Night of the Murdered Poets

But this Resurrection Morning, April 20, 2014 I write with a very heavy heart because you see, another type of discovery was made this time just outside of Jewish synagogues in the Crimea.

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Soviet Anti-Semites Deny Jewish
Heroism in War time circa 1946

                                             

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“In January 1948 Solomon Mikhoels, a popular actor-director of the Moscow State Jewish Theater and the chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, was killed in a staged car accident. Mass arrests of prominent Jewish intellectuals and suppression of Jewish culture followed under the banners of campaign against “rootless cosmopolitans” and anti-Zionism. On 12 August 1952, in the event known as the Night of the Murdered Poets, thirteen most prominent Yiddish writers, poets, actors and other intellectuals were executed on the orders of Joseph Stalin, among them Peretz MarkishLeib KvitkoDavid HofsteinItzik Feffer and David Bergelson. In the 1955 UN Assembly‘s session a high Soviet official still denied the “rumors” about their disappearance.

In 2012, Yad Vashem began releasing more than a million new testimonial pages about Jews in the Soviet Union that are expected to help researchers measure the scope of persecution and extermination of Jews in the former Soviet Union.“(1)

Right now, as I write these words, there are Christians at the Garden Tomb just outside of Jerusalem celebrating the most magnificent act of love and grace the world will ever know – it is Resurrection Morning in Jerusalem! Praise Be to God! But this Resurrection Morning, April 20, 2014 I write with a very heavy heart because you see, another type of discovery was made this time just outside of Jewish synagogues in the Crimea. According to a USA Today report, as Jewish worshippers left the synagogue they were met by people handing out flyers to each of them. They were being ordered to report to the Russian authorities and register their families, the addresses, a list of all of their property and proof of citizenship. They were warned that if they failed to do so they would have their passports and citizenship revoked and their property confiscated. The only thing missing was the time of their curfew and their being ordered to wear a ‘Jude’ star identifying them as Jewish. Where is the worldwide outcry? According to the media U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made known his displeasure at the announcement. Heaven forbid that the U.S. Secretary of State boil over and call the anti-Semite acts the horrific crimes against humanity that they are! Whether they are carried out by Putin himself or some radicalized group of Russian citizens of Crimea acting on Putins orders, it might even warrant hearing some measured disdain from President Obama himself. The Nation of Israel did step up, as they always do, and rightfully declared the horrid nature of this crime, but the world seems to turn a deaf ear (See: Chamberlain – comma, Berlin – comma, Hitler – comma, 1938 – comma, Peace in Our Time – comma…)

I do not write this to rain on anyone’s Easter Parade. Today, in the Christian world is a time of celebration of our Savior, but it is also a day to remember that our Savior, the Son of God determined to come to earth as a Jewish carpenter. Maybe, as we celebrate here in the United States this Resurrection Morning in just a few hours, just maybe, this should be a picture in our minds..

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                        with the declaration… “NEVER AGAIN”

 

 

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_in_Russia

1954 ~ Quite a Year!

…concerning the brutal murder of Syrian civilians, including children and infants by Sarin gas, President Obama said, “I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage.” According to sources, immediately he and VP Joe Biden headed directly to Fort Belvoir…

For the very first time, January 1st 1954 the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl were broadcast in color and two more television stations signed on the air with the CBS call sign. On January 20th the NNN grew to 40 – that is the National Negro Network now had 40 radio stations and, in the category of some things never change, President Eisenhower announced on February 2nd the detonation of the first H-bomb. (The detonation had occurred in 1952, two years earlier!) That same month President Eisenhower warned the U.S. people against getting involved in trouble in a small nation named Vietnam.

And the list goes on, all through the year… new happenings in the world of invention and particularly electronics, steps backward at times particularly in areas of humanity. A bloody revolution in Syria and a ‘peaceful’ change of government in Egypt where 36-year-old Abdul Nasser appointed Egyptian Premier. (He was assassinated twenty-six years later). Ruth Thompson, a Congressman from Michigan, authored a bill against the lewd, lasciviousness of Rock and Roll music. Yes, she was a Republican and Elvis Presley paid $4.00 to get the rights to two of his songs back from a producer in Nashville.

