Rod Dreher

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Harvard’s Divine Tree

At the base of a tree scheduled for removal at Harvard Divinity School (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

If you are near Harvard Divinity School next week, you have an opportunity to worship. This letter recently went out from the Div School administration, concerning the controversial removal of an old oak tree. I received it from an HDS alumnus:

Dear members of the HDS community:

As you know, the red oak tree adjacent to the Andover-Harvard Theological Library entrance will be removed beginning Friday, March 29. To many members of our community, this tree is explicitly sacred; for others, while it may not be recognized as part of their own particular religious tradition, the sense of loss at the tree’s removal is great. For over 100 years, this tree has sheltered many and much here; and it has been cherished in return.

To mark this great loss, a gathering has been arranged for anyone who wishes to attend on Wednesday, March 27, at 5 pm. There will be two parts to this gathering. The first will be a communal storytelling, which will give anyone the opportunity to speak about what this tree has either meant to or taught them. The second part of the gathering will be led by members for whom this tree is a religious/spiritual site and/or being; they will invoke great sacred trees in their respective spiritual traditions. Anyone who feels called to participate in the latter half.

In preparation for the oak tree’s removal, members of the HDS community who wish are encouraged to offer their personal farewells in a manner they see fit in advance of the March 27 gathering. For those seeking materials to construct private farewells, a waterproof box containing note paper, pens, markers, and ribbons will be made available near the tree Monday, March 25 through Wednesday, March 27. The materials can be used to affix notes or artwork of grief, gratitude, and witness to the fence around the tree. Those notes will be removed and included in the Wednesday afternoon ritual. Additionally, the chaplain interns would be glad to speak with or to accompany anyone who would like support in this.

As you are aware, the tree is not structurally sound and HDS recommends that pedestrians not use the area under the tree. HDS will not, however, prohibit those who wish to participate in the gathering. Please keep the safety risks in mind when in the vicinity of the tree.

The Harvard Divinity School is going to provide papers, pens, markers, and ribbons so its students, teachers, and others associated with it can tell a tree goodbye. And pastoral help will be available for those overcome with grief. I love trees too, but golly, this is something.

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Adam & Rami, Italian Heroes

Adam El Hamami, one of the two boys who saved kids on the hijacked school bus (YouTube screengrab)

Does this complicate the narrative, or what? The two boys who saved the kids on the commandeered Italian bus are the sons of Arab immigrants. Though born in Italy, neither are citizens, because their parents have irregular immigration status. Under Italian law, they would have to wait until they turn 18 to apply for Italian citizenship. The main hero, Rami Shehata, 13, the one who hid his smartphone and made emergency phone calls from the hijacked bus, will be offered citizenship by a grateful Italian state. Here’s the story from Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Google translated this part:

The first to call the carabinieri from the hijacked bus was Adam El Hamami. Then Rami Shehata was able to explain to the rescuers the exact location of the bus, giving directions based on what he saw around him, describing the buildings and signs. But the boy knew the Paullese [the district where the bus was] well, because he had already walked along with his parents. Rami managed to deceive the hijacker Ousseynou Sy of having placed the phone on the dashboard at the start, while in reality he had kept it in his pocket.

Forty-nine Italian children owe their lives in part to Adam El Hamami and Rami Shehata. Think about that.

Here’s a fuller account of what happened on the bus, and what Rami did, from The Telegraph. 

Here’s video (nothing graphic) of the moment the kids escaped the bus:

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UPDATE: Reader Adamant writes:

This is charming, and these boys are certainly brave, but Italy shouldn’t be in this position in the first place. Our Italian friends have many talents: “successfully integrating large number of foreigners into a semi-harmonious whole” isn’t amongst them.

Food, yes. Wine, yes. Women, hell yes. Not every country is equally talented in all matters.

Oh, I agree! Still, it’s an interesting twist to the story.

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Against Zombie Reaganism

Not the future (The Onion screenshot)

I signed this statement, along with others. See below:

The 2016 election laid bare profound but long-hidden ideological divisions among America’s conservative intellectuals.

Some of us heartily supported the Trumpian insurgency. Others reluctantly pulled the lever for Trump. Still others opposed his candidacy, adopted the label “Never Trump,” or even endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Yet more than two years later, we speak with one voice: There is no returning to the pre-Trump conservative consensus that collapsed in 2016. Any attempt to revive the failed conservative consensus that preceded Trump would be misguided and harmful to the right.

We give credit where it is due: Consensus conservatism played a heroic role in defeating Communism in the last century, by promoting prosperity at home and the expansion of a rules-based international order. At its best, the old consensus defended the natural rights of Americans and the “transcendent dignity of the human person, as the visible image of the invisible God” (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus) against the depredations of totalitarian regimes.

