Sunday, 31 March 2013
'Dies Gloriae', XIV: From Today’s Unknown Murdered Saints To The Forgotten Martyrs Of Our Beginnings
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It is fondly, albeit erroneously, imagined by many people in the West today that the persecution of Christians is something that stopped completely when Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Ancient Rome, embraced Christianity. Would that that were so. Today, Christians are the most persecuted people on earth, bar none. I will not rehash the arguments that I laid out in ‘Dies Gloriea, XI1, but I will remind you that I did say that:

“There is a balanced, nuanced and timely analysis in book form of Christianophobia. It is called ‘Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack’ and it is by Rupert Shortt (who is the religion editor of the Times Literary Supplement), and it's in hardcover and is 320 pages of detailed information. It was published by Rider (UK) on the 1st of November, 2012. Its ISBN-10 is 1846042755 and its ISBN-13 is 978-1846042751.”

I went on to recommend that volume as an invaluable source book about the widespread violence against Christians that is most usually practised by Mohammedans, and I have not changed my opinion.

Apart from documenting the violence against Christians in thirteen countries, and in some areas of other countries, Rupert Shortt makes several pertinent observations in his book, observations such as:

“Atheism feeds off bad religion, especially fundamentalism, whose easily disposable dogmatic certainties now form one of atheism’s main assets. On the other hand, it much harder for atheism to replace the imaginative richness of a mature religious commitment, and the corresponding assurance that life is worth living responsibly, because it has an ultimate meaning. Yet faith is like fire, to cite a sobering analogy. It warms; but it can also burn.”

I’ll grant you that the author’s use of punctuation is peculiarly his own (as is mine, as I’m all too well aware) and that he scatters it like guano on the fields of his prose, but that does not detract from his meanings. He goes on to say:

“Amongst these shared characteristics [of the victims of Christianophobia] is a reluctance – by turns admirable, understandable, and heartbreaking – to tell news of their respective Calvaries. Some brave souls, in obedience to the Sermon on the Mount and St Paul’s appeal in Romans 12:12-14 (‘Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation....Bless those who persecute you’), accept their suffering as a source of unity with Christ. But that does not mean that news of their suffering should be suppressed. Nor, of course, does it exonerate the perpetrators.”

                   [...]               

“On the face of it, the subject [martyrdom] is unpromising territory to anyone who does not share a cluster of faith-based assumptions. Before the crucifixion, Jesus himself represented his coming death in sacrificial terms. A distillation of the scholarly consensus about his mission is supplied by Andrew Chandler and Anthony Harvey in their study of Christian martyrdom in the twentieth century, The Terrible Alternative. Jesus proclaimed the arrival of the Kingdom of God, ‘with all that it entailed in terms of the remission of debt, the espousal of the poor and the marginalized, the casting out of evil spirits and the release of those resources of love, generosity and compassion which are so easily repressed by social convention and misguided religious scrupulosity.’ This mission led to Jesus’s [sic] death, which he freely accepted, sensing that it would have redemptive power for the community of believers he inaugurated.”

Despite the fact that there is a discussion of the circumstances that give rise to martyrdom in Chandler and Harvey’s book – The Terrible Alternative2 – the problem is that it concentrates on just ten prominent twentieth century martyrs for the faith and, consequently, leaves the impression, at any rate for the casual reader, that the killing of Christians for simply being Christian is a rare event. In today’s world nothing could be further removed from the truth.

Anyway, Rupert Shortt does not pull his punches:

“A final area of discussion seems relevant to this overview: the growing belief that Christians are persecuted in the West as well as elsewhere. The expression ‘Christianophobia’ has been used by some to designate what they see as a severe and mounting problem in Europe. I did not coin the term and claim no monopoly on its definition. But research for this book has taken me to Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia to meet people who have lost their loved ones, homes, livelihoods or career prospects because of their faith. Many have themselves been victims of unprovoked violence. This is persecution as I understand it.

The situation in Europe is largely another matter. There is no shortage of thoughtful people, liberal as well as conservative in outlook, who feel that employing the ideology of human rights to assault faith communities is very harmful. When a Christian airport worker is banned from wearing a cross, or a nurse sacked after a role-playing exercise in which he suggested praying for a patient, alarm bells ought to ring. Philosophically minded commentators have spotted a French-style, dirigiste impulse behind much recent equality legislation in Europe and elsewhere. Traditionally, the English model of liberalism defined the space in which governments may not intervene. English-style liberty set the limits of the state. French-style liberty, by contrast, has tended to be imposed by the state. Saluting its place in many contemporary democracies, Jonathan Sacks describes religion as ‘part of the ecology of freedom because it supports families, communities, charities, voluntary associations, active citizenship and concern for the common good. It is a key contributor to civil society, which is what holds us together without the coercive power of the law. Without it we will depend entirely on the state, and when that happens we risk what J.L. Talmon called a totalitarian democracy, which is what revolutionary France eventually became.”

[...]

“Elsewhere in the West today, Christians are mocked or caricatured as soft targets by an irreverent media often much warier about turning its fire on other faith groups, and by an academic establishment sometimes incongruously deferential to political fashion. Anti-Christian blasphemy is common, but public figures who spurn secular multicultural orthodoxies may expect trouble.”

