holiday (it’s good, it’s bad, it’s beside the point), she extolls businesses like Hobby Lobby that use religious imagery in advertisements and shames businesses like Target and Wal-Mart who have eschewed ­Christmas for more politically correct terms.

Reviled and marginalized citizens in American society

Palin argues that Christians are being reviled and marginalized in American society — and that Christian faith should be more central to culture, politics, schools and public squares. Some chapters lean heavy on the Evangelicalism, as she recounts Biblical stories and advocates for more Christ in Christmas. “God,” she writes, “is the only cure for what ails us.”

About that last bit she is right. God is the only cure and people should concentrate more on Him, the God of gods, and should abstain from everything which goes against God His rules, the commandments He has given. His commandments make it very clear that people may not bow down in front of human made images (crosses, statues) but also not honour or decorate trees, honouring gods or natural beings. (Is the Christmas tree not a decorated tree?)

Offensive well-wishes

When people say ‘Happy Holidays’ this is considered offensive for Sarah Paling and many conservative Christians in the United States. She does not seem to see that there is no coordinated campaign against uttering Christ’s name but rather, a seeming gradual shift over decades to awareness that not everyone celebrates Christmas. “Happy holidays,” for those who say it, is not disrespectful but a catch-all phrase to which the hearer can impute anything he or she wants; presumably Palin’s faith in the Nativity is not so weak that a person failing to mention Christ in alluding to the celebration could shake it.

Palin’s claim that “the homogenization of the holiday season” is underway is hard to square with the reality that last year, shows including “The Big Bang Theory,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office” and “Grey’s Anatomy” broadcast Christmas specials. In all the Western countries on television and radio stations people can see and hear nothing but Christmas specials. Christmas is inescapable in pop culture from more than a month out — after all, Palin’s Christmas book came out in November, more than a month before the holiday, so that it could be promoted enough and become a holiday sales record.

Critique of “the war on Christmas” and separation of church and state

, staff reporter for Salon’s entertainment section, writes:

This critique of “the war on Christmas” leaves aside a tenet Palin and her fellow warriors hold dear: that Christmas has become more about Santa and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and gifts under the tree than about the glorious birth of Jesus Christ. Per the display copy connected to Palin’s book, “Palin defends the importance of preserving Jesus Christ in Christmas—whether in public displays, school concerts, and pageants, or in our hearts.” It’s hard to come up with a counterargument to this because, aside from the long-standing separation of church and state (not a new practice), no one is preventing those who celebrate Christmas from hosting pageants or keeping Jesus in their hearts.

Celebration for Santa Claus

Jon Stewart waded into the “war on Christmas” on The Daily Show on Tuesday December 3, mocking conservative personalities like Bill O’Reilly, who was driven to ask “what holiday is Santa celebrating?” after seeing a Macy’s ad depicting Santa Claus helping customers with a “holiday gift list,” as opposed to a Christmas gift list.

“That is a good question,”

Stewart said sarcastically.

"Father Christmas" is often synonymo...

“Father Christmas” is often synonymous with Santa Claus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Santa, or Sinterklass (sic), (Sinterklaas) is celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas, which originated in the Netherlands in the Middle Ages and occurs every December 6th. But you might not have heard about that because like every other December holiday, it was long ago sucked into the insatiable black hole that is Christmas.”

Protecting the integrity of Christmas isn’t just about God when you look at all the controversy going on. For Palin Christmas is about patriotism and strangely enough also about the liberty and rights of the American people. Christmas, in Palin’s eyes, is the All-American holiday. Nativity scenes “acknowledge the very real history and identity of the vast majority of our citizens.” (her words) for her. They are according to her a part of “our National Heritage” and should be protected.

A tradition began years after the constitution

The NSM rally on the West lawn of the US Capitol, Washington DC, 2008

To me either she knows and ignores that Americans really began to celebrate Christmas widely only in the second half of the nineteenth century or she wants to get all other thinking people, those with not the same religious believes as her, being pushed in the corner or even better shoved out the country. No wonder so many Neo-nazis are liking her and the weapon industry do not mind providing money for her.