But even during the Cold War, this conservatism too often tracked the same lodestar liberalism did—namely, individual autonomy. The fetishizing of autonomy paradoxically yielded the very tyranny that consensus conservatives claim most to detest.

America’s public philosophy now puts great stock in “the right to define one’s own concept of . . . the mystery of human life,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy, the libertarian conservative par excellence, wrote while upholding the constitutional “right” to abortion. But this vast leeway to discover the meaning of existence extends to destroying the freedom and lives of others (the unborn child’s, in the case of abortion).

Yes, the old conservative consensus paid lip service to traditional values. But it failed to retard, much less reverse, the eclipse of permanent truths, family stability, communal solidarity, and much else. It surrendered to the pornographization of daily life, to the culture of death, to the cult of competitiveness. It too often bowed to a poisonous and censorious multiculturalism.

Faced with voters’ resounding “No!” to these centrifugal forces, consensus conservatives have grown only more rigid in their certainties. They have elevated prudential judgments and policies into sacred dogmas. These dogmas—free trade on every front, free movement through every boundary, small government as an end in itself, technological advancement as a cure-all—foreclose debate about the nature and purpose of our common life.

Consensus conservatism long ago ceased to inquire into the first things. But we will not.

We oppose the soulless society of individual affluence.

Our society must not prioritize the needs of the childless, the healthy, and the intellectually competitive. Our policy must accommodate the messy demands of authentic human attachments: family, faith, and the political community. We welcome allies who oppose dehumanizing attempts at “liberation” such as pornography, “designer babies,” wombs for rent, and the severing of the link between sex and gender.

We stand with the American citizen.

In recent years, some have argued for immigration by saying that working-class Americans are less hard-working, less fertile, in some sense less worthy than potential immigrants. We oppose attempts to displace American citizens. Advancing the common good requires standing with, rather than abandoning, our countrymen. They are our fellow citizens, not interchangeable economic units. And as Americans we owe each other a distinct allegiance and must put each other first.

We reject attempts to compromise on human dignity.

In 2013, the Republican National Committee released an “autopsy report” that proposed compromising on social issues in order to appeal to young voters. In fact, millennials are the most pro-life generation in America, while economic libertarianism isn’t nearly as popular as its Beltway proponents imagine. We affirm the nonnegotiable dignity of every unborn life and oppose the transhumanist project of radical self-identification.

We resist a tyrannical liberalism.

We seek to revive the virtues of liberality and neighborliness that many people describe as “liberalism.” But we oppose any attempt to conflate American interests with liberal ideology. When an ideological liberalism seeks to dictate our foreign policy and dominate our religious and charitable institutions, tyranny is the result, at home and abroad.

We want a country that works for workers.

The Republican Party has for too long held investors and “job creators” above workers and citizens, dismissing vast swaths of Americans as takers unworthy of its time. Trump’s victory, driven in part by his appeal to working-class voters, shows the potential of a political movement that heeds the cries of the working class as much as the demands of capital. Americans take more pride in their identity as workers than about their identity as consumers. Economic and welfare policy should prioritize work over consumption.

We believe home matters.

For those who enjoy the upsides, a borderless world brings intoxicating new liberties. They can go anywhere, work anywhere. They can call themselves “citizens” of the world. But the jet-setters’ vision clashes with the human need for a common life. And it has bred resentments that are only beginning to surface. We embrace the new nationalism insofar as it stands against the utopian ideal of a borderless world that, in practice, leads to universal tyranny.

Whatever else might be said about it, the Trump phenomenon has opened up space in which to pose these questions anew. We will guard that space jealously. And we respectfully decline to join with those who would resurrect warmed-over Reaganism and foreclose honest debate.

Sohrab Ahmari
New York Post

Jeffrey Blehar

Patrick Deneen
University of Notre Dame

Rod Dreher
The American Conservative 

Darel Paul
Williams College

C. C. Pecknold
The Catholic University of America

Matthew Peterson
The Claremont Institute

James Poulos
The American Mind

Mark Regnerus
University of Texas at Austin

Matthew Schmitz
First Things

Kevin E. Stuart
Austin Institute

Matthew Walther
The Week 

Julia Yost
First Things

Institutional affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not represent institutional endorsement.

End of statement.

Y’all know that I don’t usually have much good to say about the president, but to me, Trump has accomplished two unambiguously good things: 1) put some good judges on the courts, and 2) smashed Conservatism, Inc.’s hegemony on the Right, opening the door for real debate about the future of the country, and of conservatism. Any attempt by establishment conservatives to aspire to, and create, a Restoration after Trump goes should be strongly opposed. He has made a big mess, but out of that mess we have to fight for renewal and the construction of something new, not the revivification of Zombie Reaganism.