An active shooter incident in the Capital – 4 Puerto Ricans open fire injuring four Congressmen. Eisenhower warned of the ‘Domino-Effect’ in SE Asia. A rookie playing in an Exhibition Game hit a home run, his first as a professional baseball player – none other than Henry (Hank) Aaron, later that month would come his first of the 755. In April, the USAF flew a French battalion of soldiers to Vietnam… later that month the very first American injured in Vietnam, a civilian pilot.

While Disneyland is being built and the MLB sports franchise was born, on July 20th an Armistice officially separated Vietnam into North and South… one year and one week exactly from when an Armistice ended the Korean War leaving it divided North and South. Russia was denied entry into NATO – the Cold War begins to heat up, Senator McCarthy on full boil. The Tasmanian Devil debuts in a Warner Brothers cartoon!

In October, after the last French pull out of Vietnam, a Communist Revolutionary enters Hanoi by the name of Ho Chi Minh. The leader of the Muslim ‘brothership’, Hassan el Hodieby arrested in Egypt. The Giants sweep the Cleveland Indians taking the World Series in four games. Texas Instruments announced the first “Transistor Radio.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer and Ernest Hemingway received Nobel prizes in Peace and in Literature. In entertainment, the television show ‘Disneyland’ began as did ‘Father Knows Best’ – on the silver screen ‘A Star is Born’ with Judy Garland and Steve Allen begins the Tonight Show. In crime and entertainment – Dr. Sam Shepherd’s wife murdered in Cleveland Ohio – it became the back story for the iconic story of ‘The Fugitive’ and his relentless pursuit of the ‘one-armed man.’

Yes, 1954 was quite a year. An amendment to allow 18 year olds the right to vote was defeated. The population of the United States was 2,723,726,367. President Eisenhower signed a bill adding “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Almost sixty years later the population is more than two and a half times that at 7,207,459,699.

But, with all of the amazing memories listed here for 1954 there is one record that is more important to us now in 2013 than perhaps any of these others…

Under the watch of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hilary Clinton and the Commander-in-Chief Barrack Hussein Obama, through sequestration and the President’s own promises to the Russian Vladimir Putin, the U.S. nuclear arsenal will be as low or lower than our arsenal in 1954; our troop strength will be as low or lower than our troop strength than at any time since 1954; our ability to have a nuclear umbrella protecting CONUS will be lost.

Dr. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy warns that the Syria debacle is “but a harbinger of what is to come as reckless U.S. national security policies and postures meet the hard reality of determined adversaries emboldened by our perceived weakness.”[i]

The U.S. Army could drop from 535,000 soldiers to as few as 380,000; Marines 182,000 to 150,000, and the Navy from 11 Carrier Task Forces to just 8. Already from the 11, one is in long-term dry dock for repairs, another is also in the Navy Yard for repairs, two are on the West Coast, one in the Sea of Japan and only one is anywhere near the Mediterranean – does that sounds like combat readiness?!

On September 4, 2013 the Undersecretary for the Department of Defense, Frank Kendall spoke before the National Press Club. “This is a bizarre situation for the United States…We are seeing growing national security threats but we are unilaterally disarming because of concerns about the deficit and the national debt. This is a very unusual situation for us.”[ii]

Beyond the loss of military capability, there also comes the loss of credibility. In September 2013 during a Rose Garden press conference concerning the brutal murder of Syrian civilians, including children and infants by Sarin gas, President Obama said, “I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage.” According to sources, immediately he and VP Joe Biden headed directly to Fort Belvoir, a U.S. Army installation in Fairfax County Virginia. Upon arrival at the fort, they went straight to 18 holes of golf; while, well, you know…

