Boko Haram: Deafening Silence from the Media While Christians are Slaughtered in Nigeria

clock September 22, 2012 20:45 by author John |

Boko Haram, officially known as People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad is a militant Jihadist group bent on forcing Sharia Law on the country of Nigeria. Thousands of people have been killed by this group in the last 3-4 years in Nigeria. Many of the victims have been Christians simply practicing their religion.

While we have heard about the conflicts in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere on a regular basis through the mainstream media, relatively little time is dedicated to the continual violence in Nigeria. Why is this? The answer is simple: it is Christians who are being killed. Violence in many other areas in the Mideast and in North Africa has been primarily political and indifferent to Christians, yet those are the stories we are seeing daily in the news.

A Brief History of the Boko Haram
The group was organized some time in or before 1995 under the name Shabaab, Muslim Youth Organization. At that time, Mallam Lawal was its leader. Lawal left the group and Mohammed Yusuf took control. Yusuf officially established the group in 2002 in the city of Maiduguri. His goal was to establish Sharia Law in the Borno State in Nigeria. Under the guise of educating children from poor Muslim families from across Nigeria, and providing a mosque for these Muslims, the institution was actually recruiting and training these children to fight as jihadists.

In 2009, the Nigerian government began investigating the group after suspicions arose that they were becoming militant and acquiring weapons. When the government finally arrested several members of the group, Boko Haram became violent and attacked the Nigerian security forces. This event became known as the 2009 Boko Haram Uprising. While most report claim that the violence was political only, there were many people killed because they refused to convert to Islam. All told, including those from both sides in the conflict, over 1000 people are believed to have been killed in the violence during this uprising.  The group’s leader, Yusuf, was killed in this conflict. It seems that after Yusuf’s death, Abubakar Shekau assumed leadership of the group.

A Sample of Recent Boko Haram Attacks

  • On September 7, 2010, about 50 Boko Haram gunmen launched an attack on a prison in the city of Bauchi. 5 people were killed in the violence, 6 injured, and 721 prisoners escaped – 150 or so belonging to Boko Haram.
  • On New Year’s Eve, 2010, Boko Haram bombed a military barracks in Abuja, Nigeria, killing 5 people including a pregnant woman and her unborn child. All of the dead were civilians.
  • Another jailbreak was carried out on April 22, 2011 freeing 14 prisoners.
  • On the 29th of May, 2011 7 separate bombs were detonated across northern Nigeria, killing 15 and injuring 55. All were attributed to Boko Haram.
  • As many as 6 people were killed on June 16, 2011 when a suicide bomber drove a car bomb into Police headquarters in the city of Abuja.
  • 10 days later, a bombing was carried out on a beer garden in Maiduguri, killing 25 and injuring around 30.
  • On July 10, 2011, a member of Boko Haram threw a bomb into the All Christian Fellowship Mission Church in Suleja, Nigeria.
  • On November 4, 2011 between 100 and 150 people were killed in coordinated attacks on Police stations, 6 Churches, Mosques and banks by Boko Haram in the city of Damaturu. These attacks involved car bombings, shootings, and suicide bombings.
  • On Christmas Day, 2011, at least 41 Christians were killed and more than 57 injured in coordinated attacks in 4 towns in north and Central Nigeria. 37 of the dead and more than 50 of the injured were Catholics attending Christmas Mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church in the town of Madalla.
  • On January 2, 2012, Boko Haram issued an ultimatum, giving Christians 3 days to leave the northern part of Nigeria or they will be attacked.
  • On January 6th, militants armed with automatic weapons stormed a town hall in Mubi where Christians were assembled to mourn 3 of their own that were killed the previous day. At least 18 were killed in the second attack. Another ambush left 8 more Christians dead in Yola. 6 People were killed during a church service in Gombi and a Christian couple was gunned down in Maiduguri.
  • On January 20, 185 people including 150 civilians were killed in the city of Kano. Security forces announced that they had found 10 unexploded car bombs and nearly 300 smaller bombs around the city.
  • On June 17, 2012, the group conducted the suicide bombings of three churches in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, killing more than 50 people.
  • Also on June 17, 130 bodies were found in Plateau State. It is presumed they were killed by Boko Haram members
  • In August 2012, Boko Haram opened fire inside an evangelical church during a service in the northern State of Kogi, killing 19


To make matters worse, this group has affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence urged the Obama Administration and U.S. intelligence community in November 2011 to focus on Boko Haram as a potential threat to United States territory.