The Americans would do better to think of the reasons why so many left Europe and how many had found out that their church had fooled them with many dogmas. The Puritans who came to the New World to escape religious intolerance in Europe, didn’t celebrate Christmas at all. It was outlawed in New England from 1659-81. The God loving people knew their Bible better than many people today, who keep up the sacred book to wave to the people and shout to them about hell and damnation, but not read it.

Papist extravagance and pagan festivals

The immigrants from the 17th and 18th century wanted to see a New World were people could live together no matter of which denomination they were. But they did not like the Catholic or Papist extravagance. As far as they were concerned “Christmas” was a fourth-century innovation adapted in part from the pagan festival of Saturnalia. To this day there are home-grown American Christians that frown upon the celebration of Christmas because it’s not in the Bible. For them, as for the Puritans, Christmas is a gaudy distortion of the original message of Jesus. Also in many other countries, lots of real God loving people detest any connection with pagan festivals.

In the west of Europe we are full of Celtic and Germanic traditions and so it is understandable that many more people would have problems to desert those heathen activities. The Old colonist had abandoned those rituals, but now the Americans have come back home, into the 17th century Europe.

Danger looming around the corner

Some people may consider Sarah Palin to be a charlatan of no harm because she shall never reach her goal. But they could be mistaken. In Europe we have seen already other ‘charlatan’ who have made it to the top and who have destroyed many other peoples lives. Americans would better look at what happened in Europe, with such nationalism Sarah Palin is trying to imagine or to imprint in the minds of many Americans. Ad some financial crisis’s and we could come back 1930s (if we are not yet there). In Europe we have seen what sort of political figures and monsters it has created. There was also presented an ideal picture of family values, youth camps, and nice family celebrations with national holidays.

First every one shall have to comply with the Christian holidays of a certain Christians group and afterwards no other religious celebrations shall be recognised and would be considered to be an infringement on the national values, even become a danger for the nation. So no Hannukkah any more the state shall say in a few years time, in case the citizens are not careful enough to keep their liberties high in the meaning that liberty is protecting the freedom of the other.

Christians should better notice the trend of the marketeers making all efforts to push the ‘Holiday Season’ trough the throat of every body, making them guilty not to spend enough on Holiday Season Gifts.

Palin doesn’t seek the original Christmas (a fourth-century invention), the traditional American Christmas (they didn’t celebrate it), or consumerism-free Christmas (you Communist!). The festival Palin wants to retrieve is the Christmas of her youth. Palin’s Christmas is a medley of joy-filled eating, present opening, charitable giving, and idiosyncratic family tradition.

Candida Moss writes.

Real Christians should look for the real reason behind the season and be aware of their actions with national, worldly activities and with pagan celebrations..

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Please read also my article on Christadelphian World: Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights

bloggers-for-piece-badgePeace in the community is only possible
when the citizens in that community respect the other people living around them,
no matter which colour or which believes they may have.

Peace can only be there when people are willing to give each other the freedom
to have their own celebrations,
but also by not claiming something as only their own,
forgetting the real historicity.

In case people want to be of the world or in the world that is their own choice.
Christians do have to make the right choice but to respect the choices of others,
having their own celebrations, but distancing themselves from them, not promoting them themselves.

Give peace a chance
and join the movement for peace,
becoming a Peace Blogger.

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Additional reading:

  1. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  2. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  3. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  4. History of Christianity
  5. Birth of Christ – articles
  6. The nativity story
  7. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  8. God’s Special Gift
  9. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  10. Christmas trees
  11. A season of gifts
  12. Sancta Claus is not God
  13. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  14. ‘Tis The Season To Be Cranky: Religious Right Gears Up New Round Of ‘War On Christmas’ Claims
  15. The atheist’s Thanksgiving dilemma  Whom to thank when there’s no recipient?
  16. Religious, political, spiritual—something in common after all?
  17. Double Standard for Americans Celebrating Christmas?
  18. Sarah Palin’s New Book About the “War on Christmas,” As a Recipe
  19. Sorry, Sarah Palin: There’s no war on Christmas
  20. Sarah Palin: ‘Angry Atheists’ Wage War Against Christmas
  21. Jon Stewart skewers Sarah Palin and Bill O’Reilly’s defense of ‘inexorable black hole that is Christmas’
  22. Sarah Palin Is Here to Save Christmas, Thank God
  23. ‘Christmas is evil’: Muslim group launches poster campaign against festive period
  24. Muslims in Malta condemn anti-Christmas poster campaign
  25. Introducing Buy Nothing Christmas + Learn About Buy Nothing Christmas Here.
  26. Tea party has roots in the Dallas of 1963
  27. A small circle taking a nation hostage
  28. Victims and Seekers of Peace
  29. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  30. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God
  31. Warning! Get Out of Her – My People!
  32. American Revolution
  33. Americanism
  34. Constitution, U.S.
  35. Declaration of Independence, U.S.
  36. Enlightenment
  37. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  38. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  39. What Jesus sang
  40. Weekly World Watch 12th – 18th Sept 2010‏
  41. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  42. What do you want for Christmas
  43. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  44. Not bounded by labels but liberated in Christ