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Anti-Christian Britain Vs. Asylum Seeker

One isn’t shocked by this or that outrage from post-Christian Britain. But this, from the government, is not just post-Christian, it is forthrightly anti-Christian:

The Church of England has attacked the Home Office for using Bible quotes to argue that Christianity is not a peaceful religion in a bid to reject an asylum seeker.

The Iranian national, who has not been identified, claimed asylum in 2016 but his application was rejected after government officials said his conversion from Islam was “inconsistent” with his claim that Christianity is a peaceful religion.

In order to reiterate the point, the Home Office wrote a lengthy and “unbelievably offensive” refusal letter referencing six Bible passages and claiming that the book of Revelation is filled with “images of revenge, destruction, death and violence”.

The Home Office rejection, below the quoted verses concludes: “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion, as opposed to Islam which contains violence, rage and revenge.”

It was so bad that even the atheists spoke out:

Stephen Evans, CEO of the National Secular Society, said: “It is wholly inappropriate for the Home Office to use theological justifications for refusing asylum applications.

“Decisions on the merits of an asylum appeal should be based on an assessment of the facts at hand – and not on the state’s interpretation of any given religion. It’s not the role of the Home Office to play theologian.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “This letter is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution, including conversions to a particular faith.

So that’s a sign of hope, if even the professional secularists think this was an offensive move. Still, the government should find out who made this decision and either sack them, or force them to go for training. Here’s a tweet from the case worker advocating for the Iranian asylum-seeker, who includes images of the Home Office’s letter to his client:

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Look, no country is obliged to give any individual asylum, no matter how deserving their case. And it is perfectly valid for a bureaucrat to probe critically at asylum-seekers’ claims to religious conversion, if there is reason to suspect that the individual is falsely claiming conversion to gain asylum for other reasons. But to have some bigoted half-wit in the Home Office cherry-pick passages from the Bible to conclude that a man’s religion — the same religion that is the official religion of the British state! — is “not peaceful” is outrageous. What is the UK government doing to give meaningful religious literacy education to the bureaucrats making these decisions, which are often matters of life or death?

Does this ignorant bureaucrat understand that Her Majesty the Queen is the head of the Church of England? Would he turn his own sovereign away at the border?

By the way, I would love to know how many persecuted Christians the US Government has welcomed as asylum seekers from Muslim majority countries. I bet the number is shamefully low.

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People As They Are

Fire at Paris’s St-Sulpice Church (Le Huffington Post screengrab)

Here’s a post that’s bound to make everybody mad. More mush from the Christian cuck! More excuses from bigotry from the Christianist! Et cetera. I use this blog as more of a notebook to write down my ideas than as a platform for fully formed ideas. I’m thinking out loud below, and beg your indulgence.

One of my favorite churches in Paris is St-Sulpice. In September 2017, I worshipped in the crypt chapel with a Romanian Orthodox community. I was shocked and horrified to see last weekend that it had been set on fire.

This is happening a lot in France these days. Excerpt:

A dozen Catholic churches have been desecrated across France over the period of one week in an egregious case of anti-Christian vandalism.

The recent spate of church profanations has puzzled both police and ecclesiastical leaders, who have mostly remained silent as the violations have spread up and down France.

Last Sunday, marauders set fire to the church of Saint-Sulpice — one of Paris’ largest and most important churches — shortly after the twelve-o’clock Mass.

Police have concluded that the fire was the result of arson and are now looking for possible suspects. The restoration of the church from the damage caused by the fire will reportedly cost several hundred million euros.

In Nimes (department of the Gard), near the border with Spain, the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants was desecrated in a particularly odious way, with vandals painting a cross with human excrement, looting the main altar and the tabernacle, and stealing the consecrated hosts, which were discovered later among piles of garbage.

Likewise, the church of Notre-Dame in Dijon, in the east of the country, suffered the sacking of the high altar and the hosts were also taken from the tabernacle, scattered on the ground, and trampled.

From what I can tell, nobody knows if the attackers were Muslims, left-wing radicals, or what.

Earlier this month, on International Women’s Day, feminists in Spain, Uruguay, and Argentina attacked churches, including throwing Molotov cocktails at them.

In Britain today, police are investigating after a man attacked five Birmingham mosques with a sledgehammer.  The reporting indicates that people are seeing this as probably a white supremacist attack, following Christchurch, but given the fact that Birmingham Muslims have been in the news lately for rejecting LGBT school lessons for their young children, the attacker might well turn out to have been some Social Justice Warrior.