The bold emphasis is mine. You may recognise much of what Rupert Shortt writes as close to, or identical with, the sentiments that I, and others, have expressed here at NER. I would just like to say, as an aside to the main thrust of this article, that J. L. Talmon’s phrase – “totalitarian democracy3 (democracy’s version of Russian soviet marxism and the guiding principle of the European Union) – sums up what most people in Britain feel about the European Union (EU), and opinion polls indicate that most people in the rest of Europe share that view. It is only our politicians and civil servants, who see the EU as a gravy train that will pay dividends once they leave, or are forced out of, national politics or administration, who refuse point blank to entertain the notion of dismantling the appalling almost completely unelected embryonic dictatorship that is, in reality, the EU that we voters know. This is especially true of British and European politicians after they have been elected. The fact that successive governments of the USA have supported, and continue to support, the removal of democracy and freedom in Europe, and actively aid the creation of an even more oligarchical and dictatorial EU, does not fill the citizens of my country (the UK), or those of the other countries of the EU, with any great hope for the future, for once again we see the world’s greatest democracy, the USA, supporting totalitarianism, repression by legal instrument, and the imprisonment without trial (the EDL’s Tommy Robinson, for example) of those whom the strange creatures who run European governments feel are protesting too much against their cherished retirement plan.

That said, let us return to the discussion of persecuted Christians. Rupert Shortt sums up, over several pages, the many, many evidences of the ongoing violent persecution of Christians worldwide that he details in his book, but two passages stand out:

“I trust that this book has helped to establish that Christians are afflicted on a great scale and in many places. I also hope that one of my main secondary arguments has been demonstrated: that the injustice remains under-reported, despite the admirable work of a small number of individuals and NGOs. Part of the reason for this lies with what I earlier called a bien-pensant blind spot. This consists of a generalised belief that religion is a greater source of conflict than other factors such as access to resources or status, or questions of honour, or ethnic or political solidarity, or the use of superior power to exploit or eliminate rivals. The truth is that these elements are permanent features of intergroup relationships. They have continued to provoke strife under secular regimes into the present. The idea that religion is especially to blame derives from an Enlightenment narrative whereby the state, itself a major source of conflict, offloads blame onto Churches and other faith communities in particular.

Despite its pretensions to objectivity, this world view (which is often accompanied by a belief that a secularised providence has led to a liberal God-free present) rests on a pile of lazy assumptions. Since all religions are seen as irrational sources of violent behaviour, this means that when a particular body of believers is targeted, sympathy gets withheld on the basis that the victims would inflict comparable aggression against others were they able to do so. In the case of the Churches, this is compounded by the association over the past two centuries of Christianity with Western imperialism, as though the link between institutions and wielders of power were not a much more general and tangled phenomenon.”

[...]

“The survey [Freedom House think-tank, 2008] makes clear that the greatest curbs on religious freedoms take place in Muslim-majority countries. ‘This pattern parallels problems with democracy, civil liberties and economic freedom, but the negative trend with respect to religious freedom is even stronger,’ the scholar and campaigner Paul Marshall writes” [‘Religious Freedom in the World, p.4, Rowman and Littlefield for the Hudson Institute, 2008]

[...]

“This phenomenon extends outside the Middle East. Islamic democracies such as Indonesia and Bangladesh also score poorly: not, in their cases, because of government repression, but through the spread of Islamist terrorism. These findings are corroborated by an even more recent survey published in Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke’s major study The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-first Century.” [Cambridge University Press, 2010]

The bold emphases are mine. Grim’s and Finke’s study plainly demonstrate that the restricting of religious freedoms is clearly associated with higher levels of violent persecution, and that wherever one encounters the persecution of Christianity one will also find that religious freedom is denied by both government and society at large.

Before moving on I would just like to add that Mr. Shortt’s book, although vastly good as you can see from the passages that I have quoted, suffers from several major deficiencies – in fact, some very important, indeed, deficiencies. Nowhere in his otherwise excellent book does Rupert Shortt actually address the Mohammedan ‘Doctrine of Abrogation’ which plainly states that the verses of peace in the koran have been abrogated by the later verses of the sword. Nowhere does he address the Mohammedan concept of ‘takiya’ – the duty imposed on Mohammedans to lie about their beliefs, especially to non-believers, if in doing so it protects the Mohammedan or his faith. Nowhere does he address the Mohammedan belief that the koran is the literal, dictated to Mohammed and passed down the last fourteen centuries absolutely unaltered, word of G-d and that it contains no errors, as opposed to the Christian belief that says that our Bible is the word of G-d filtered through the fallible minds of fallible men who possessed the G-d-given gift of free will and were, therefore, free to interpret the inspiration of the Word in any way that they thought was correct (that is why we believe that the truth of our faith lies in the Church Universal moved by the Holy Ghost, not absolutely in the Bible – the absolute belief in the Bible as the source of faith is the almost heretical, perhaps even actually heretical, error that the fundamentalist Christians make when addressing the sources of their beliefs). It is because none of these issues are addressed, or perhaps even known about or understood, by him, that he accepts the word of the apologists for Mohammedanism at face value and constantly falls into the trap of thinking that Mohammedanism is just another religion like all the others, which, as you and I know, is manifestly and demonstrably untrue.

When you read the book, as I hope that you will, you will find that these deficiencies spring from Mr. Shortt having, to a certain extent, the self-same dirigiste impulses and bien-pensant attitudes that he, himself, decries in the book, and that these shortcomings, nay, let’s stick with the word ‘deficiencies’, render some of his arguments invalid and some of his analyses logically ridiculous. In fact, it is fair to say that Mr. Shortt does not demonstrate a grasp of Mohammedanism and simply has no concept as to why Mohammedanism is different from every other religion. Indeed, he, in common with so many politicians and so many believers in other faiths, makes that fundamental error right from the outset and it is obvious that he believes that Mohammedanism and Mohammedans can be integrated into modern Western societies and that it and they will adapt – such an obvious fallacy that is quite plain to anyone with even the tiniest knowledge of Mohammedan teachings – and he states that as the case right from the very beginning of his otherwise admirable book.