In light of all of this, how much did you know about Boko Haram before this? Not much? The media is dropping the ball on this. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria are faced with the very real threat to their lives just for stepping into a Church or trying to bury their dead. We need to pray for them urgently.



40 Days for Life opens September 26 in 316 locations

clock September 21, 2012 11:40 by author John |

The 40 Days for Life campaign kicks off again in a few days on September 26 in 316 locations. Here are some of the accomplishments of this campaign in the past:


• 1,894 individual campaigns have taken place in 440 cities
• More than 525,000 have joined together in an historic display of unity to pray and fast for an end to abortion
• More than 15,000 church congregations have participated in the 40 Days for Life campaigns
• Reports document 5,928 lives that have been spared from abortion — and those are just the ones we know about
• 69 abortion workers have quit their jobs and walked away from the abortion industry
• 24 abortion facilities completely shut down following local 40 Days for Life campaigns
• Hundreds of women and men have been spared from the tragic effects of abortion, including a lifetime of regrets
• More than 2,100 news stories have been featured in newspapers, magazines, radio shows and TV programs from coast to coast ... and overseas
• Many people with past abortion experiences have stepped forward to begin post-abortion healing and recovery

Please join the effort! We can make a difference!



Friday Flashback: Truth Vs Pro-Aborts, Jesus' Wife Nonsense, Botched Abortion, and More

clock September 21, 2012 10:26 by author John |

The Friday Flashback is a roundup of the important articles and blog posts of the week...

 

LA Priest Suspended for Promoting Same Sex Marriage

Don't Talk to Her - College Abortion Supporters Afraid of Debate

Phil Lawler Contrasts the New Conservative USCCB Policy Adviser, Jonathan J. Reyes with the Outgoing Liberal John Carr

Jimmy Akin on the Jesus had a Wife Story

Botched Abortion Renders Woman Infertile, Nearly Kills Her

A Beautiful Pro-Life Story with a Happy Ending

Joliet bishop reverses decision, removes accused priest from ministry again

Sebelius Called Upon to Resign After Violating the Hatch Act



Go to Confession!

clock September 21, 2012 10:20 by author John |

Go to confession today or tomorrow. Before we can grow close to God, we must first clean our soul of the sins which separate us from Him.



Obama Compaign Releases Several New Flag Prints

clock September 20, 2012 11:52 by author John |

The Obama Campaign has released a new flag print that adoring fans can purchase to further the destruction of liberty as well as the unborn. It seems that the campaign is unable to count, as the flag print is missing some stripes. Extra arrogance is thrown in for free – after all, it is his country now. We are just lucky to belong to it.

Obama's Flag

Doing a little digging, I found some more flags the campaign is trying to hock...

Halo Flag

The Halo flag: not only is this a patriotic expression, but religious, too.

Communist Flag

Here is a nod to the “more flexibility” that the president will have after the elections.

Remember the creepy "o" hand gesture? It seems to be making a comeback. You can bet he will be making that gesture as he strangles the freedoms from the constitution.

Anti-Life Flag

For those in the pro-choice movement.

Anti-Freedom Flag

For fans of the HHS mandate.

Mslim Brotherhood Flag

There is also the flag created for his fans in the Muslim Brotherhood.



Obama Wants Beyoncé to be a Role Model for His Kids

clock September 19, 2012 13:08 by author John |

President Obama claims Beyoncé couldn’t be a better role model for his children. Beyoncé. That’s right Beyoncé. The same Beyoncé that claims her half-naked performances are not a contradiction to her Christian faith, claiming about God, “I honestly believe he wants people to celebrate their bodies so long as you don't compromise your Christianity in the process.” I guess that is sort of like Obama defining sin as “being out of alignment with my values”.

Anyway, I thought there might be a few suggestions for better role models for his children. Here are a few:
1. Jesus
2. The Blessed Mother
3. Anyone that doesn’t dance around without their clothes on or promotes sin like immodesty, promiscuity, abortion, and unnatural relationships.


Just an idea.