As a religious believer, very little angers me more than violent attacks on places of worship. There’s a reason why they become the No. 1 target in cross-cultural wars: because they symbolize the thing a people one regards as the enemy holds most sacred. It’s hard to know how exactly that works in post-Christian France, but the general principle holds. In the Balkan wars, both Muslim and Christian fighters made a habit of desecrating the other side’s holy places. It was a horrible thing.

I’m not a religious universalist, but I find the desecration of religious places — all religious places — to be revolting in part because I believe that Augusto Del Noce was right: in the West, the most important sociopolitical goal to fight for today is to maintain the capacity of our societies to perceive transcendence.

Alex Massie has a thoughtful, challenging piece in the Spectator, musing on the presence of Muslims in Britain, and how the future Britain is to live together. He writes about the fact of anti-Muslim prejudice in the UK, and how there are different standards for evaluating white nationalist terrorists, and Muslim terrorists. But he concedes that the tension between Muslims in the UK and wider British society is not something that can be papered over with good intentions. More:

So it is complicated. And sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it means confronting uncomfortable realities. Rotherham was one such instance; the current controversy over LGBT teaching in Birmingham schools is another. British Islam must exist within the parameters of a liberal, increasingly secular, society. But while insisting upon that, it’s also necessary to be reminded that the exceptions to Muslim willingness to do that are just that: exceptions.

Too often too many people fail to make the necessary distinction between views which are distressingly prevalent and the fact they are not, despite that, all that prevalent. Of course sensible people know we have a real and serious problem with Islamist radicalisation. As many as 1,000 Britons have spent time with Islamic State and hundreds of them have returned home; that is a serious challenge. The greater one is doing what can be done to reduce the attraction of such enterprises in the first place.

It seems obvious that this cannot be done without the active support of British Muslims. In many instances, if an extremist is known to the security services it is because of information that has come from inside the Muslim community itself. This is sometimes presented as being atypical when in fact it’s typical.

That, by the way, is something I was told in 2002 by a friend who was at that time involved in counterterrorism work. She said that the public never hears about all the ordinary American Muslims who are informing on radicals at work within their communities, because their lives would be in danger if this information were to become known. But counterterrorism work would be impossible without them, she told me.

More Massie:

The future is more diverse than the present. That is inevitable. We can make this a warm house for Britons of all faiths (or none), or we can make it a cold house. The latter option leads nowhere productive and, more likely, will end in disaster. The white-right and the Islamist-right share a dismal diagnosis but it is one that can be confronted, indeed refuted, without giving succour to one party or the other.

That requires a political, and cultural, arena which does not ignore or seek to minimise the difficulties of building a society in which multiple cultures are respected while coalescing to form one unified, coherent, whole. That means symbols of inclusivity and role models and all the other trappings of a ‘politically correct’ society actually do matter; it means accepting difference without fetishising it and reminding ourselves that there are many roads to modern Britain. And it means asking this question: are you helping or are you not?

Read the whole thing. 

Britain’s challenge with its large Islamic population is not the same at America’s, given that we don’t have nearly as large an Islamic population. But Massie’s general point is one that all of us — Left and Right — should think about seriously. This is not only about migration.

The standard complaint that you hear from people on the Right — people like me — is that the Left loves to think of itself as welcoming diversity, and being open-minded, but this is actually a sham. The Left has its in-groups and its out-groups. “Diversity” and “inclusivity,” at typically used on the Left, is a way of stigmatizing out-groups while making it sound like a virtuous act. This is the main reason why conservatives don’t take conversations about “diversity” and “inclusivity” seriously: because we believe they are nothing more than pretexts for liberals to justify their spitefully excluding us while giving themselves a cookie for it.

The thing is, liberals are not wrong to say that we have to figure out how to live with increased diversity. Let me give you an example from a couple of experiences I had in France a few years back.

France, as you know, has a very, very serious problem with Islamic radicalism. One day in Paris, I had lunch with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. I met her husband, a man born in France to Algerian parents. He was a business executive. Entirely secular. Great guy. Over the course of our lunch, I found out from them both about the kinds of active discrimination he faced in France simply because he is an Arab of Muslim background. Again, this man was born in France, raised in France, had no religion, and had in fact succeeded in business — but had to deal with non-subtle bigotry almost every day.

Later, on that same trip, my wife and I met an American couple in the Luxembourg Gardens. They were traveling, but planning to leave Paris early because the husband was fed up with France. Why? He is a neurosurgeon of Latino background, but dressed in tourist clothes, he looked to French cab drivers like an Arab. The neurosurgeon got to experience anti-Arab prejudice firsthand, in daily transactions, and it infuriated him. When he would finally get a cab, the drivers who picked him up expressed audible relief that he wasn’t an Arab Muslim. After that happening a few times, the doctor told his wife they were getting out of this city and country.