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James and his snowman (from the 1982 film) mee...

James and his snowman (from the 1982 film) meet Father Christmas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Rep. Louie Gohmert Still Yammering About Christian Countries Or Whatever (wonkette.com)
    So how is Gohmert trying to help us save us from ourselves and the total destruction of these United States? Supporting increasing the minimum wage? Encouraging the uninsured to enroll in Obamacare? Free abortion on demand? Hahaha, don’t be Ridiculose. Gohmert’s save America plan today is so much simpler than all that commie nonsense.
    +
    we are thiiiiiiiiiis close to the end of America, and we’ve already been teetering on the brink, what with our sex educating of our children, which has practically turned us into the Soviet Union. (Gohmert spent a summer there, you know, so he is A Expert on that too.)
  • Atheist Billboards: Deliciously antagonistic or just a step too far? (theirishatheist.wordpress.com)
    Driving in America is an utter terrifying ordeal, filled with collapsing infrastructure, lunatics behind pieces of large machinery, and completely arbitrary traffic laws an interesting experience. Mainly because as you drive along, you get a good feel for the commercial values of each region of the States in the form of billboards. For example, Wisconsin. A casual traveler through Packer territory will swiftly come to realise that the hardy folk of Wisconsin value cheese, adult videos, and fireworks above all else. Or in Iowa, where they prefer outlet malls, country radio stations, and second-rate Mexican restaurants.
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    I didn’t realise that the Times Square billboard war was continuing until yesterday when Christian author Benjamin Corey wrote an article on the most recent salvo. Mr. Corey identifies himself as a ‘formerly fundie’ progressive Christian who works for a better level of understanding between the various factions of Christianity as well as people of other (or no) religious persuasions. Mr. Corey, having recently written an article deriding the so-called War on Christmas, took issue with the most recent atheist message to go up in Times Square. Sponsored by The American Atheists, the ad essentially asks “Who needs Christ on Christmas?” and proceeds to cross out ‘Christ’ and replace it with ‘Nobody.’
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    Billions of Christians are going to sit down, exchange presents, sing beautiful songs, eat delicious food, go to Mass or services, and show goodwill and kindness to others. Including atheists. And Jews and Muslims and Hindus and everyone else where Christianity is the philosophical majority. Christmas is celebrated for more than a month, it’s probably the singular most influential feature of Western culture. And you know what? It’s Christians who made it that way. Christianity is why I’m guaranteed a few days to be with my loved ones without work hanging over my head. Christianity is why all those pagan practises that they appropriated have survived for thousands of years so they could be enjoyed by us today. Christianity is why Christmas trees are everywhere, why charities do so well this month, and why I can’t listen to “Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel” without cold chills.
  • Louie Gohmert: Atheists should encourage prayer to boost national security (thedailyblogreport.wordpress.com)
    Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) seemingly tied Christianity to U.S. national security during a bizarre speech on the House floor on Thursday, the Huffington Post reported.
  • Louie Gohmert: Atheists should encourage prayer for national security (examiner.com)
    Glenn Beck picked a really bad time to claim the Religious Right was dead. That very same day, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the exact same Congressional representative he vowed he would become the “worst nightmare” of to get him to run for the Senate, embraced one of the most asinine Religious Right talking points possible.
  • The war on Christmas trees (coupleofatheists.com)
    Every year of my life the home I lived in had a Christmas tree. Weather that was when I lived with my Atheist father or during college when I stayed with my Catholic grandparents- the tree was always there. For me, it is a symbol of another year ending and preparing for another to begin. It is a reminder of family memories that could have only been made in its presence. When I was a little girl, Christmas eve was one of the only times that everyone came together- and that has remained true well into my adult life.Christians blame Atheists for the “War on Christmas” but as much as they hate when we object to giant manger scenes on government property… they also are unhappy when we embrace the secular side of the holiday… so what if we turned it on them.