 



Catholic Bishops of Illinois to Produce Bulletin Inserts for Upcoming Election Season

clock September 19, 2012 11:02 by author John |

The Catholic bishops of Illinois will be distributing 4 bulletin inserts on the Sundays leading up to the election. Looking at the introductory insert, it appears the inserts will be rather clear and speak in unmistakable terms about the upcoming election and the importance of not supporting a candidate who is pro-choice, anti-traditional marriage, and anti-religious freedom.

Some bishops have already been using very clear language about the elections, including Bishop Robert Morlino (link to mp3 download of Morlino on the Drew Mariani show), Archbishop Chaput,  and Archbishop Lori.   So the question will then come down to a basic question: How many people will follow these principles? Few will be able to claim ignorance on this one.



Tuesday Ear Tickler: Molly Worthen Attacks the Magisterium

clock September 18, 2012 06:10 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s award goes to Molly Worthen, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Worthen breaks out the tickling feather to Joe Ferullo of the National Catholic Reporter, which has the distinction of receiving the first-ever Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Thomas Fox. Molly goes into the tired old diatribe about the domineering male hierarchy squashing “critical thinking”. Here is Worthen’s quote:

If the Democratic Party is not listening to liberal Catholics, it is partly because they are not in a position to speak very loudly. They are dodging the sights of a Roman hierarchy more preoccupied with smoking out left-leaning nuns than nurturing critical thinking. “Is liberal Catholicism dead?” Time wondered a few years back. The answer is no: in some regards, liberal Catholic intellectuals are flourishing. They are writing and teaching, running social justice initiatives at the church’s great universities, ensconced in professorships around the Ivy League. Yet a cozy academic subculture can be as isolating as it is empowering. The handful of nationally known Catholic political thinkers who might be called progressive, or at least compassionate and cosmopolitan — like the journalist-scholars Garry Wills and E. J. Dionne Jr., blogmeister Andrew Sullivan, or the feminist nun and blogger Sister Joan Chittister — are far outnumbered by the ranks of prominent Catholic conservatives in the trenches of activism and policy making.

OK, to kick things off, Worthen claims that liberal Catholics are not in a position to speak loudly due to the evil Roman hierarchy. If that was truly the case, they wouldn’t be driving around on campaign busses (nuns on a bus), or speaking at the Democratic National Convention (Sr. Simone Campbell). Sadly, very little action of any consequence will happen as a result of these loud and obnoxious displays of dissent. She then goes into the initiatives that these liberal Catholics are carrying out in the name of “social justice”. No mention is made of the confusion many of them are causing in the minds of the faithful.

I hereby grant the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, September 18, 2012 to Molly Worthen.



Living Every Day as if it Was Your Last

clock September 17, 2012 20:09 by author John |
Thomas a Kempis
Thomas a Kempis

"Very soon your life here will end; consider, then, what may be in store for you elsewhere. Today we live; tomorrow we die and are quickly forgotten. Oh, the dullness and hardness of a heart which looks only to the present instead of preparing for that which is to come!

Therefore, in every deed and every thought, act as though you were to die this very day. If you had a good conscience you would not fear death very much. It is better to avoid sin than to fear death. If you are not prepared today, how will you be prepared tomorrow? Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how do you know you will have a tomorrow?" - The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (Ch. 23)

In times past the great work of Kempis was an indispensable must-have book second only in importance to the Bible itself. Today, few people have even heard of it. The words surely were too difficult for many throughout the nearly 6 centuries since it was written. With each generation, many found it to be too much trouble and didn’t bother with passing it on to their children. Why dampen a good mood with a sobering reminder of our solemn duty to Christ?

Perhaps one of the most difficult passages is quoted above. It is a startling reminder of our human weakness and transience. We are just passing through this life. Our work, our causes, and our words, are lost to the world shortly after our death. The many years of our life are forgotten in a fraction of the time it took us to live them.

Why then do so many people live without regard for their afterlife? Are they simply ignorant of the realities of Heaven and Hell? Do they not understand? Has no one taken the time to teach them? Have they been taught and found the teaching too difficult to accept? It is likely a combination of these, but nonetheless, they cannot avoid judgment simply by burying their head in the sand. Judgment will come for each of us.

As Kempis urges us, “in every deed and every thought, act as though you were to die this very day.” The only way we know of to win the eternal reward of Heaven is to live each day in the state of grace. If you are not in the state of grace, get to confession. Nourish yourself with the Holy Eucharist.