I doubt that I have to tell this blog’s readership about the many, many examples of anti-Semitism and anti-Christian bigotry, even violent bigotry, from French Muslims. What I learned from that trip to Paris, though, was from firsthand experience something I had only heretofore read: that French society makes it unusually difficult to join it if you are of Arab Muslim descent. (It should be noted here that the French are famously resistant to non-French people of any kind; perhaps perversely, it’s part of what I love about them.) We could talk all day long about whether or not it was a good idea for France to allow so many Muslims in decades past to immigrate into a country that was not prepared to assimilate them, and you could say the same about England and its Islamic population.

But they are present, and they aren’t going anywhere. In the US, our main immigration challenge is from Latin Americans, who also aren’t going anywhere, and who are changing America. So, Massie’s question is a good one for us too, with regard to whether or not we are making this evolving country a peaceable place to live: Are you helping, or are you not?

Well, what does it mean to “help”?

Right-wing questions: What if I genuinely believe the country is headed in a bad direction? Why should I help it make its way peaceably to the suicide leap from the lip of a cliff? Why shouldn’t I fight to turn it around? Why should I collaborate with evil?

Left-wing questions: What if I genuinely believe the country is headed in the right direction, and would be doing even better if not for these bigoted holdouts? Why should I consent to slowing down progress for the sake of these nasty people? Why should I collaborate with evil?

I am more or less 90 percent on the Right here, but that 10 percent keeps me from finding a position that is both 100 percent intellectually consistent, and that also has much to do with the real world, inhabited by real people.

For me, the answer is that I really do believe the country is headed in a bad direction, and I am so alienated from its culture that I don’t see my future as, to use MacIntyre’s formulation, shoring up the imperium. And I don’t see any sense in fighting to “save” the culture from what it is becoming. People want this, and they’re going to get it. My mission, as I see it, is to save what can be saved of authentic Christian faith and culture, and to build the institutions and practices within which it can be passed on to future generations. That, and to pray for reconversion.

But.

I may not have much regard for the culture in the abstract, but I find it hard not to love individual people. I think of my friend Ryan Booth, a conservative Southern Baptist who took in a transgender couple during the great 2016 flood, when they had nowhere to go. Ryan is nobody’s idea of a progressive … but he is a Christian. He’s the kind of man I want to be. It’s a difficult balance to keep, and I wish I saw more of this from the Left: people who may reject everything we conservatives, especially religious conservatives, stand for, but who respect us as people who have the right to be wrong.

In the Birmingham standoff between Muslim parents and LGBT advocates (who have the state on their side), it seems to me from the outside that the Muslim parents don’t expect the state schools never, ever to mention LGBT people to their children. They just don’t want it to be done to the kids at such an early age. Why is it so bloody difficult to respect that, even as they ask UK Muslims to understand that post-Christian Britain is a place that does not conform to traditional Muslim mores? I am quite sure that the act of being a believing, practicing Muslim in the UK today requires far, far more quiet compromises in daily life than most non-Muslim Britons can imagine. In the Birmingham standoff, one gets the idea that the Left, having won the culture war, is just bouncing the rubble.

It seems to me that the most important practical goal all of us in our diverse societies should shoot for is living in peace and stability. It’s an unsexy goal, but a vital one. It means learning to compromise. Not just the Other Side learning to compromise, but Your Side as well. This is often hard, but especially so when you don’t believe the Other Side is willing to compromise at all.

The way we think of disputes in our culture is a big problem here. What if we resisted thinking about these conflicts in terms of winner-take-all, but rather in terms of achieving harmony? What if we stopped thinking about creating the perfect society, free of all injustice, and instead learned to be satisfied with incremental change — change that happens at a rate that can be absorbed by the diverse communities around us without causing maximal resentment, and sparking a backlash?

Sometimes there is no middle ground, e.g., the Three-Fifths Compromise. But the alternative, as we saw, was an actual civil war. That war, over slavery, was unavoidable. This was not a situation that was tolerable, and blood had to be shed to end it.

We don’t live in a situation so radical. Our conflicts, however fierce, are far more quotidian, though we ramp them up to world-historical showdowns. It’s as if it’s not enough to win; our opponents must have their faces ground into the dust.

I do not understand the pleasure some on the Left take in humiliating a Christian wedding cake baker and forcing him to violate his conscience and threatening to take his livelihood away — this, in a context of total legal victory for same-sex marriage, and an almost-total cultural victory. I do not understand the pleasure some on the Right take in making a Muslim mom and dad afraid to take their kids to Friday prayers at the mosque. (The fact that in the first case, the bullies have the full backing of the American establishment, and in the second case the bully seems to be an isolated thug, is politically meaningful, but never mind.)

