Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Armenian Genocide and America's Response

The Burning Tigris, The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response. A History of International Human Rights and Forgotten Heroes by Peter Balakian . 2003 HarperCollins Publishers.

Here is a book which our president and staff, and all of us, need to read. These comments printed on the jacket of the hardback will give you a good idea of its contents:

“Peter Balakian’s The Burning Tigris, is a gripping treatment of the official Turkish mass murder of a whole people, an event that adds its insane horror to the copious disgrace earned by the twentieth century. The book, fully documented with appalling details, is a masterpiece of moral history, and needs to be widely read.” --Paul Fussell, author of The Great War and Modern Memory

“The terrible fate of the Armenians, whose attempted destruction provided a template for the Jewish Holocaust, is brilliantly described, as is the remarkable response of the United States in the face of a humanitarian tragedy of a type that has, unfortunately, been repeated again and again, into our twenty-first century. Peter Balakian has done a great service to the history of the Armenians.” --Sir Martin Gilbert, author of The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust.

“The Armenian Genocide is a double tragedy; the tragedy of the horrific event itself and the contemporary tragedy of its denial by Turkey. Peter Balakian tells the powerful and largely unknown story of America’s response to both these tragedies. This important and compelling book is long overdue.” --Deborah E. Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.

Comments from the publishers:
“This is the only study of a particular genocide that fully records the motivations of perpetrators, the suffering of victims, and the responses of the outside world. Balakian brillianty integrates all of these dimensions so that they become a single, compelling narrative. This book will be a classic, in terms of what it says about genocide and about the struggle of America—and humanity as a whole—to come to terms with it.”

“During the United States’ ascension in the global arena at the turn of the twentieth century, America’s humanitarian movement for Armenia was an important part of the rising nation’s first epoch of internationalism. Intellectuals, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders, and ordinary citizens came together to try to save the Armenians. The Burning Tigris reconstructs this landmark American cause that was spearheaded by the passionate commitments and commentaries of a remarkable cast of public figures, including Julia War Howe, Clara Barton, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Alice Stone Blackwell, Stephen Crane and Ezra Pound, as well as courageous missionaries, diplomats and relief workers who recorded their eyewitness accounts and often risked their lives in the killing fields of Armenia.”

Monday, February 13, 2006

21st Century Christians

Are they really lacking in “sincerity” and to be classified as “liberal”?

Christians (so called) who have converted to Islam are turning up on talk shows, and in video segments which display their devotion to their new religion. They reveal unconsciously that they are totally unaware of both the history of Islam and of its involvement in current affairs. They have been attracted to Islam, the Religion, and are blissfully unaware of the fact that Islam is religion and politics (state) in one indivisible entity. Islam as merely a religion has never really existed.

A talk show host this morning urged a southern convert to describe why she had become a Muslim. She had already told us that she attended a full 12 years in a Roman Catholic school. Finally she blurted that the attraction was that they “were so sincere”. And yes, she did believe it was a religion of Peace!

A video which we discovered recently depicted four Texans who had forsaken their Bible-believing backgrounds to join the ranks of Islam in America. The main character, a young man who was on track to be a Baptist minister, declared with glee that “Islam was everything he wished Christianity had been.” He was so devoted to his new faith that he had not missed one of the five daily prayer times, no matter what his circumstances. He was the perfect advertisement of a satisfied customer. He stated that Christianity was just too liberal.

A young lady also featured in the video and graduate of Christian schools, displayed her fanatical devotion by being hyper covered from head to toe with the required Islamic dress for women. You felt that she was hypnotized by the “dress-up” part of her new life. She was an eager recruiter. How strange that just when the nuns of the Roman Catholic church have laid aside most of their distinctive dress, you see young American girls delighted to comply with the dress-up part of Islam.

Perhaps these two descriptions, ”liberalism” which could also be called secularism, and lack of sincerity, would make for good discussion in Bible Study groups. Is there any way we can improve our image?

The Apostle Paul in the 12th chapter of Romans, seemed to have anticipated these two classifications when he wrote:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This beautiful chapter describes perfectly what it ought to mean to be a Christian. “Love must be sincere”. Read the entire chapter and see how you score!

Shirley W. Madany