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    There is nothing biblical about the fir tree- that is simply Winter Solstice witch craft… thankfully we are addressing this now so you can (hopefully) make right all the wrongs you have done in regards to disrespecting the celebration of the birth of Christ.

  • Sarah Palin Disgraces History With Claim Adams and Jefferson Support Her War on Christmas (politicususa.com)
    If there is one distinguishing feature unique to conservatives, it is their predilection for war. They will declare war on anything, seemingly for sport, but primarily to advance their sick agendas whether it is war against Muslims, women, the poor, gays, or equality; they just love war. It is interesting then, that conservatives of the Christian persuasion claim there is a war on their religious liberty when they are prohibited from forcing compliance to their religious dogmata on the entire population, and then there is their annual outrage that they are victims of the “war on Christmas.” Of course, the aggressors, according to conservative Christians, in the war on Christmas are the dreaded atheists who, interestingly, enjoy the winter “holiday” season as much as the next American, but resent the fact that any sector of government uses their tax dollars to promote the religious aspect of the uniquely commercial holiday.
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    Thomas Jefferson, a deist, eschewed everything divine about biblical Jesus; particularly what he called the “contrary to the laws of nature” virgin birth and resurrection story. What Jefferson did appreciate about biblical Jesus was the humanitarian ethics of goodwill toward human beings, charity for the poor, and his inherent humanism that Jefferson himself espoused.  To make his point, Jefferson gathered 4 translations of the gospel accounts, edited out each and every “contrary to natural law” part, and compiled humanistic Jesus into his version of the gospels minus Christ’s miracles, Christ as divine, and especially the virgin birth and resurrection. In fact, Founding Father Thomas Jefferson wrote to another Founding Father, John Adams, in 1823 that “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” So much for America’s resident dunce counting on Thomas Jefferson joining her in fighting against “atheists trying to abort Christ in Christmas” or the “reason for the season” that is as absurd as a star guiding wise men to Bethlehem around December 25.
  • Atheists to Bill O’Reilly: ‘Religion does more than just hurt people. Religion kills people.’
    On Friday night on his Fox News Channel show, Bill O’Reilly made a show of attempting to understand the motivations and thinking of the people he deemed “angry” atheists, asking, “Are they that bitter against religion?”
    Raw Story spoke with Dave Muscato of American Atheists, Inc. to find out whether there was any merit to O’Reilly’s charges, which were part of the cable host’s annual protest against the so-called “War on Christmas.”
  • Makes Total Sense: Rep. Louie Gohmert Says If Atheists Want to Be Free, They Should Promote Christianity
    Gohmert previously received some lovin’ on Friendly Atheist when he introduced the Church Act, a bill that exemplified the literal opposite of church-state separation by proposing a plaque to honor the religious services that were once held inside the Capitol. Prior to that, we noted that he openly blamed the deadly mass shooting in the Aurora movie theater on the godless state of American high schools.

Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe

For some years now in Belgium we see a bad evolution, similar as the trend was evolving in the 1930s Berlin.

Media creating an idea of danger

Once a world full of entertainment and “joy de vivre”, without financial restriction the people loved to have their freedom, going out until late in the morning.  Being drunk they passed others, but found themselves, by their anti-social behaviour more looked at. This annoyed them. with the financial crisis they also saw that they could not any more enjoy their going out “a volonté” and could not have so many trips to other countries any more. Aannoying as well was that some cheaper regions became more dangerous because of Muslim Fundamentalists. Those also came more in the news and tried to get more Belgians involved in their ‘road to Damascus’. Sharia for Belgium took care that the Muslim community came in a worse picture, and the media did the rest to present all those Muslims as a danger for our community.

The banks corrupting and the financial market bringing down the people with the little savings while the Jews still kept the thriving market of jewellery. Seeing those sometimes ‘poorly’ black dressed Jews was a sneer in the face of those who envied their money.