Moreover, Rupert Shortt’s approach to Western imperialism in this book is very much one that demonstrates that he has no, or very little, understanding of the motivations behind our ancestors’ imperial adventures – he judges them, and condemns them and the Christianity that they took with them on these adventures, using present-day, and extremely left-wing, values and philosophical statements; that is not the mark of even a half-way competent historian and his repeated attempts throughout the book to judge the past by the standards of the present just become boring and annoying. Frankly, he is an unquestioning historical revisionist of the worst kind – the kind motivated by a belief in socialism as a panacea for all of society’s ills. All that said, however, Rupert Shortt has produced an invaluable study of the near-current state of the persecution of Christians world-wide and I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it to you for its factual content as well as for some, but not by any means all, of its arguments and analyses.

Let us move on from Rupert Shortt’s excellent book. The actual number of Christians killed by their persecutors each year is hard to quantify. Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), reported in AD2011, at a conference on Christian-Jewish-Muslim interfaith dialogue in Hungary, that Christians killed every year for their faith number 105,000, and that that number includes only those put to death simply because they are Christians. It does not count the Christian victims of civil or international wars, nor those permanently maimed or recoverably injured (by their persecutors as opposed to in warfare of some sort). He said at the conference:

"If these numbers are not cried out to the world, if this slaughter is not stopped, if it is not acknowledged that the persecution of Christians is the first worldwide emergency in the matter of violence and religious discrimination, the dialogue between religions will only produce beautiful conferences but no concrete results."

As of today’s date there has been no acknowledgment of the problem by any Western government and there are no concrete results. Introvigne’s figure of 105,000 – that’s one Christian soul persecuted to death by non-Christians every five minutes of every day of every year – is probably inaccurate, for it is difficult (if not almost impossible) to be sure of the exact number, but it is an indicator and it will likely grow year on year.

Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke’s major study 'The Price of Freedom Denied, etc', which I mentioned above, places the annual figure closer to 160,000, but it should be noted that there are other sources that state that the figure could be as high as 300,000 – that’s roughly three Christian people being killed every five minutes. ‘Aid to the Church in Need’, a Roman Catholic missions agency, states that between 130,000 – 170,000 Christians are martyred for the faith each year. The agency’s current figure is released every year in the ‘International Bulletin of Missionary Research’, but, of necessity, it is probably only a very well informed guess and it would mean, if one accepts the mid-point figure of 150,000, that the figure works out at about three Christians being murdered every ten minutes. WorldNetDaily ran a report in AD2010 that put the figure for AD2008-09 at 176,000 Christians killed for their faith – roughly one Christian person martyred every three to three-and-a-half minutes. That figure was provided by Open Doors and their World Watch List colours an awful lot of the globe as dangerous for Christians:

World Watch List 2013

Naturally, most, but not all, of the dangerous countries on the map have a majority of Mohammedans in the population. There are many stories about Mohammedanism making a true difference in the world - one body at a time that have to be read in this context. The AD2011 Pew Forum report helps one in estimating the number of Christians who live under an anti-Christian government – that figure is anywhere between 200 million and half-a- billion, depending on how one interprets the figures in the raw data – but no matter what the size of that figure is one must take it together with the figure for the number of Christians martyred each year, and then combine both figures with the figures for the number permanently maimed or recoverably injured each year, and then ask oneself why there is no outcry from Western governments or from the Western media. Better still, ask your government representative (M.P. or Senator or Congressman or whatever) and the editor of your local paper or TV news service. You won’t get an answer, but you will get laughed at and derided as a loony G-d botherer.

Anyway, using the most conservative of figures there are a few things about the current persecution of Christians that can be said. Well over half of all the Christians who have ever died for their faith at the hands of non-Christians (almost exclusively Mohammedans) have been murdered in the last seventy years – somewhere between 40,000,000 and 70,000,000. In that same period only around 2,000,000 Mohammedans have been killed for their faith by non-Mohammedans (around about another 60,000,000 have been killed by other Mohammedans – it is a belief system that preaches the most savage of violence). It's anticipated that by AD2025 some 250,000 Christians will be slaughtered each year by non-Christians (almost exclusively by Mohammedans).

There are many myths about the persecution of Christians that our Western governments peddle to keep us quiet and make us feel better. Chief amongst the tall stories that we are told is the one that states that 'the church grows when it is persecuted'. That's just plain rubbish! Due to persecution, the number of Christians in Turkey, for example, has dropped from 18% (some say that the figure was 32%) to 0.2% of the population in the last seventy years. In Syria the number of Christians is currently dropping like a stone. In Iran the number of Christians has gone from 9.5% of the population just before the Shah was ousted to well under 2%, and in Iraq, the home of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the number has dropped catastrophically from 10% to under 2% of the population since the allies invaded. Wherever Christians are persecuted, especially by Mohammedans, then their numbers plummet and our Western governments couldn’t care less if they tried to.

Then we are often told not to worry because the people who are martyred are usually church leaders or evangelists (active spreaders of the faith), which, apart from being complete bunkum, implies that somehow they deserved to die. However, most of the Christians who have been murdered have never openly confessed their faith to anyone outside of their own community of believers. Often they get swept away in a flood of ethnic cleansing or religious hatred, or they are condemned to a lingering death in war torn regions. Prison camps have been more common that Calvaric crosses over the last hundred years. All too often government officials tell us this silly story (that Christians are primarily martyred because of their open and noisy confession of their faith) and it's just plain rubbish, and it again implies that they would be alright if they just hid their Christianity. In other words: that it's their own fault that they were murdered.
 