At present, it seems that the battle for our soul is against retailers peddling sexual images in commercials, outspoken celebrities trying to pass off their depraved vision of fun as authentic happiness, or government officials requiring us to violate our consciences. These may be battles along the way on our journey through life, but they are not the source of our problems. As St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11-12, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.”

All of the manifestations of evil in the world would be vanquished within a generation or 2 if every Catholic person cleaned their soul on a regular basis and availed themselves of the sacraments. If evil could find no safe harbor in Catholics, we would soon begin to see the rest of the world drawn to our ranks. Let’s do our part in this battle. Let’s make sure our own spiritual house is in order. Let’s live each day as if it was our last, glowing with the radiance of our soul, purified for Christ.



We All Confess at Least Once

clock September 16, 2012 19:32 by author John |
stained glass window
Image Source: Flickr User - Borkur.net

Last week I attended a meeting after work. Training. Blah. Meetings after work strike me as a particularly heinous form of punishment. Not only are you held captive during time that is supposed to belong to you, but you are tired from working all day, and in my case driving an hour from the office at my client to my own company’s office. To make things worse, there was PowerPoint. Lots of PowerPoint.

At the meeting, we received training for an exam we would need to take with a manager. This manager is very particular and a bit of a perfectionist, which means we would have to know the material – all of it. Every last detail. There was a lot of material too. One of the other managers offered to give us a practice exam with him before we had to face the music of the real exam. We all agreed that was a nice gesture and helpful too. Still the real test was going to be a real pain.

Every time I begin feeling sorry for myself,  I call to mind the Passion and Death of Jesus – on a Cross, nails in His hands and feet, crown of thorns, scourging, spitting, mocking, gasping for breath, bleeding…Yeah, maybe I can suck it up a little. That usually helps me get off the feeling sorry for myself train.

Anyway, beyond all the usual tired, bored, rather-be-somewhere-elseness, there was another stress I was dealing with – yeah, it was Thursday and tomorrow I had planned to go to confession. It wasn’t a major stress, it was just one of those back of the mind type things – I kept thinking to myself “Don’t forget, you have to get up early tomorrow, so you can get to work early, so you can leave early, so you can get to confession right after work.“

Normally, confession is just one of those things I do whenever I think about it. I try to go frequently; otherwise, it turns into more of an ordeal if you know what I mean. I had some thoughts pop into my head, you know the type: “Hmmm, it is getting late, this meeting is going longer than I planned. I’ll be up late. It is going to be an early morning. Well, I don’t HAVE to go to confession.” Maybe it was just the tired speaking, but I found myself trying to talk me out of going to confession. This type of thing never ends well, so I try to dispel the negative thinking as soon as it shows up. Luckily, or maybe more accurately, by the grace of God, I didn’t talk myself out of going to confession.

Well, the next day, after work, I did get to confession, thanks be to God. No thanks to the guy who decided that he needed to cause gridlock by moving up into the intersection just as his light turned red. No thanks to the guy who cut me off twice on the way to the church. Yeah, I do a lot of driving. That is why I try to get to confession as often as possible. Anyway, I unloaded the spiritual baggage and moved into the pew for penance and a little reflection time.

Looking up at the stained glass window of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I saw lots of light streaming through. The church was dark, and all of the light in the church was coming through this one window. It reminded me of the light at the end of the tunnel you hear about when people are approaching death. It was a beautiful quiet moment. This must be a little like seeing Jesus at the end of your life. It was just Jesus and me – alone. After finishing my penance and saying a rosary to start the 54 day election novena, I began to think about what this moment meant.

I thought about what it will be like when I meet Jesus for the face-to-face when everything is said and done. What would I say? Would I say anything? Would he do all the talking? Worse yet, would he make me do all the talking? How am I going to explain everything I have done in my life? How am I going to explain all of my sins? Then it occurred to me that I have been practicing all of my life. I have been going to confession, admitting my mistakes and resolving to stop making those mistakes. It is a bit like practicing for the big game. You only get one shot, so wouldn’t it make sense to practice a few times before you take the field?

We all go to confession at least once whether we like it or not. We will all stand before God at the end of our lives to give an accounting for our actions. Why not get a little practice in beforehand?