Look, we can’t all have what we want in this society. Not you, not me, none of us — unless we are prepared to use violence, and we have a reasonable chance of succeeding by using it. If we don’t want a civil war, we need to slow down and give everybody the chance to absorb the immense changes that have come upon us. We have to want to live in peace and harmony, even if we have to give up something, more than we want to live at war with each other.

That, by the way, means that immigration has to slow down or, as in Europe’s case, stop completely. The cardinal who heads the Italian bishops’ conference is making things far worse by chastising Italians opposed to mass migration as racists and bad Christians. If, God forbid, there is serious civil unrest in Italy, even civil war, intransigent idealists like this cardinal — and Pope Francis — will bear some of the blame. You have to work with people as they are, not as you demand that they be. This is a lesson all of us — all of us — have to ponder.

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Please Don’t Notice The Mass Murder Attempt

Italian police saved 51 kids from this school bus set ablaze by hostage-taking immigrant driver (RT screenshot)

News from the world of Italian school buses:

The driver of a school bus has been arrested in Milan after allegedly hijacking the vehicle with 51 children onboard and setting it on fire.

One of the children called the police after the driver stopped the bus on a highway in the outskirts of the city, Italian media reported.

After police arrived, the suspect allegedly doused the vehicle with an inflammable liquid, reportedly shouting: “Nobody gets off here alive.”

The bus, which had been travelling from the city of Cremona in Lombardy, went up in flames but the police managed to get all the passengers off. Twelve children and two adults were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

The Milan prosecutor said, “It was a miracle they survived and we have to thank the police for that.”

The driver, we subsequently learn, was a naturalized Italian citizen from Senegal, who very nearly killed all these children — as many as Muslims who died in the Christchurch mosque — to protest Italy’s immigration policy.  As La Repubblica reported, before setting the bus on fire, the man shouted,  “I want to be done, deaths in the Mediterranean must be stopped.”

Here’s how The Guardian headlined the piece:

“Driver in Italy” — this, even though the fact that he was born in Senegal has everything to do with his crime! Here’s how the BBC headlined it:

“Italian driver.”

The Daily Mail, which actually reports this news with chilling detail, uses this accurate and informative headline:

As I write this, around 4:30 Central US time, there is no story about this on the website of The New York Times or the Washington Post. 

There was an attempted mass murder of children on a school bus in Italy, by an immigrant angry over the fact that Italy is not opening its doors fully to migrants.

If not for the police, and a student on board who concealed his smartphone and used it to alert authorities, we would have had another Christchurch in terms of the number of deaths.

Yet the bien-pensant establishment British media (Guardian, BBC) are downplaying the story and the immigrant angle, à la Rotherham. Must manage the narrative. The right-thinking US major media aren’t even reporting it. Fifty-one child hostages, very nearly burned to death on a school bus by a homicidal lunatic immigrant wanting to make a political statement!

Had he been a white supremacist who had very nearly murdered a bus full of Muslim children, do you think that the Guardian, the BBC, and the leading US media, would be treating the story this way? You know the answer to this question as well as I do.

UPDATE: One of the child hostages, interviewed by La Repubblica, says (the video is in Italian):

“I lost three daughters who drowned in the sea, all the children died at sea, so you too must die. Burned up.”

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Blighty Goes Crazy

One of the world’s great universities is terrified of this man, Jordan Peterson (Skavlan screen grab)

Somebody — maybe Andrew Sullivan — said that the UK was what America would be like if it were run by Social Justice Warriors. The police are actually … well, read it yourself:

A journalist claims she is being investigated by police for using the wrong pronoun for a transgender woman.

Caroline Farrow said Surrey Police wants to “conduct a taped interview under caution” because of tweets posted in October.

They were made after she was on ITV’s Good Morning Britain with Susie Green, whose daughter Jackie is transgender.

Ms Green said the posts were malicious and it was “not just the misgendering” issue.

Susie Green, a well-known public nuisance, has a son who presents as a female. More from Caroline Farrow’s Twitter account:

Can you believe it?

Actually, this must be good news. Crime is so well in hand in Britain that the police can spend time and resources harassing citizens for committing phony crimes that irritate professional agonists like Susie Green.

Meanwhile, I was driving back today from an out of town trip, and listened to some of this Jordan Peterson lecture about the psychological meaning of the Bible.  It’s really great, and gave me so much to think about. He really does have an uncanny gift for helping one to see old things with fresh eyes. I arrived home to discover that Cambridge University has withdrawn its invitation to Peterson to serve a two-month fellowship there. From The Guardian:

 

The University of Cambridge said Peterson requested to be a visiting fellow and was initially granted the opportunity, but after further review it decided to take back the offer.

“[Cambridge] is an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot,” a spokesperson for the university said.

Peterson, whose self-help book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, became a bestseller in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Germany and France, has amassed more than 1 million followers on Twitter.