We are also fed the lie that our martyrs die glorious and victorious deaths, rejoicing to suffer for Jesus. That's just codswallop, most of them are poor, frightened and lonely – though their outstanding bravery in never denying Christ should be an example to us all. They are simply mothers, children, husbands, workers and students, ordinary folk like you and me, just trying to make a living and being forced into a position in which they have to fight for their lives. The implication of this lie is that it's just a very few people who are murdered so there's nothing to worry about, and anyway surely you believe that they've all gone to Heaven so why should you get upset.
 
Any lie is good enough so that the apparatchiks of our Western governments, and the incompetents in our main stream media outlets, don't have to face up to what they set in motion when they started to undermine the place of Christianity in our societies. Some brave people such as Raymond Ibrahim (his site is here) do their very best to document and record the Mohammedan Persecution Of Christians, and of course there are many sites on the web that are dedicated to repelling the Mohammedan invasion of our countries that report some of the incidents of persecution as they find out about them. However, the full story, with accurate numbers, is almost impossible to find out and accurately report on.

Christians, of course, have gone through several great persecutions. The very first of them started shortly after Christ ascended into Heaven and our forebears began to spread the Word. We have absolutely no idea how many Christians died for the faith in the ancient Roman persecutions (and in the persecutions elsewhere in the ancient world such as those in Persia). We have some little idea of numbers in other, later, persecutions; for example, we know that around about 300,000 Christians, mostly Roman Catholics, were murdered in Japan in AD1630 (horribly, we also know that seventy of them were crucified upside down on a beach at low tide so that they would drown when the tide came in). We also know that in the 1920s and 1930s over 200,000 Russian Orthodox priests, monks and nuns were slaughtered by the communists – many of them were crucified by being nailed to the doors of their churches or they were stripped naked, doused with water and left to freeze to death in the viciously cold winter air. Let us not forget China whilst we are talking about communist atrocities: in the so-called cultural revolution in that country somewhere between half-a-million to one-and-a-half-million Christians were deliberately murdered by government forces simply for being Christians and therefore not Chinese enough.

We have stories from the Mohammedan world that, if found to be true, are extremely horrifying in the barbarity betokened by them. For example, we are told that one Iranian convert to Christianity who was arrested inside that country was injected with a radioactive material before being released so that he might die a slow death (from this site). In the Sudan we know that as many as two-and-a-half million Christians have probably been killed by Mohammedans since AD1950 and an untold and countless number of others sold into slavery by those self-same Mohammedans and sent throughout the Mohammedan world to live in the most awful of conditions.

In the rest of Africa the record is hardly any better; we all know the violence being meted out to Christians today by the devil-inspired Mohammedans of ‘Boko Haram’ in Nigeria – a violence that that country’s central government is reluctant to do anything about – but the historical record is no better. In the 1970s as many as half-a-million Christians were killed by the Mohammedan dictator, Idi Amin, in Uganda, and at the beginning of the 1990s half-a-million out of the 700,000 Rwandans who were killed in the racist ethnic cleansing genocide in their country were Christians and many, many of them were deliberately targeted simply because they were Christian – an aspect of the killings that the Western main stream media simply refused to report. Africa, today, is no better than it ever was – witness the demon-driven Mohammedan persecution of Christians in Tanzania (see here): a country that is rapidly developing into the centre for the persecution of Christians throughout East Africa (WND has an upsetting story about one particular, very recent, incident in Tanzania that exposes Mohammedanism for exactly what it is – a savage, brutal and barbaric, racist and fascist, extremely intolerant and psychopathic belief system that was spawned in hell and was spread by a demon from the pit called Mohammed).

We are seldom able to know, or record, the details of those Christians who are murdered for the faith. Those committing the crime, usually savages of the Mohammedan persuasion, make sure that their victims are rarely granted the opportunity to be remembered as individuals, for in that way they seek to avoid creating martyrs and they can tell lies about their victims with impunity. It was ever thus, and our demon-foundered Mohammedan persecutors are merely following the ages-old pattern of persecution that we Christians know so well. Mission Network News frequently reports on the sufferings of Christians all over the world and is absolutely up to date in its interview section, and I have found it to be, so far, a very accurate site.

Having read this far you are probably asking yourself: ‘When is he going to get to this weeks saints?’ Very well, let me proceed in that direction. I often draw your attention to saints the details of whose lives and deeds have been lost. I always ask you to join me in remembering, commemorating or venerating them as best we can. This week, given that which I have written in the foregoing, I am going to ask you to commemorate the often almost completely unknown martyrs of our earliest persecutions, the ones that happened throughout the empire under the ancient Roman imperial rule because they, the first Christians and the founders of the Church Universal are in danger of becoming the most forgotten martyrs of all.

On the thirty-first of March I want you to join with me in commemorating Saint Felix, Saint Cornelia, Saint Abda, Saint Anesius and Saint Theodolus who were all martyred in Roman proconsular Africa. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is known for a certainty about these saints for nothing has reliably come down to us. There are many, many stories that are sometimes linked to them but invariably one finds that the stories were written a considerable number of centuries after their deaths and are most likely to be pious works of fiction. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

The first of April is the day for the commemoration of Saint Theodora of Rome and Saints Irenaeus and Quintian of Armenia. Once again, I cannot tell you their stories for nothing but strange fictions has survived the centuries. We only know their names and where they were martyred, but we suspect that Saint Theodora was martyred in AD125. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

Saint Theodosia is a martyr well worthy of commemoration on the second of April for she was murdered when she inadvertently got caught up in the hysteria (a hysteria that reminds me of the violent mob mentality of our modern day Mohammedan persecutors) surrounding the slaughter of some other Christians whilst she was on a visit to Caesarea (in modern Israel) in AD308. She stopped to speak to them whilst they were being taken to the place whereat they were going to be murdered, and she was immediately seized, tortured and murdered by being thrown into the sea. That’s all we know about her except that legend has it that she was very young and that she came originally from Tyre. Remember her, an almost forgotten soul, for she, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith, all because she sought to give words of comfort to Christians about to be martyred. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