Antisemitism is one of the most alarming examples of how prejudice can endure, lingering on for centuries, curbing Jewish people’s chances to enjoy their legally guaranteed rights to human dignity, freedom of thought, conscience and religion or non-discrimination. Despite European Union (EU) and Member States’ best efforts, many Jews across the EU continue to face insults, discrimination, harassment and physical violence that may keep them from living
their lives openly as Jews. Nevertheless, there is little concrete information available on the extent and nature of antisemitism that Jewish people encounter in the EU today – whether at work, in public places, at school or in the media – information critical to policy makers seeking to craft effective solutions to bring an end to such discrimination.

Nazi Anti-Semitic propaganda at Yad Vashem

Nazi Anti-Semitic propaganda at Yad Vashem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Data by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has reported on the available official and unofficial data on antisemitic incidents in its Annual report on Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements, as well as in a separate annual working paper – Antisemitism: Summary overview of the situation in the EU – which presents trends on the available data covering up to 10 years. This provides a long-term view of the developments concerning
antisemitic incidents. These reports are part of FRA’s body of work on hate crime, shining light on the experiences of various groups such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons, immigrants and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities.

The available data fail to answer many questions, however, which are of keen interest to policy makers looking to improve responses to antisemitic acts. Effective solutions require information on the types of antisemitic incidents, the context in which they take place and the reasons why many incidents are not reported at all, indeed, why official statistics markedly underestimate the number of antisemitic incidents and the number of people exposed to these acts.
Furthermore, even the most basic official statistics on antisemitic incidents are not available in many EU Member States.

Need for rallying against something

For some it might be clear that people need something to rally against to stay united. A good example of that we could see in the ‘Cold War’ where we had the West against the East, the Americans against the Soviets. Many do think it was the best time when they had the USA to rally against the USSR. Several Americans do find they have come to sit in a slow-motion train wreck of a divisive, culturally degenerative society ever since the Soviet Union ceased to give them purpose and unity.

Others consider that certain people are looking for it by placing themselves as a separate people. They are convinced that the Jewish religion encourages a separate identity for Jews, asking them to keep themselves apart in certain respects from the cultures they live within. That naturally can lead to conflict. People hate certain Christians for much the same reason. Those who want to follow the Only One God undergo the difficulty of ‘not being of this world’ and still having ‘to be part of this world’. Non-trinitarians are as ridiculed and confounded as the Jews who have the same God of Abraham. (Check in your own environment how people do think for example of Jehovah Witnesses.)

Blamed for suffering

It's not a question of religion, the Jew is of...

It’s not a question of religion, the Jew is of a different race and the enemy of ours. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historically, Jews have had religious traditions and doctrines that have allowed them to thrive (or at least survive) where others have struggled. Because those people did follow the Laws of the Divine Creator somehow they also where protected and blessed by this Creator God. They also seemed to cope better with their struggle for life and their suffering, which was a thorn in the flesh for the people around them who underwent more difficulties with the same problems.

During the Black Plague, Jews washed themselves more often than once a year, which reduced their infection rate; they were blamed.
Due to Christian bans on usury, they were inevitably the money lenders; they were blamed.

Having been able to cope with many diseases, many terrible incidents, every-time springing up again, like not destroyable weed, always forming one union with their community, combined with being members of a highly visible minority where race and religion are not equal but intermingled, is sufficient to trigger envy by others who also look at the actions taken in Israel where walls are build and Palestinians provoked.

2012 Survey

5,847 self-identified Jewish people (aged 16 years or over) in eight EU Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the
United Kingdom gave their answers for the survey which was carried out online during September and October 2012.

Two thirds of the survey respondents (66 %) consider antisemitism to be a problem across the eight EU Member States surveyed, while on average three quarters of the respondents (76 %) also believe that the situation has become more acute and that antisemitism has increased in the country where they live over the past five years. In the 12 months following the survey, close to half of the respondents (46 %) worry about being verbally insulted or harassed in a public place because they are Jewish, and one third (33 %) worry about being physically attacked in the country where they live because they are Jewish. Furthermore, 66 % of parents or grandparents of school-aged children worry that their children could be subjected to antisemitic verbal insults or harassment at school or en route, and 52 % worry that they would be physically attacked with an antisemitic motive while at school or en route. In the past 12 months, over half of all survey respondents (57 %) heard or saw someone claim that the Holocaust was a myth or that it has been exaggerated.

