Supreme Court

“Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis. At a minimum, that Amendment prohibits government officials from treating religious exercises worse than comparable secular activities, unless they are pursuing a compelling interest and using the least restrictive means available. … Yet recently, during the COVID pandemic, certain States seem to have ignored these long-settled principles. Today’s case supplies just the latest example,” said Justice Neil Gorsuch in his concurring opinion. ““It is time — past time — to make plain that, while the pandemic poses many grave challenges, there is no world in which the Constitution tolerates color-coded executive edicts that reopen liquor stores and bike shops but shutter churches, synagogues and mosques,” he concludes.

The case was a challenge from the state of New York where an executive order from the governor would have limited the number of people to 10 in a ‘red’ zone and 25 in an ‘orange’ zone. “Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.”

 “But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure.”

You can and probably should read the full ruling here:

Car-jacking self-defense

Do you think that car is following your’s? Make four right turn – essentially you are making a circle. If you find that car is still following you after this, drive to the nearest police station or other location with armed security.

If you drive in places where car-jackings are frequent, you might want to consider taking a class in evasive driving techniques. At least remember never to stop in a ‘kill’ zone. Be sure you can always see the tires of the vehicle in front of you when stopping at intersections – so you can go around it if need be.

There are other helpful tips available in books on the topic, but remember is someone is attacking you, you don’t have to be a nice driver.

news you might have missed

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, a “charter” member of al Qaeda, who is considered to have been the brains behind the attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998 was apparently assassinated recently in Tehran, Iran.

He and his daughter Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza, were both shot in their vehicle by assailants on a motorbike.

They were killed on August 7, on the anniversary of the 1998 attacks on the embassies. Maybe this was poetic justice as claimed by an investigator for the Center for Combating Terrorism. The New York Times cites an unnamed official as saying the attacks were carried out by Israel, by that nations Prime Minister’s office has refused to comment on the matter.

Seal Team 6

According to the Daily Mail, Seal Team 6 rescued the missionary who was kidnapped recently in Niger.

On behalf of the faith based community, thanks guys!

kidnapping in Niger

Six men came across the border on motorbikes with AK47s and they spoke  Hausa and English. Most likely they had crossed over the border from Nigeria in order to kidnap the American missionary from the village in of Massalata.

The governor of the area told media outlets that the men took the US citizen with them in the direction of the Nigerian border after demanding money.

The missionary had been living and working in the area of Massalata for a year or more. The rest of his family seems to be fine except for the trauma of seeing their loved one taken.

Please pray for him.

Unrestricted Warfare

Unrestricted Warfare is a book you might have missed, published in 1999. It was written by two Chinese Air Force colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. The basic thesis of the book is that anything China does to bring down the US is acceptable – the doctrine of unrestricted warfare.

Qiao was quoted as stating that “the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden.” According to the downloadable pdf, the book was published before the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Remember that incident? The US accidently bombed an embassy that was clearly marked on maps of Belgrade and excused the action by saying they didn’t know it was an embassy. The CIA targeted that strike – but to be fair, the embassy was broadcasting signals for Serbs.

What we forget sometimes here in Western Christian Civiliation is that before the cross, might made right. Powerful people could do anything they wanted to the less powerful. It was the church that imposed rules on warfare. This is an historical truth deeply embedded in our culture – so deeply that now sometimes people are held accountable for war crimes. Perhaps not often enough, but sometimes. The further we drift for our moral foundations of course the more these concepts are likely to fade away.

One of the ‘gifts’ that China has been supplying to the United States is fentanyl – a deadly narcotic. Either the drug itself or Chinese labs ship the chemicals for making fentanyl to the cartels cross our southern border.

The US had a record number of fatal overdoses last year – 36,500 were from synthetic opiods like fentanyl. There were others as well because fentanyl gets mixed into cocaine and methamphetamine. The total number of drug fatalities from overdoses according to CDC was 70,980.

Learn to use narcan and carry it with you – it will make you something of a combat medic.

kidnapped missionary killed

According to a report out today by World Watch Monitor, a Swiss missionary who had been kidnapped a second time in northern Mali has been executed by her abductors. The source of the information was a woman aid worker who was held with the Swiss woman.

The first time the Swiss missionary was taken in northern Mali was in 2012. She was kept for 10 days. She returned home to Switzerland for a time, but then went to Timbuktu to continue her mission work. She appeared in several films produced by jihadist groups during her period of captivity which started in 2016 this second time.

Pray for the others who are still being held captive in this region of the world.

Professor Patrice Nganang

How does a literature professor at Stony Brook end up in jail in Cameroon? He wrote an article critical of how the government is treating its English speaking people.

It turned out relatively will for the professor who holds dual citizenship between Cameroon and the US as he was expelled from the nation of his birth and told not to return. Charges against him included issuing a death threat; insulting constitutional bodies, specifically the military; and inciting violence in a Facebook post.

Be aware that foreign governments monitor your Facebook accounts.

another Dalit woman dies

Another Dalit woman died in India today. The 19 year old had been raped by upper caste men two weeks ago and strangled. They have been arrested and charged, but that won’t bring her back.

“Dalit” comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “broken” or “downtrodden.” This is the word used now for those formerly known as “untouchables: in a society with a rigid caste system. Through the centuries, Dalits have been the victims of man’s inhumanity to man.

Did you know that Dalits form about 60 per cent of India’s Christian community?

If you haven’t read Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland, I encourage you to do so. Holland is not a Christian – but an excellent historian. He gives a very good account of how Christianity changed our world so we don’t think powerful men have the right to use the bodies of the powerless.

Consider others more important than yourselves. That was, and is, a fundamentally radical idea. It is a concept our civilization is privileged to hold.

Virologist says coronavirus made in lab

Virologist Dr. Li-Meng Yan says the coronavirus as made in a lab – it is a chimera. A chimera is a virus that is spliced together. She also believes it was released intentionally.

Why? Look to what the virus accomplished and that might give you clues to the motives. Please watch her interview.

Pray for this brave woman.