On the third of April please join with me in remembering and commemorating Saint Benignus of Tomi and Saint Evagrius of Tomi. They were martyred at Tomi on the Black Sea. Nothing at all has come down to us concerning them, save the insertion of their names in the old Martyrologies. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

Saint Agathopus the Deacon and Saint Theodolus the Lector are my saints for the fourth of April. We do know a very little about them, and that is that they were martyred together during the persecution of the Emperor Maximian Herculius for refusing to surrender holy books, and that history records that they were both drowned by being thrown into the sea off Thessalonica with stones tied around their necks in AD303. That, however, is all that we know; we don’t know what books they were protecting nor why the holy books were being demanded of them, we know only that they did not surrender the holy books. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

The fifth of April brings us to Saint Theodore the Martyr, Saint Pausilippus the Martyr and Saint Zeno the Martyr. Saint Theodore and Saint Pausilippus were martyred in the persecutions of the Emperor Hadrian sometime around AD130, and that is all we know about them. Saint Zeno is recorded as having been burned alive, but we don’t know when or where in the Roman Empire that that took place, and we know nothing else about him. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

On the sixth of April I want to memorialise the two groups of martyrs that suffered at Sirmium, modern Mitrovica in the Balkans. One group of seventy was slain probably in AD303, and another group of seven girls and women were murdered later in the same year. Nothing is reliably known about any of these martyrs excepting some of their names: Saint Florentius, Saint Geminianus, Saint Moderata, Saint Romana, Saint Rufina and Saint Secundus who are the saints commemorated today. All the stories about them were written down centuries after their murders and are most likely to be works of pious fiction, although one cannot discount the persistence of folk tales that harbour some germ of a fact in the overblown details of the story That might have contributed to what must be, perforce, mostly pious fictional accounts. Saint Anastasia of Sirmium died in these persecutions and we do know that she has long been venerated as a healer and exorcist, and that her relics lie in the Cathedral of Saint Anastasia in Zadar in Croatia. Incidentally, she is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. However, that, as usual, is all we know about these early martyrs. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

I also want to commemorate on the sixth of April the Martyrs of Hadiab. I’m going to leave it to the Reverend Father Alben Butler to tell you about them in an extract from his great work ‘The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints’ published between AD1756 and AD1759 (online here or alternatively at this site):

“In the fifth year of our persecution, say the acts, Sapor being at Seleucia, caused to be apprehended in the neighboring places one hundred and twenty Christians, of which nine were virgins, consecrated to God; the others were priests, deacons, or of the inferior clergy. They lay six months in filthy stinking dungeons, till the end of winter: during all which space Jazdundocta, a very rich virtuous lady of Arbela, the capital city of Hadiabena supported them by her charities, not admitting of a partner in that good work. During this interval they were often tortured, but always courageously answered the president that they would never adore the sun, a mere creature for God; and begged he would finish speedily their triumph by death, which would free them from dangers and insults.

Jazdundocta, hearing from the court one day that they were to suffer the next morning, flew to the prison, gave to every one of them a fine white long robe, as to chosen spouses of the heavenly bridegroom; prepared for them a sumptuous supper, served and waited on them herself at table, gave them wholesome exhortations, and read the holy scriptures to them. They were surprised at her behaviour, but could not prevail on her to tell them the reason. The next morning she returned to the prison, and told them she had been informed that that was the happy morning in which they were to receive their crown, and be joined to the blessed spirits. She earnestly recommended herself to their prayers for the pardon of her sins, and that she might meet them at the last day, and live eternally with them.

Soon after, the king‘s order for their immediate execution was brought to the prison. As they went out of it Jazdundocta met them at the door, fell at their feet, took hold of their hands, and kissed them. The guards hastened them on, with great precipitation, to the place of execution; where the judge who presided at their tortures asked them again if any of them would adore the sun, and receive a pardon. They answered that their countenance must show him they met death with joy, and contemned this world and its light, being perfectly assured of receiving an immortal crown in the kingdom of heaven. He then dictated the sentence of death, whereupon their heads were struck off.

Jazdundocta, in the dusk of the evening, brought out of the city two undertakers, or embalmers for each body, caused them to wrap the bodies in fine linen, and carry them in coffins, for fear of the Magians, to a place at a considerable distance from the town where she buried them in deep graves, with monuments, five and five in a grave. They were of the province called Hadiabena, which contained the greatest part of the ancient Assyria, and was in a manner peopled by Christians Helena, queen of the Hadiabenians, seems to have embraced Christianity in the second century. Her son Izates, and his successors, much promoted the faith; so that Sozomen says the country was almost entirely Christian. These one hundred and twenty martyrs suffered at Seleucia, in the year of Christ 345, of king Sapor the thirty-sixth, and the sixth of his great persecution, on the 6th day of the moon of April, which was the 21st of that month. They are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on the 6th.”

Once again, we really don’t know anything about any of the individual martyrs of Hadiab. Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith and their graves, such as they are now, are in the lands currently suffering under the illegal occupation of the devil-lauding Mohammedans. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith this very day (may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair).

So, no great and entertaining stories of interesting saints this week – just the scant few details that have come down to us about the a very few of the vast number of the martyrs of our beginnings – just a few randomly selected by me, and that’s all the remembrance, quite likely, that they will receive. They died in Christ and for the Faith. This Eastertide seems like a very appropriate time to say to you one last time, and I hope that you pray this with me:

“Remember them, these almost forgotten souls, for they, like our many faithful martyrs of today, died for and in the Faith. Remember, too, all the martyrs for the Faith who have perished throughout the ages and pray for the souls of those many martyrs, also, who will die for and in the Faith on this very day, and may G-d ease their suffering and grant that they do not despair. We ask this in Christ’s name. Amen.”

