Hinduism – on steroids

Mahatma Ghandhi, as you might recall, said “I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.” I like your Christ, but not your Christianity.” He was noting the failure of the West in living up to the teaching of Jesus Christ.  God forgive us that our two major politic parties seem to be the parties of lust and greed.

Ghandhi was assassinated by an advocated for Hindu Nationalism, Nathuram Godse.  Godse has been a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).  Godse’s chief gripe against Ghandi was being too accommodating to Muslims during the partition of India.  The goal here is not to focus on Ghandhi but on the RSS.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh literally means “national volunteer organization.”  It was founded in 1925 and had six million members by 2014. RSS supports Hindu nationalism.  It has been described as almost fascist in the classical sense. 

The cabinet of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru banned the Hindutva ideology-based RSS after Ghandhi’s assassination.  It was banned again under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.  But in 2014, RSS member Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minster of India. He was elected a second time by a landslide in 2019.  Since his election, RSS membership has increased by 20 percent. 

Anyone who leads others away from Hinduism is targeted with imputing by the RSS.  Social media reports on Christian missionary activity across the nation. In 2017, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. As of 2020, USCIRF placed India as Tier-1 in minority persecution along with countries like North Korea and Pakistan.

Within the decade, India will be the most populous nation on earth. Pray for the Christians in India as they carry on the mission of seeking and saving the lost.

Bangladesh

The nation of Bangladesh may be headed toward a humanitarian disaster as a third of the nation is already under water and more is on the way. The UN believes the nation is facing its most prolonged flooding since 1988.

That the nation has been locked down for the past four months due to COVID 19 means a third of the nation is under its poverty line.

sounds like Mexico

What if you heard that a gunman dressed as a delivery person entered the home of a judge and opened fired, killing the judge’s only child, her 20 year old son, and sending her husband to the hospital in critical condition. Would you think this happened in a narco-state?

It happened in New Jersey and the gunman was dressed as a FedEx driver. The Latina judge was U.S. District Court of New Jersey’s Esther Salas. Her husband is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. The father and son opened the door to the shooter, while she was elsewhere in the home.

In 2018, Judge Salas sentenced 33 year old Farad Roland to 45 years in prison on federal racketeering charges. Roland was leader of the South Side Cartel, one of Newark’s most violent street gangs, a branch of the Bloods. Roland Roland admitted his role in five murders, an armed carjacking, an armed robbery of a drug dealer, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and drug conspiracy. Judge Salas barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty for Roland, ruling the man’s intellectual disability made him ineligible for capital punishment.

More recently she was appointed to hear an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and didn’t monitor “high-risk” customers Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. Deutsche Bankagreed to pay a $150 million fine for continuing to work with Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting underage prostitutes in 2008.

The press says the shooter was a 72 year old lawyer by the name of Roy Den Hollander. His body was found in a car in a secluded, dead-end street that is part of a campsite in Rockland in Sullivan County, New York. This is 148 miles from the Judges home. His supposed motive according to the press is his anti-feminist bent. Den Hollander, a lawyer based in New York, had a case pending before Salas regarding the U.S. Military’s male-only draft registration system on the grounds it “discriminates against both sexes in violation of Equal Protection as incorporated into the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.” The New York Times says, according to an an unnamed law enforcement source, a package addressed to Judge Salas was found near the suspect’s car.

Hollander’s resume is that he has an MBA from Columbia with honors and a J.D from George Washington University Law School with high honors. Does this seem like the CV for a man who would dress up as a FedEx employee to assassinate a federal judge? Or is this sort of suicide as Jeffrey Epsteins?

The last person to testify in high profile case of sexual abuse of young woman was Rachael Denhollander. The first to accuse Nassar of sexual assault, she delivered the final victim impact statement at the trial. Nassar groomed young women for abuse from his position as an authority figure in gymnastics. Did we mention that Rachel is a lawyer now?

Rachel Denhollander had this to say, “Only in the Christian faith do we have a God who unfailingly loves enough to always bring justice, but also unfailingly loves enough to take that justice upon Himself to make forgiveness possible… When my innocence was stolen as a young child, twice over, God saw that damage, and He said, ‘This is evil, and it matters to me.’ What happened to me matters, and it is seen, and it is heard, and someone cares, when no one else did.” Her husband is Jacob Denhollander, a transplanted Canadian is studying for the ministry.

Judge Esther Salas’s son was planning on following his mother into a career in the service of justice, inspired by his Christian faith.

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Outside our box

In east Africa, the region is suffering from torrential rains with flooding, swarms of locusts and the corona virus lockdown.  Border closures have made getting pesticides to fight the locusts scarce.  Floods have forced over a million people to flee from their homes. Food is in short supply. 

Meanwhile in central Asia police states are expanding with an app called STOP COVID-19. In theory of course these apps are intended to slow the spread of the virus, but in reality, apps can and are being used to trace people.   The STOP COVID-19 app has the ability to listen to phone conversations, monitor data usage, and even take over the phone.  People in Kyrgyz are being pressured to install the app. 