Protecting Jewish people from discrimination

About one quarter of respondents (23 %) said that they have felt discriminated against on the grounds of their religion or ethnic background in the 12 months preceding the survey. Specifically concerning discrimination because of being Jewish, the respondents in all eight EU Member States indicate that they are most likely to experience discrimination at the workplace (11 % of respondents who were working during the period have experienced this), when looking for work (10 % of respondents who have been looking for work) or on the part of people working in the education sector (8 % of respondents in school or training or whose children were in school or training have felt discriminated against by people working in this area). More than three quarters (82 %) of those who said that they have felt discriminated against during the period because they are Jewish did not report the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected them, to any authority or organisation.

Antisemitism on the internet

Antisemitism on the internet – including, for example, antisemitic comments made in discussion forums and on social networking sites – is a significant concern for a majority of respondents. Overall, 75 % of respondents consider antisemitism online to be a problem, while another 73 % believe antisemitism online has increased over the last five years.
More than 80 % of the respondents living in Belgium, France, Hungary and Italy are concerned by the level of antisemitism on the internet which they say has increased either a lot or a little. Antisemitic hostility in public places and antisemitism in the media are the next two manifestations that respondents are most likely to perceive as on the rise.

Meeting the needs of Jewish victims of hate crime

Antisemitism in Budapest Gyermekavasut

Antisemitism in Budapest Gyermekavasut (Photo credit: Yigal Chamish)

One quarter of respondents (26 %) experienced some form of antisemitic harassment in the 12 months preceding the survey – including various offensive and threatening acts, for example, receiving written anti-semitic messages, phone calls, being followed or receiving offensive antisemitic comments in person or on the internet, according to the survey results. Overall, 4 % of respondents experienced physical violence or threats of violence because they are Jewish in the 12 months preceding the survey. Of all respondents, 3 % on average said that their personal property has been deliberately vandalised, because they are Jewish, in the 12 months preceding the survey. A majority of the victims of anti-semitic harassment (76 %), physical violence or threats (64 %), or vandalism of personal property (53 %) did not report the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected the respondent, in the past five years to the police or to any other organisation protecting Jewish people from discrimination The relative position of antisemitism on the list of other social and political issues varies slightly among the EU Member States surveyed. When asked to consider whether each of the items presented is a problem or not in the country where they live, the respondents rated unemployment (85 % saying that it was ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’), state of the economy (78 %) and racism (72 %) ahead of antisemitism (66 %) in terms of the present magnitude of the problem. Anti-semitism was followed as a problem, respondents said, by crime levels (62 %), immigration (59 %), religious intolerance (54 %), state of health services (51 %) and government corruption (40 %). In contrast with other countries, in Germany antisemitism was regarded as the greatest problem (61 %) in comparison to the other issues listed in the survey, such as unemployment (59 %), racism (57 %) or others.

Respondents from all the EU Member States surveyed except of Germany – consider unemployment to be the most pressing issue facing the country where they live.
Over 90 % of respondents in five countries (France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and the United Kingdom) saw the state of the economy as ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’. Respondents in Germany and Sweden seem less concerned with the state of the economy – 41 % and 25 % of the respondents, respectively, said it is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’.

Most pressing social and political issues

Antisemitism was rated among the three most pressing social and political issues in France, Germany and Sweden (85 %, 61 % and 60 %, respectively, considered it ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’). In a pattern that differs slightly from the other survey countries, respondents in Belgium viewed – besides unemployment – crime levels and immigration as the problems which most affect the country where they live (81 % and 80 %, respectively).

Respondents in Hungary and Italy alone considered government corruption to be among the top three problems in the country where they live (94 % of respondents voiced this opinion in both countries). A notable share of respondents in Latvia and the United Kingdom identified the state of health services as a problem (92 % and 69 % of respondents, respectively).