Martyrs for the Faith are murdered, usually by the vile Mohammedans, every day. Such are Dies Gloriae – the Days of Glory – as we live them.

Footnotes:

1) You can easily find all the other ‘Dies Gloriae’ posts in this series by clicking on the link and scrolling down as needful.

2) 'The Terrible Alternative' by Andrew Chandler and Anthony Harvey, Paperback, 224 pages, Mowbray (UK), AD1998, carrying ISBN-10: 0304702870 and also ISBN-13: 978-0304702879.

3) 'The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy' by J. L. Talmon, Paperback, 356 pages, Sphere (UK), AD1970, carrying ISBN-10: 0722183569 and also ISBN-13: 978-0722183564.

 

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Posted on 03/31/2013 6:45 PM by John M. Joyce
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
In Honor Of Passover, Muslims Loot And Burn Synagogue In Damascus To The Ground
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Reports: Synagogue in Damascus looted and burned

Jewish Telegraphic Agency-3 hours ago
The 2,000-year-old synagogue is said to be built on the site where the prophet Elijah anointed his successor Elisha as a prophet.
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Posted on 03/31/2013 12:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Leaves of Fall
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by Robert Tilewick (April 2013)


It didn’t have to start out this way.

In the beginning we both believed in . . .  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:55 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Listening To Corvids On A Spring Morning
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by David Asia (April 2013)


A murder of crows

A clamor of crows

A clash

A mash

A marauder of crows,  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:51 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Mating
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by Moshe Dann (April 2013)


Sam stood on the levee, water splashing against his high rubber boots, another useless sandbag at his feet. They had been trying to hold back the South Fork for days, but each time they’d built the levees higher the river crested again, spilling over the sides, threatening to sweep away everything in its path.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:45 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Equality for Muslim Women will be the Death Knell of Islam
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by Jake Neuman (April 2013)


Egypt warns giving women some rights could destroy society

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -Egypt‘s ruling Muslim Brotherhood warns that a U.N. declaration on women’s rights could destroy society by allowing a woman to travel, work and use contraception without her husband’s approval and letting her control family spending.

The Islamist party of President Mohamed Mursi outlined 10 reasons why Muslim countries should “reject and condemn“ the declaration; The Brotherhood, which helped to elect Morsi to power in June, posted the statement on its website, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:40 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Green Banner of Batu Khan
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by Alexander Maistrovoy (April 2013)


Following the prayer in the Moscow's Cathedral Mosque, during his visit in February 2010, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal admitted that in the Council of Muftis of Russia, to him it felt like home. While it probably pleased the Russian leaders, in reality these words should have alarmed them. Whether it was Mashaal’s intention or not, this acknowledgment could be perceived as a prophecy: a dawn of Islamic fundamentalism illuminating the future of the northern superpower.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:36 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Thoughts on Joe Paterno One Year Later
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by Richard Kostelanetz (April 2013)


The late Penn State football coach was a distinguished alumnus of a university, Brown (mine), and of Brooklyn’s Jesuit high school whose distinguished intellectual alumni are more numerous, even though it no longer exists. Returning from WWII he entered Brown not at 18, as is still customary, but just before his 20th birthday, thanks to a personal scholarship provided both to him and his younger brother George by a local comic-book distributor. It was a time when Italian-Americans were scarce at private universities, let alone those in the WASPy Ivy League, not only because of discrimination against them, but also because Italian-American parents didn’t believe a college education worth time and money. (Nor around 1950 did my Sephardic Jewish relatives.)  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:32 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
The Minor Rage of a Missed Flight
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by NB Armstrong (April 2013)


We are slow onto the motorway out of Leicester, and slow changing drivers at Leicester Forest East. The new driver expresses his pleasure that we are late. It has allowed him longer to eat his breakfast and, I guess from his smell, to smoke an extra cigarette. The two drivers talk about corrupt colleagues claiming vouchers on buses carrying no passengers as we crawl down the M1. This is when it also becomes apparent that I am going to miss the flight.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:16 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
A Wonder to Behold
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by Geoffrey Clarfield (April 2013)


Within a short time after the Buddha’s death, his followers began to bury his remains and relics underneath round buildings called Stupas. Despite the extremely simple teachings of this Hindu rebel so much of the Hindu tradition of ancestor worship and polytheism quickly crept back into this new faith, so that at times it can look indistinguishable from the tradition that it rejected. And so, I asked the project driver, a Buddhist from eastern Nepal, to take me to Swayambhunath, a large hill crowned by a Stupa and dotted with monasteries in its lower reaches. The whole complex is located on the outskirts of Kathmandu and in its upper reaches gives one a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding wooded hills, some of which like Nagarjun are topped by their own monastery.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:08 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Virgins and Drupes
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by G. Murphy Donovan (April 2013)

            
“The only virgin in my town is the olive oil.” -  Alfredo Cotsamano


There was a time when I thought a virgin was a blind date, a girl or chap that, for whatever reason, didn’t get out much. And then as a tween, I heard the expression “extra virgin,” a hint that there might be more than one.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 8:03 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
How it Ends
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by Fergus Downie (April 2013)


Part 1

Slouching To Despotism

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits. - Alexis de Tocqueville

more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:55 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Cavaradossi's Bullets
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by John Broening (April 2013)


“Are you familiar with Tosca? We were in Professor Shulman’s office on the second floor of the music building, in a room just big enough for a metal desk and a Steinway baby grand. Professor Shulman sat bolt upright at the piano. He was, I suspected, putting off having to comment on my submission for the week, a setting for clarinet and voice of a short piece of self-pitying juvenilia by Philip Larkin.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:51 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Must We Burn Derrida?
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by Mark Gullick (April 2013)