Ft Belvoir CC

… in Damascus Syria  

SYRIA-DAMASCUS_2673500b   

 

 

       


[i] “Shrinking U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Worries Experts too” US NEWS, October 2013

[ii] Can We Trim $1 Trillion in Defense Spending and Still Draw Red Lines?” US NEWS, October 2013

   Facts for 1954 courtesy of HistoryOrb.com

RESILIENCE – America at Its Core

The news release read: “The Taliban, he says, has been a clever and persistent foe, and has not been defeated. It will re-emerge…” in the statement by former Congressman Peter Hoekstra. The article went on to say that he was “very very pessimistic…” as he assesses NATO and U.S. troop withdraw from Afghanistan.1 If there is any one thing Americans, particularly politically conservative Americans should not be, it is pessimistic.

911remember

As we approach Law Enforcement Memorial Week with a time on the 15th where those who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2012 are honored at the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. and in services across the country, the operative word is Resilience. In the wake of the Boston bombings, in an incredibly short span of time, officers were able to identify the offenders and neutralize the threat. We are at a time when our political processes, though far from perfect, are able to bring to light the inadequacies of the highest levels of government and their lack of response to egregious acts against our embassy in Benghazi and Tripoli. We, as the strongest democratic Republic in the world, are able to call our leaders before us as citizens and say, you were wrong and you deserve to pay for those lapses of judgment. The United States of America still, with ridiculous budget cuts brought on only by political ineptitude, are still able to muster the largest standing all volunteer military on the face of the globe and across all history. America has much for which she may be proud, even more for which to be thankful to God, Almighty, the One True God.
A recent article by William Kristol contained this statement: “The British have known for centuries that it’s not enough to hope for happy and glorious days in the future. It’s also necessary, with God’s help, to act in the present to scatter our enemies and make them fall. It’s necessary to confound their politics and frustrate their knavish tricks.”2 The conservative American, be he a statesman or a day laborer knows one thing within his inner most being. It is a fact that cannot be argued to too fine a point, simply that the facts of a free market, a smaller federal government and citizens who are armed both with the knowledge of history and the armament of the future is the successful way to govern. Ralph Waldo Emerson stated it as such: “There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.”3
Countless men and women have literally given their very lives in pursuit of the freedom that Americans enjoy every day. We, as the current holder of the torch must never allow the ill winds of pessimism, defeatism and cowardice to extinguish that flame. It is that brightly burning flame that has brightened the path for so many to follow. There will always be the ‘nay-sayers’ and the pessimists. There will always be the politicians who are in the halls of legislatures that are there for all the wrong reasons. They are the ones who when questioned about their failure to act in a time of crisis will respond, “What does it matter now?” When that exact same politician declared only months before when seeking even higher office, that they would be the ones we want to answer the phone at 3a.m. when the world was falling apart. Three a.m. came and went on their watch, they did nothing and good people died. What does it matter now? It matters a great deal more today than perhaps it ever did before.

Just a few short hours ago, a call came to the office. It was from a local radio station that had thrown its full support behind helping stem the critical lack of blood supplies for our citizens and our soldiers. That young man needed to know if this small business would stand with them. Word that our troops do not have enough blood supplies to help them while still on the battle fields rang a strong chord in this old veteran’s heart. This veteran has a soldier son, who is hurt, who must face the surgeon’s scalpel in only a few short hours. But, even if that call was not so close to home, this veteran and a hundred thousand others across this great nation would form the longest blood drive line one could ever see – just tell them where duty calls, let them hear the trumpet blast, and they will rise. They have given it all before and they will do it all again.