China has cracked down on Hong Kong, taking away what was left of its semiautonomous status which was supposed to last for 50 years after the British turned the city over to China in 1997. In case you didn’t know, Great Britain got Hong Kong Island from China in 1842, when the Treaty of Nanking was signed at the end of the first Opium War (1839-42).  Now on account of China’s actions toward the city, the UK has offered the nearly 3 million residents of Hong British national overseas citizenship status (BNO) the right to settle in the UK. China wasn’t pleased.

In Mexico, a dozen armed men fired 150 rounds at the armored car of García Harfuch, chief of police. Three people, including two of his body guards died in the attack. Harfuch survived his gun shot wounds and tweeted from his hospital bed, “Our Nation has to continue confronting cowardly organized crime.”  Heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl continue to cross the border into the US, leading to an increase in overdose deaths. The cartels are branding themselves as helping the poor during the pandemic, passing out food and supplies with labels like “Gulf Cartel.”

Just a few things to think about if the nightly US news talking about face masks is numbing your senses.

Hisham al-Hashimi

Hisham al-Hashimi was an expert on armed groups in Iraq. He advised governments and spoke in the media.  He was assassinated near his home Baghdad.  He had death threats against him from Hezbollah and ISIS.

Four men on motorcycles surrounded his car when he pulled up to his house. One of the men approached his vehicle and started shooting. There is CCTV footage of the shooting. The gunman got back on his motorcycle and drove off.

Hisham was an expert but he appears to have done what countless others have done under the same circumstances.  He didn’t turn his vehicle into a weapon and run over the man with the gun approaching his vehicle.  There is a book on detail driving that includes an analysis of many incidents and something that happens repeatedly is drivers fail to get out of the kill zone.

The bad guys knew where Hisham lived. They knew when he would be coming home. They had surveillance data on him. 

Consider taking a driving course that would teach you how to react in such an unfortunate event.  They silenced Hisham, but the people of Iraq will continue working towards a stable society – they have been at this far longer than most other people on the planet. 

back by the grace of God

Recently read a report from a seasoned missionary who worked in the rural, northern part of Ghana. The report detailed some of the travails he faced getting back to the United States in June because of COVID-19.  I asked him if we could share some of that experience here and we thank him for saying yes.

He was two months overdue coming home by June and had a great attitude about the situation.  He was enduring and them became gravely ill with a high fever – never a good sign in sub-Saharan Africa.  After a couple of days of this, he made the 90-mile trek to a regional hospital where he spent three days getting pumped full of antibiotics by IV. Maybe it was bacterial meningitis, a serious inflammation of the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord.  Meningitis can be caused by bacteria which spreads from person to person or can be spread through food.  Meningococcal vaccines can protect against some the form of bacterial meningitis caused by N. meningitidis. The vaccines are not 100% effective. The highest incidence of N. meningitidis is found in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa which is where our friend was working. He was wise to get to the regional health center, because meningococcal disease can be fatal. It should always be viewed as a medical emergency. CDC recommends that travelers to this Meningitis belt be vaccinated with MenACWY before traveling. Bacterial meningitis can be caused by other organisms, including Listeria monocytogenesincase it generally comes from contaminated food. After being discharged from the hospital and making the 90-mile trek north to his in-country residence, our friend relapsed into a high fever again.  The Africans carrying for him kept his fever from reaching a deadly level by covering him with wet cloths repeatedly throughout the night until his fever broke.  A fever of up to 105 °F or 40.55 °C causes exhaustion and weakness, but it is the immune systems way of killing pathogens. Scientists recently learned that a fever aids immune system cells in getting out of the blood stream and to the invading pathogens. Once a fever gets over 105° F it is getting to the dangerous level and a fever of 108° F can itself be deadly.

Imagine this, friend in the story had been waiting two months to get home to the US. He got news that an Ethiopia Airline plane was departing the capital (hundreds of miles away) on just a couple of days after being released from the hospital.  The ticket had to be purchased in the capital with dollars rather than local currency. The airline company was willing to create a ticket for a day but would not take a credit card number over the phone. The next day, there were not tickets.  Our friend who lived through these woes himself arrived in the capital on Wednesday, five days after being released from the hospital to stand outside in a cue of 70 or 80 other people trying to get information about the flight or tickets on it. Weak from his bout of illness and no longer able to sit outside, our friend went to the place where he was staying.  He decided he would just go to the airport on Friday, the day the plane was scheduled to fly to the US. Although he arrived three hours before the flight, there were 20 people ahead of him in line and another 30 behind him. By the time our friend arrived with his e-ticket, the flight was boarding and the agent sent him to the sales desk. Standing in line, he began to pray the agent would have empathy.  Because of the e-ticket, the agent called the main office and was authorize to sell our friend a ticket – but his credit card would not go.  Fortunately, he had just enough cash to pay for a ticket.  He got the last seat on the plane, middle seat, last row.  Because there were to connecting flights to take him home after he arrived on the east coast, his wife drove half way across the country to pick him up.  He is still recovering.

We share this story with his permission because it is a cautionary tale of traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.