In September 2016 he expressed concern on YouTube about the development of a federal amendment to add gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act. This would make it illegal to stop someone from getting a job or discriminate against them in the workplace based on the gender they identify with or outwardly express.

Peterson claimed the law was an infringement of free speech and said that he would refuse to use any pronoun other than he or she. His views sparked protests across Toronto University’s campus.

He also challenged his university’s plans for mandatory anti-bias training and has railed against Marxism, human rights organisations, HR departments and “an underground apparatus of radical left political motivations” forcing gender-neutral pronouns on him.

Students and faculty are reportedly thrilled that Peterson isn’t going to turn their campus into an unsafe space by his presence.

What a sorry herd of bootlicking cowards. Whatever happened to the Britain we know, love, and admire? I guarantee you that no small amount of the faculty ire is sheer jealousy. But never mind. This is what happens when the militant left comes to dominate a culture and its institutions. You have popular scholars denied positions in major universities, and dissident Catholic journalists harassed by police.

Bring on the backlash. Can’t happen soon enough.

Sooner or later these Jacobins of academia, in the US and the UK, are going to alienate so many scholars that they will be able to start an intellectually free national university on their own, where undergraduates and graduate students will be able to learn true scholarship, unbound by these smelly little orthodoxies.

UPDATE: And now this:

The Open University was forced to cancel a conference on prison reform following threats from the transgender lobby, it has emerged.

Over a hundred delegates had already bought tickets for the two-day event in May, which was co-organised by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS). But earlier this month, attendees and speakers were notified that the conference had been called off.

The CCJS, an educational charity, has been accused of “transphobia” for its stance that transgender female prisoners should be incarcerated separately from female prisoners.

“The Open University faced quite significant pressure from transgender activists. They received a number of emails where some of the language was extraordinarily overheated,” a source told The Telegraph.

“They were effectively being threatened with demonstrations and disruptive activity, possibly in the conference hall itself, and some kind of picket line or protest outside the conference.”

Again: cowards! You cannot give in to these fascists. If they try to stop the conference, have the police arrest them, and press charges against them.

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Midwestern Floods: What Are You Seeing?

Omaha, the week before the flood, via Landsat (Geolounge screengrab)

Omaha, in flood, from Landsat (Geolounge screengrab)

Readers, I have to go out for a few hours on a sudden errand. When I get back, I would like to hear from you who are in the flood zones of Nebraska and Iowa. It’s amazing how little coverage your tragedy is receiving. If I didn’t follow the Twitter accounts of Sen. Ben Sasse and Jake Meador, I would barely know a thing about it. I know the same thing happened in 2016 when we had the devastating Louisiana floods.

Please let the rest of us know what you’re seeing, how you’re doing, and how the rest of us can help.

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The Decadence Of Godfried Danneels

Cardinal Godfried Danneels (d. 2019), former primate of Belgium (VTM screengrab)

Take a look at this:

The shaded material on the right is a clip from Kerk en Leven (Church and Life), in August of 1984. Kerk en Leven is the weekly magazine of the Catholic Church in Flanders. This, via DeepL, is the translation of the first paragraph of the shaded copy:

A few years ago, an ecumenical working group on paedophilia was established in Flanders. This working group, made up of Catholics and Protestants, aims to make the Churches aware of the phenomenon of paedophilia, to pass on information and to remove prejudices. The working group also wants to inform itself about everything that appears in the field of paedophilia. All are welcome who want to get to know paedophilia and paedophiles better, provided this is done in openness, respect and reliability.

The article goes on to say that they are meeting in a chapel, and that pastors are leading it.

The text on the left-hand column recounts what happened when a concerned mother wrote to Cardinal Danneels, and shared with him more information that she apparently got from the program happening under his auspices. Here is what the Pedophile Working Group advised:

  • If your son or daughter feels the connection with the paedophile is fine, do not break that connection;
  • The reaction of the environment is often more harmful than the events themselves;
  • Many convinced Christians can learn something from paedophiles;
  • It is preferable that a relationship of trust be established between the paedophile in the parents.

Cardinal Danneels did nothing about this, according to the text. That was the same year his dear friend Roger Vangheluwe became Bishop of Bruges. Vangheluwe would decades later be exposed as a pedophile who molested two of his nephews — and Cardinal Danneels was secretly recorded by one of the victims attempting to gain the victim’s silence.

This is the great liberal cardinal that Pope Francis invited to participate in the Church’s Synod on the Family.