I am proud that I had the opportunity to serve both in this nation’s armed forces and along the thin blue line. God has been gracious to me and kept me from much of the evil that has surrounded me throughout the years. If I can do nothing more now than to add my name to a list to support such a worthy cause, then allow that to be the case. General Douglas MacArthur, upon his retirement, is quoted as saying: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”4 In many ways, I am sure that is true but in so many more ways, I believe the valor, the pride, the distinction with which they served lives on in the lives, in the faces, and in the resilience of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and their combined families of the United States of America. “ I’m proud to be an American”, the country western song goes, “where at least I know I’m free; and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me…”5 Resilience, it comes not from a text book, a Sunday school lesson, not even a sermon. It comes from the hard, gnarled hands that are no stranger to hard work and it is passed from those hands by the soft caress of a newborn baby’s cheek; a tear in an old man’s eye at the sight of Old Glory passing by. May God bless America and may Americans bless God.

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ENDNOTES
1 http://www.lignet.com/ArticleAnalysis/Hoekstra--Afghanistan-is-fragile-and-likely-to-reg
2 Kristol, William Resistance is Not Futile The Weekly Standard February 25, 2013
3 Ibid.
4http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Douglas_MacArthur
5Lee Greenwood - I'm Proud To Be An American (Lyrics in description) 

 

re•lig•ious [ri lijjǝss] (adj) free-dom [fre’edǝm] (noun)

Rev. Ross L. Riggs, D Min.  www.docriggs.com   Ministry Minute ~ when there’s only a minute for ministry  

An original work of Riggs Family Ministry and True North Ministries

The Human Rights Report “The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – The Human Rights Report – cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political and worker rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.”[i] According to the May 2010 National Security Strategy, “We see it as fundamental to our own interests to support a just peace around the world – one in which individuals, and not just nations, are granted the fundamental rights that they deserve.”[ii]

In a recent report by Thomas F. Farr, “Religious Freedom Under the Gun: The Obama administration neglects a key foreign policy issue,” [iii] he reports that the U.S. State Department announced that it is dropping coverage of religious freedom from its annual Human Rights Report. According to the State Department it is to “avoid duplicating coverage available in the annual Report on International Religious Freedom.”[iv] On the State Department website where ‘current’ reports from both categories are to be found (neither has anything more current filed than 2010), the following quote is highlighted at the top from Secretary Clinton: “Religious freedom provides a cornerstone for every healthy society. It empowers faith-based service. It fosters tolerance and respect among different communities. And it allows nations that uphold it to become more stable, secure and prosperous.”

In fact, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the Human Rights Report pays homage actually does list, all the way at number 18, the following: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”[v] This may come as a surprise to most who read this, the U.N. by its article 18 gives more standing to the public practice of one’s religion than the current U.S. administration does! Article 19 continues the thought of 18 with: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” This would certainly put a damper on those who seek to silence the National Religious Broadcasters and political pundits such as Mr. Limbaugh and others who utilize ‘any media and regardless of frontiers’ to ‘impart information and ideas.’

A further review of the Declaration also seems to logically read the description of marriage for the purpose of raising a family and seems to indicate it is between a man and a woman, although not specifically stated. It is logical to conclude however from the language. (Article 16: 1-3)

Before you look to your loving spouse, of the opposite sex, and say that it appears the kindly but aging Rev. Riggs has dropped his false teeth in the soup, and I am endorsing anything that comes out of the United Nations, I am simply pointing out that this administration’s favorite play toy in Manhattan seems to be utilizing terminology that gives support to those whom this administration is seeking to gag (maybe a poor choice of words, because many fundamentals and conservatives have gagged at the rhetoric that comes out of 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue), let’s use the word ‘silence.’ U.N. doctrine is supportive in written text at least, of exercising religious freedom even outside the place of worship and the U.N. does use the term ‘religious freedom’ rather than ‘freedom of worship’ which is in vogue in polite Democratic circles. (It keeps those Christians off the streets and out of the public square!) Granted, the Declaration was ratified on December 10, 1948 and that was at a time when the U.N. also saw fit to “grant” Israel sovereign nation status. Obviously much has changed in sixty-four years but the Declaration’s wording remains the same.