In 1951, Simone de Beauvoir published an essay entitled Faut il Brûler Sade?, or Must We Burn Sade?, in which she attempted to extract something from the texts of the notorious Marquis other than violent pornography. Roland Barthes would go on to attempt the same exercise, as would another French writer who, in our ideologically divided age, arouses as much horror in certain quarters as Sade did more generally in his own times; Jacques Derrida. But perhaps here is a heretic we must absolve at the stake.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:47 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Orianna Fallaci, Woman of Valor
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by Norman Berdichevsky (April 2013)


Orianna Fallaci (1930-2006) is one of three outstanding women journalists and writers who were lionized as heroines of the Left, only later to be rejected, scorned and attacked as traitors to the cause of feminism. The other two were Sigrid Undset and Pilar Rahola - see New English Review, "A Forgotten Heroine of the Norwegian Resistance" (August 2012) and "Pilar Rahola, Woman of Conscience" (July 2012). more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:42 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Morality, Hawk-Eyed and Pigeon-Toed
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by Theodore Dalrymple (April 2013)


There were scenes of ferocious violence not far from my house yesterday. They were unexpected because I live, when I am in England, in an ancient and peaceful close around a church. Next door to me but three is a charming sixteenth century timber-framed building on whose whitewashed walls are inscribed the words ‘In this house lived the learned and eloquent Richard Baxter 1640 - 1641.’ For a number of years I misread the words ‘learned and eloquent,’ as ‘learned and elegant,’ probably because I found them more interesting and – well, elegant.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:38 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Tragedy and Comedy in Timon of Athens
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by David P. Gontar (April 2013)

I.  Introduction: Tragedy Meets Comedy

In The Most Lamentable Roman Tragedy of Titus Andronicus, after enduring a series of unspeakable losses, including the sacrifice of a hand, and the beheading of two sons whom that manual sacrifice was meant to protect and liberate, Titus in his boundless melancholy begins to laugh. As he sees the pair of heads and his detached hand brought in on a platter, he reacts as though he'd heard a clever joke. His brother Marcus objects.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:33 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Infinity, Eternity and the Absolute
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by Rebecca Bynum (April 2013)


According to scientists, the high priests of our age, our present universe was created at a specific point in time, some 13.81 billion years ago, with the explosion of a material “singularity” of infinite density, pressure and temperature which existed within an infinite void. In other words, all matter, which according to these scientists, is the only reality, was compressed into a single, infinite point and then that point spontaneously exploded, distributing matter through space.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:29 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
No Cant in Immanuel
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by Theodore Dalrymple (April 2013)


My late friend, the development economist Peter Bauer, had the most beautiful manners: so beautiful that I took them for my model. Alas, I could never equal them for, though not particularly ill-mannered, I have always to remember to behave well. Just as style in prose should be imperceptible, as the uniquely perfect vehicle for what is said and indissoluble therefrom, so manners should be unconscious, not added to conduct but intrinsic to it.  more>>>

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Posted on 03/31/2013 7:24 AM by NER
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Sunday, 31 March 2013
Stomp Jesus and Modern Blood Libel at Florida Atlantic University
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Dr. Deandre Poole                                   Dr. Charles Brown, SVP, Student Affairs       Florida Governor Rick Scott

Florida Atlantic University                           Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has two problems in the combined Passover Easter Holy Week: "Stomp Jesus" and a modern blood libel perpetrated by Muslim Student extremists in blatant anti-Semtic and anti-Israel incidents.  The "Stomp Jesus" incident furor led to a  request for an investigation  by Florida Governor Rick Scott in a letter to the Florida State University System Chancellor this past week, while the other matter  deserves equal  and immediate attention.

BizPac has a follow up story to the "Stomp Jesus" story at troubled  FAU.  Dr. Dandre Poole, the intercultural communications professor has been placed on 'administrative leave'  The reports of the "stomp Jesus"  have gone viral and the FAU administrative was caught in a fire storm, of protests. The furor  led to a rebuke in a letter  to the Chancellor of the Florida State University System from Governor Rock Scott sent this past Tuesday.  The Miami Herald noted Governor Scott's comment on the affair:

Scott penned a letter to State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan demanding an investigation. “I am requesting a report of the incident, how it was handled and a statement of the university’s policies to ensure this type of ‘lesson’ will not occur again,” Scott wrote.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/03/26/3308217/jesus-stomping-incident-at-fau.html#storylink=cpy

The Miami Herald noted the  background   of the FAU 'Stomp Jesus' classroom exercise:

Earlier this month, FAU instructor Deandre Poole told students in an intercultural communications class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper, throw it on the floor and stomp on it. Ryan Rotela, a junior at FAU’s Davie campus, later complained he was thrown out of class when he refused to participate.

‘no value’

“Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value,” Rotela told CBS12, a West Palm Beach television station.

Rotela, who describes himself as a devout Mormon, went to Poole’s supervisor two days later to discuss the incident.

FAU officials defended the professor last week, but Rotela told The Palm Beach Post that he and an attorney from the Texas-based Liberty Institute met with FAU Dean of Students Cory King at the school’s Boca Raton campus on Monday and received an apology and a pledge that the disciplinary charges against him would be dropped.

“He apologized in person for what happened and how everything went out of control,” Rotela, 21, who lives in Coral Springs, told the newspaper.

Now, following the apology to Rotela,  BizxPac reports that FAU has put  Dr. Poole being given 'administrative leave":

The professor behind the controversial “Stomp Jesus” classroom assignment has been placed on administrative leave for safety reasons, according to a statement released Friday by Florida Atlantic University.