Respondents were also asked whether they felt that antisemitism has increased or decreased during the past five years in the country where they live. Antisemitism is reported to be on the increase – having increased ‘a lot’ or increased ‘a little’ – by a majority of respondents in all eight EU Member States surveyed . The percentage of respondents indicating that antisemitism has increased over the past five years was especially high (about 90 %) in Belgium, France and Hungary. These are also the countries, as shown earlier, where the respondents were most likely to say that antisemitism is ‘a very
big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ today.

Manifestations and Attacks to affect community

Antisemitic attacks have a profound impact not only on the individuals concerned and those close to them, but certain manifestations of antisemitism also affect the Jewish community as a whole.

Among the specific manifestations listed, online antisemitism is seen as a particular problem: three quarters of all respondents (75 %) consider this either ‘a very big’ or a ‘fairly big problem’, and almost as many (73 %) believe that it hasincreased over the past five year.

59 % of the respondents feel that antisemitism in the media is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’, while 54 % say the same about expressions of hostility towards Jews in the street and other public places. Half (50 %) consider desecration of cemeteries to be a problem.

The majority of the respondents in France (84 %), Belgium (74 %) and Hungary (72 %) consider expressions of hostility towards Jews in the street and other public spaces to be ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in the country. In Sweden (51 %) and Germany (48 %), about half the respondents consider it a problem, while in Italy (30 %) or the United Kingdom (35 %) one third of the respondents do so.

Arena’s

Regarding the four arenas where antisemitic comments may occur and comparing the eight survey countries, respondents from Belgium, France and Hungary indicate in particular antisemitic reporting in the media (64 %, 70 %, and 71 %, respectively, to be ‘a very big problem’ or ‘a fairly big problem’) and antisemitic comments in discussions people have (69 %, 72 %, and 76 %, respectively). Respondents in France and Hungary (87 % each) highlight political speeches and discussions. Respondents in Latvia were less likely than those in the other countries surveyed to highlight any of the four arenas as very or fairly problematic with regard to spreading antisemitic content. In Sweden and the United Kingdom, less than half of all respondents consider that  antisemitic content is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in three of the four arenas, with the exception of antisemitism on the internet, for which respondents living in those two countries also give a higher rating, seeing it as a problem.

Prevalence and context of negative statements about Jews

Hearing or seeing statements that offend human dignity by assigning fictional negative attributes to individuals as members of a group can be detrimental to Jewish people’s sense of safety and security and undermine their ability to live their lives openly as Jews. The FRA survey addresses this issue by asking respondents to what extent they have been exposed to certain statements selected for the survey, and whether they consider these statements antisemitic. The statements selected cover various issues including the role of the Jewish community in society, their interests and distinctiveness, attitudes towards historical experiences and current issues. These statements do not necessarily reflect the whole spectrum of antisemitic views or connotations. They were used to guide the respondent into thinking about situations where they may have heard negative comments about Jewish people, in order to identify the contexts in which Jewish people hear these comments and to describe the person or persons who made the comments.
Respondents’ assessments concerning these statements offer an insight into the issues which they consider antisemitic. Respondents’ sensitivity to all things (perceived as) antisemitic has an impact on all of the other survey results.
First, the survey respondents were asked how often they have heard or seen non-Jewish people make these statements, in what contexts they have heard or seen them, and respondents’ perceptions concerning those who made these statements. The information concerning the medium used for making these statements and the context in which they are made can help the EU and its Member States in designing measures to counteract the use of such statements, for example, through awareness-raising and education campaigns.

Worrying level of discrimination

Antisemitism casts a long shadow on Jewish people’s chances to enjoy their legally guaranteed rights to human dignity, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and non-discrimination. The daily insults, discrimination, harassment and even physical violence, with which Jewish people across the European Union (EU) must contend, show few signs of abating, despite EU and EU Member States’ best efforts. Nevertheless, little information exists on the extent and nature of antisemitic crimes to guide policy makers seeking to effectively fight these crimes. This FRA survey is the first-ever to collect comparable data on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, hate-motivated crime and discrimination across a number of EU Member States,  specifically in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Its findings reveal a worrying level of discrimination, particularly in employment and education, a widespread fear of victimisation and heightening concern about antisemitism online.
By shining light on crimes that all too often remain unreported and therefore invisible, this FRA report seeks to help put an end to them.

More to be done

John Mann, chair of the UK’s all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism, said he was shocked by the survey’s results.