However, back to Mr. Farr’s article and the evidence with which he convinces us that while the administration is trying to distance itself from the notion of enforcing ‘religious freedom’ declarations on the international front, there is certainly a crisis of epic proportions world-wide. Mr. Farr cites two studies by the Pew Research Center. First, “…70 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is severely restricted, by either governments or private actors.”[vi] In the second report (2011) “found that between mid-2006 and mid-2009 the situation deteriorated in twice as many countries as it improved.”[vii] This is not making headway at all but rather is steering the U.S. on a collision course with the countries having even less tolerance than a decade ago.

As many of the nations where the restrictions on religious freedom are non-Western, Muslim-majority; it should not surprise you that: “Of all the religious groups subject to persecution, Christians came out on top…”[viii]  The noted harassment of Christians was found in 130 countries. Muslims did not fare much better. They were reported as receiving harassment in 117 countries. The article states that a growing degree of anti-religion sentiment is in Western Europe which had been previously a purveyor of practicing priests and parishes. It does not indicate, however, whether the Western European disdain of religion is all religion or, perhaps because of the rapid spread of Islam there that it might be directed toward the Muslim. In any event, according to Pew, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Iran are all in the category of ‘high’ social hostility to religion. France has moved ahead of Cuba in government restrictions against religion. Again, one wonders if France’s disdain is directed more at the Muslim than any other religion but the information is not available from these sources to determine the answer.

Although Western Europe has not engaged in torture, rape, murder, unjust imprisonment and execution for religion as many more extreme ‘societies’ have; there is a belief that “religious freedom is not only unnecessary for human flourishing or social development, but that it poses a threat to these and other goods.”[ix] Especially troubling is that democratic majorities, as well as authoritarian regimes, are rejecting religious freedom. Canada sometimes mirrors and sometimes leads Western Europe where now an “aggressive secularist majority…refuses to permit religiously informed moral arguments into public life.”[x] A recent conference in Oxford brought to light the possibility that “Once same-sex marriage is legalized in the United Kingdom, (an audience to popular media on the matter), agreed, dissenters should be ‘pursued by the law.’”[xi] As I mentioned, sometimes Canada is ahead of their European relatives. “In Canada, it is estimated that since the adoption of gay marriage in 2005, between 200 and 300 proceedings have been launched against defenders of marriage in courts, human rights commissions, and employment boards.” It is reported that the Catholic bishop of Calgary was threatened and charged with a human rights violation for a letter he circulated on his teaching on marriage. According to Farr, the bishop capitulated and stopped his teaching.

Recently, sociologists have proclaimed that religious freedom is good for democracy. It is also linked to economic development, the equality of women and the ‘absence of violent religious extremism’ all of which one would think are things to be sought after in a democracy. From President Obama, however we hear statements such as March 2009, at Notre Dame: “It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God… asks of us.”[xii] Later that year, in December at Georgetown University, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defined the content of religious liberty: “To fulfill their potential, people… must be free to worship, associate, and to love in the way that they choose.” So, it seems, the President and Secretary of State are out of step with even the Declaration on Human Rights set down by the U.N. I suppose that is to be expected since the U.N. has not done enough in line with the Declaration on Human Rights since about the time that it was enacted in 1948. If you doubt that, ask the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem “Navi” Pillay. She is an Indian South African who seems to be a remarkable lady and jurist with an incredible record as well as a husband who was imprisoned under Apartheid. She said, in 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Declaration that: “The promises enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) remain unfilled for tens of millions of people worldwide.”[xiii]

Amen to that! (Oopps… can you say ‘amen’ to a statement by the U.N.)


[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Farr, Thomas F “Religious Freedom Under the Gun” The Weekly Standard  July 16, 2012 (22-24)

[iv] Ibid. 22

[vi] Farr, Thomas F “Religious Freedom Under the Gun” The Weekly Standard  July 16, 2012 (22)

[vii] Ibid. (22)

[viii] Ibid. (23)

[ix] Ibid. (23)

[x] Ibid. (23)

[xi] Ibid. (23)

[xii] Ibid. (24)