The school has seen a nationwide outcry since a student complained that professor Deandre Poole instructed his intercultural communications class earlier this month to write the name “Jesus” on a  piece of paper and then stomp on it.

FAU brought the student, Ryan Rotela, up on academic charges Monday, then reversed course, dropping all charges and issued an apology.

Lisa Metcalf, Director, Media Relations, said in Friday’s statement:

FAU instructor Deandre Poole, Ph.D., has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately for safety reasons. As a result of the reaction to a recent exercise in Dr. Poole’s intercultural communications class, the instructor’s personal safety has been compromised.

In addition, this decision will prevent further disruption to the day-to-day operations of Florida Atlantic University.

Because of this, Dr. Poole will not teach any classes, conduct office hours, or be present at any of FAU’s campuses or sites. Alternate instructors have been assigned to teach Dr. Poole’s classes. Students have been notified and classes will continue as scheduled.

As first reported on BizPac Review, Poole is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party and his recent actions add to a disturbing pattern of religious intolerance displayed by the local party.

The "Stomp Jesus" incident  at FAU is not the only concenrnng matter. There is  evidence of anti-Semtisism and even charges of modern blood libel arising from  incidents perpetrated by Students for Justice in Palestine plastering eviction notices on dorm rooms of Jewish Students in 2012.  Virtually a year ago, we noted in an Iconoclast  blog post what occured at FAU with the connivance of the ADL rebuked by the ZoA:

In the current instance, note how pusillanimous the behavior of the political correct FAU administration has been on this latest attack against Jewish students coupled with the disingenuous efforts of the ADL.  Then wonder why American Jews contribute to this lamentable Jewish defense effort .

Note what Jerrold Sobel wrote in The American Thinker  about the creation of this modern Blood Libel by Muslim extremists at FAU in 2012  and the lack of action by the Administratio that gave rise to  protests in 2013:

Most disturbing, on many campuses this calumny is more than tacitly supported by the administration, most egregiously in Boca Raton Florida at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Dead babies, apartheid walls, and once again, mock eviction notices placed on student dorms and calls for Israel's destruction; all part of a troubling pattern of extreme activism perpetuated by the aforementioned anti-Semitic nationwide organization Palestine Security Committee, also known as Student Justice For Palestine (SJP).

FAU is a university with an anti-Semitism problem and an irresponsible administration helping to make things worse. In January 2011 FAU's SJP, along with other chapters from universities around the state participated in an organizing conference sponsored by the American Muslims for Palestine organization (AMP). The objective of the meeting was to have SJP become more effective in its efforts by having experienced anti-Israel activists provide training, and to help regional chapters coordinate with each other and share their resources. AMP is a well-funded, professional organization with ties to Islamic radicals and supporters of terrorism against Israel. It specializes in targeting vital parts of the educational system, primarily libraries, high schools, university curricula, and student organizations. Flown in to lead the conference was one of the leaders of the now infamous Irvine 11, who were convicted of systematically harassing Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to the point that he was unable to deliver a lecture at the University of California. So much for the free interchange of ideas.

Rather than heed the warnings and evidence it received, Florida Atlantic University's administration applied no scrutiny to SJP as it increased its radical activities on campus. A steady stream of anti-Semites and anti-Israel firebrands have been reaching into campus with the goal of radicalizing the students. As a result, the activities and messaging of SJP have steadily become more aggressive. FAU's indifference to anti-Semitism appears directly attributable to Dr. Charles Brown, the University's Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. Prior to his joining FAU in 2006, Dr. Brown served in similar positions at Wayne State University in Detroit and the University of South Florida in Tampa, two of the most notoriously venomous anti-Israel universities in the country. His time at USF immediately followed the indictment of Professor Sami Al-Arian, who later plead guilty to serving as the American head of the Islamic Jihad Terror organization. Al-Arian and his cronies at USF, including his research associate and now current FAU professor Bassem Al-Halabi, cultivated a culture of anti-Semitic student radicalism that continued to be tolerated throughout Brown's tenure there.

By the spring of 2012 FAU's SJP chapter was fully out of control. Mock eviction notices were posted on the door of hundreds of on-campus residences. SJP brazenly misappropriated the seal of Palm Beach County, which was a violation of law. The Palm Beach County attorney's office immediately sent a cease and desist order. The fake eviction notice also included a seal and authorization stamp from FAU's student housing authority, which were in fact issued by the university. In response to this, Dr. Charles Brown, the school's senior vice president for student affairs, initially misled reporters by claiming that the university had not authorized the fliers. This statement was later retracted when SJP revealed that not only had it been approved, but an FAU employee actually escorted hundreds of notices on dorm rooms and elevators. If this doesn't cross the line of academic freedom into the realm of administrative complicity, what does?

To answer my own question: on Feb. 6, the Tom Trento TV/radio crew attempted to sit in on a public meeting at FAU, where Greta Berlin, a noted Jew/Israeli hater, was to speak. The crew was denied entry into this advertised, public, taxpayer-supported event and threatened with arrest by a Boca Raton police officer, who claimed he was taking his orders from "the building manager." Enough said about constitutional rights when up against a complicit school administration and ignorant civil service employees.

Watch The United West investigative video on FAU's  anti-semtism and anti-Israelism problem.  This roiling FAU problem  deserves another letter from Governor Scott, who was quick to react to the outrageous  "Stomp Jesus" incident, sent  to the Florida State University System Chancellor.  Both problems are emblematic of abuses of Protected Speech under the First Amendment of the US Consitution. As the FAU Administration appears only to respond to higher authorities we hope an appropriate letter from  Governor Scott  would soon follow. 

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Posted on 03/31/2013 12:11 AM by Jerry Gordon
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