“It is extraordinary that 75 years after the terrible events of Kristallnacht, Jews are again living in fear,” he said. “The inaction of the European commission in combating antisemitism is inexcusable.”

Mann said the EU had to do more to co-ordinate Holocaust education work and to crack down on online antisemitism.

“The internet is a classic EU territory because it crosses borders and the EU could have a huge impact – if it had a thorough approach to antisemitism and other hatred and abuse on the internet,” he said.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism and provides security for the UK Jewish community, said the research showed that much more needed to be done to protect Jewish people across Europe.

“In some countries, including Britain, politicians and police are trying to deal with the problem, but these efforts are sorely needed everywhere,” the spokesman said.

“Jews also require basic anti-racist solidarity in all of this – solidarity that has been partial, or deliberately denied, far too often since the year 2000.”

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Ambassador Gutman and the relationship between the inhabitants of Belgium
  2. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  3. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  4. Pupils asked ‘why do some people hate Jews?’ in GCSE exam
  5. What Are The Sources Of Anti-Semitism? or Why do people hate Jews?
  6. Stand Up
  7. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  8. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  9. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #3 Right to Human dignity
  10. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  11. A world in denial
  12. Judeo-Christian values and liberty
  13. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record

In Dutch:

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To me, it demonstrates the outdated mentality of a post-war generation. Too many of us are trapped in an anachronistic mind-set, always looking out for examples of antisemitism, always trying to “catch it on the edge of a remark” (as Harold Abrahams put it in Chariots of Fire).
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Being Jewish today can be a lot of fun. I work and socialise primarily with non-Jews, so I milk the Jewish angle whenever possible. I wear a chai necklace, drop Yiddish words into conversation and grow a beard and a Jewfro during the winter months.

Jews could hardly be better-positioned in our multicultural society, part of the mainstream but retaining a crucial bit of edginess. It’s a good place to be. The same goes for America, where the pollster Mark Penn now uses the voter category, philosemite, to describe people who either wanted to marry a Jew or emulate Jewish values.

Of course I’m not suggesting antisemitism is dead. It is an ancient and insidious prejudice that will exist as long as we do. There is still plenty of antisemitism in Britain, whether it’s troglodyte football fans chanting about Auschwitz or belligerent anti-Zionists obsessing over Jewish media influence.

 

  • EU Study: Jews in Germany Fear Rising Anti-Semitism (spiegel.de)
    The survey’s results provide insight into the perceptions, experiences and self-conception of European Jews. Rather than supplying absolute figures on anti-Semitic attacks, the study focuses on the perceived danger of such attacks and how much the anxiety this causes affects their lives.
    +
    In Germany, the KPMD, a service for registering crimes, has recorded a decline in anti-Semitic crimes since 2009. However, by itself, that says nothing about the perceptions of Jews living in Germany. According to the FRA report, 63 percent of the Jewish respondents in Germany have avoided “wearing, carrying or displaying things that might help people identify them as Jews in public,” such as a skullcap (kippa). Likewise, 25 percent of them claimed to have considered emigrating from Germany in the last five years because they don’t feel safe there.

 

When it comes to the relative seriousness of anti-Semitism, Germany was the only country in which a majority (61%) of respondents said it was the greatest problem. Respondents from the other seven countries believed that unemployment was the most pressing issue.

 

  • Alarming early figures from Euro antisemitism poll (thejc.com)
    In France, thousands of Jews have moved to Israel, North America and Britain. In Hungary, the situation is also very concerning, but very different, deriving from far-right nationalists. Then, there is Malmo in Sweden, widely regarded as the worst example of a local community living in fear.

 

In Britain, we are relatively fortunate. CST and the police have had excellent relations since the 1990s and, over the past decade, our politicians have taken antisemitism increasingly seriously.

Many of our continental cousins look on with envy, and really need this survey to kick-start better responses from local officialdom.

  • Poll: 76% of European Jews Believe Anti-Semitism Is On The Rise in Europe (jpupdates.com)
    On the 75th anniversary of Kristelnacht, the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has released the results of their first poll ever that they conducted on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU. This report, which covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live, will thus be a vital tool for EU decision makers and community groups to develop targeted legal and policy measures.