If you want to know more about how berserk the Catholic Church in Belgium went after the Second Vatican Council, take a look at this long report from the Catholic University in Leuven. It’s not polemical; it’s just a summary of the Church’s catechetical efforts over the decades since the council. It’s in Flemish, but if you browse with Chrome, it will translate the text for you. Reading this document is like encountering a Catholic traditionalist’s satirical take on liberal Catholic catechesis — but it’s all too real. Here are a couple of excerpts:

[In the 1970s:] In the first two degrees of secondary education, Roman Catholic religious instruction had in mind primarily the introduction of the most important building blocks of the Christian faith.  The teacher had to use the correlation teaching method that was already introduced in the first half of the seventies. In the first degree, the focus of religious instruction was on lessons about the Old and the New Testament. Secondly, a “Christian self-development” was central to the second degree.  For each intended topic, the lessons not only had an eye for the world of the class, but also for “the Bible, reflection and experience in the church community.” In this way, according to Bulckens, the teaching of religion wanted ‘to teach young people how to deal with the Christian vision of life problems and tasks’. Finally, as in the previous periods, religion classes for the third degree had the purpose of a synthesis of faith. In this way, religious instruction aimed to “help young adults to develop a personal vision” and to promote “engagement in a very mixed society in dialogue with other opinions and beliefs.”

In other words, although the Roman Catholic religious lessons still cast a glance at the Christian faith, other philosophies of life gradually came to the fore. With these philosophies of life and world religions, the lessons wished to enter into constant dialogue, whereby the transfer of pure Catholic doctrine disappeared more and more into the background. Furthermore, it was absolutely unacceptable for the teacher to act as an authoritarian figure and resolutely hide behind the statements of the Catholic Church. [337]This could, after all, arouse the students’ aversion to the Christian faith. These views were already accepted in the first half of the seventies and were partly a result of the growing pluralization in society and within the walls of secondary education. The religious teacher was therefore expected to enter into “open and honest dialogue” with the class group, so that the students could develop their own vision of the Christian faith and other views on life.

More:

As mentioned earlier, a pure proclamation of faith and the Christian formation of the class groups were no longer the central thesis of Roman Catholic religious education. Instead of such school-like catechesis, religious instruction wanted to contribute to the personal development of every student. As a result, the lessons were arranged in such a way that for some they could have a catechistic meaning and for others “an introduction to the Christian doctrine in its cultural-historical meaning”. The parents of the pupils also received a workbook for parents in The Religion in Catholic Secondary Education given the message that a pure proclamation of faith was no longer possible. The religious education now wanted to “make young people acquainted with the Christian religion, in dialogue with the major world religions and with all kinds of humanisms, and invite them to determine their personal attitude in freedom”.

In 1988, the catechesis program was replaced by a new one called Roeach:

Just like the Catechetic Units , a learner- centered approach formed the center of gravity within Roeach‘s [the name of the new catechetical program] religious lessons through an interactive lesson. An active teaching methodology was also put forward in the current curricula. In his article, Snijkers also praised the Roeach textbook series for his ‘creative and student-oriented elaboration, in which varied questions and assignments and well-chosen impulses gradually led to knowledge and insight’. Furthermore, the Roeach working group concerned intended to create “an open and dialogical learning process”, in which students were invited to “express their opinions and determine their personal position”. To arrive at such a form of teaching, the textbook series did not only respond to person-oriented didactics, but also to task and group-oriented teaching. The group-oriented component focused on class discussions about the social and religious context in question. In this way, Roeach encouraged the students to develop a personal vision of the Christian faith in complete freedom. Again, the prominent importance of an individual-centered approach appears here.

You may recall from yesterday’s post that one of these Roeach editions infuriated Flemish Catholic mother Alexandra Colen, a politician, with its pedophilic content and illustrations, under the guise of Catholic sex education. She raised hell with Cardinal Danneels and the Church bureaucracy, but got nowhere. She pulled her kids out of Catholic school, and homeschooled them.

If euthanasia weren’t legal in Belgium, the Belgian hierarchy and Catholic Church administration should be arrested en masse for murdering Catholicism in their country.

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Muslim School Protest Spreads

Muslim parent in Birmingham does not want school’s lesson on LGBT (RT screengrab)

Well, imagine that:

Four more schools in Birmingham have stopped teaching about LGBT rights following complaints by parents.

Leigh Trust said it was suspending the No Outsiders programme until an agreement with parents was reached.

Earlier this month the city’s Parkfield Community School suspended the lessons after protests were held.

Campaigner Amir Ahmed said some Muslims felt “victimised” but an LGBT group leader said No Outsiders helped pupils understand it is OK to be different.

In a letter seen by the BBC, Leigh Trust said it was halting the lessons until after Ramadan, which finishes in June.

The schools involved are Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior and Infants School and Wyndcliff Primary School.

It’s like the Muslim parents forced the educational authorities locally to recognize that they have rights over how their children are educated. Brilliant!

 

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